Together We Can Make a Difference: Opening Space with Children

I feel blessed and thankful to live a life that includes so many opportunities to be inspired. On January 20th, 2009 after President Obama’s Inauguration Ceremony I had the opportunity to spend my day hosting 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders in Open Space.

The idea was birthed in a planning committee with 3 third grade students. They decided the questions that would guide the our time together:


What is something that you think is important
in our school or in our world that you would like to discuss?

The planning committee opened the space with a poem and a story.
The opening poem by Mila Kopp:

And another student told a story:
Once you get older it’s harder for people to change your mind so you’re not as much of a help to the community when they’re trying to think of something to do or when something’s wrong and they need help and are deciding what to do. For instance, with my grandfather, it’s really hard for people to change his mind because he just thinks one thing is right and if something else is right and someone tells him, because he’s older, it’s a lot harder to change his mind and it might not even happen.
You can read more about the topics they discussed, their notes, and their closing remarks at Educating For Wholeness.

Here are a few of my favorite comments:
  • STOP Globle Warming (happy voice) in ten years (Deep Voice)
  • make a complante to the president
  • Invent vical that runs on trash or sun, rain
  • Nicely tell others to be nice
  • Help stop war by traiding reciorses
  • If you are shy talk
  • If you are a chatterbox let others have a chance to speak
  • I agree with (another student) that you don’t need that many people, you only need like 5, you don’t need like 15 or 20 or 50. You don’t need huge numbers like that.
  • I learned that when everyone pitches in just a little bit, it can make a giant difference.
  • I discovered how pollution can make the air dirty and hurt people and animals
  • I discovered a lot of people have ideas too.
  • I discovered that once you think about it, there is a lot more waste
  • I learned it can actually be pretty fun to work with other people
  • Teacher: I learned that you all can have important conversations by yourselves and that you don’t need the adults there. I also learned that you can self-organize what you want to talk about.
  • I discovered there is a lot of things to change and like President Obama, we should start.

Labels: , , , , ,

posted by ashley


Forever Emerging: A Dreamstory

A dreamstory, poetry of visions, moving through on a crisp morning at the Art of Hosting on Whidbey Island.

Trees droop on a heavy wet morning.
The fog offering a lightness to the sky, an air of awakening becoming evident in the crisp light softened by the mist.

A woman sits at the base of a tall pine. Her spine sculpted by its embracing form, heart blending, space sharing, love unending. They breathe together. Giving freely, opening widely, surrendering effortlessly.

There’s a spirit circling the edges… a shimmer in the light? a falling drop catching a reflection? a bird whispering through? What is that effervescent heart skip that tickles her awareness and peeks her curiosity? Her mind pokes forward, leaning in, wanting to engage, feeling pulled to follow. And yet… at her back she feels the tree’s shape-shifting. A giant oak with ominous limbs looming down to embrace her. Her spirit picking up. Her own tree form emerging. A sacred union of goldenous love echoing the heart of all that is. The roots of the oak are growing beneath her. Fat, full, forever reaching. She (as we) is solid and grounded.

she as we is solid and grounded. there is no separation. there is complete illumination. it is.

Forever Emerging. A heart pulse. a tear. long grains of moss growing. a teacher, a warrior, a shaman, so dear. Forever Emerging.

Time passes and she wakes from a dream of tomorrow, feeling cuddled in today, wondering when next week will next court her fire. The bends and wraps of time have been intensifying her dance. Space and shape have taken on all new meanings for her since this great convening. She’s discovering what it means to live as a shapeshifter. She’s discovering what it feels like to adorn this cloak of being becoming, always here, never exactly clear where the next moment’s relations will invite her soul to travel.

Like the xylem of the tree, drawing water and nourishment from the ground, traveling the journey to the tip, a fluid channel… a constant source… she too is finding this place of calm knowing at her center. And she marvels at the steadiness around which the chaos and order emerge, takes shape. A teacher, a guide, a student, a child, an elder, a foe, a mirror, a cloak, an angel, a fox, an eagle, a lizard. How to host these many entities circling the core of her relations, igniting the core of her expression, and loving the soul of existence which cradles her in being. She walks steadily this path of love. A fire enraptured as her heart, lit upon her hearth as the embrace and companionship of dear friends, heart play mates, circle in all forms, inviting her into this new journey. Forever Emerging.

Tree photo by Andy Burrows
Video and story of the ritual art

Labels: , , , ,

posted by ashley


"happy mornings"

its presidents day and i am off on a trail ride with my husband. as i awake my first job was to get the children to school. i was very excited as the weather was wonderful. i got the children up and dressed and made them breakfast. jared was sitting quiet and calm and i said to him "jared, you are very relaxed this morning" and his reply was " well mom, you are letting me have a happy morning" my heart SANK, as i realised that because i was happy and relaxed,jared was able to be the same, other mornings when im flying around the house stressed to the max, projects onto him and shapes the way he feels. i said to him that from now on i was going to make a conscious effort to stay relaxed and happy so that he and zoe can start their day relaxed and happy too. i was sooo glad he told me this as so far i have kept my word and to my surprise i have a much better day. my concerns that i had on being able to communicate to my children and them to me are fading each time incidents like this happen and jared was also self aware of what was causing his change in his mornings (COOL!) thank you sweet jared for another wonderful lesson learnt!.


Welcome to the time honoured art of holding space.

Gravatarthanks chris, i'm floating right now!!!

Labels: , , , , , ,

posted by maria


the "holding space" lens

stepping out of the full-ness of my experience -- the simpleness of delight, openness, and freedom that is my reality -- i move into words and a place of sharing. i strive to wrap together the many questions and ponderings that swirl through me as i travel through new lands, traverse unknown territiories and fall comfortably into the rhythm of Listening, Connecting, and Being.

One filtering lens that i'm seeing through these days is the "holding space" lens. I find my wide eyes roaming my surroundings and drinking in the many ways that people hold space for one another. Of course, as i focus my perspective a whole slew of questions arise.

What does it mean to hold space?
Are you aware when you're holding space for another to
How do you hold space?
What do you hold space for?
For whom do you hold space?

When I am open, listening from an accepting and fully present place, following the attention and awareness of another as they move into deep alleys of their inner world, i hold space for connecting to self, accepting what is, celebrating life, dreaming forth potentials and possibilities, and sinking into the embodied experience of being alive.

I notice that when we are relating with other people by engaging in action driven by our passion, we are often acting in service to others... holding space for them to experience the fruits of our passion.

Please (please, please) tell me what comes to you when you think of the phrase "holding space."

(and thank you sooo much maria and patti for keeping easily amazed so juicey while i'm on the road... i love reading your posts.)


When you write of listening, connecting, being....you are holding space. You are sharing
your highest energy, without giving of your earthly worries, thoughts, or opinions. By doing that you are allowing growth, nurturing, and stimulating the other's path to continue to move wherever they need to move. Ashley, you do that so often. It's no wonder that other's are drawn to you. In your holdig space, you send your love and listen. Like the night of our marathon walk. I was so distressed, but you held space for me to work through what was necessary for me to do at the time. Thank you!!!
That is what holding space means to me today.
I miss you! xxxooo Patti

Gravataryes, a space is necessary for things to be worked through....you helped do this for me that night at the mall, Ashley....and on the phone.....THANK YOU for that; sometimes it seems like no one can hear me....but really, it's not so bad if they don't hear me as long as they feel me and help me hear myself.

love to you,

Gravatarholding space for me, to feel honoured at the very thought of someone entrusting of their deepest thoughts, either to drown out the dark or to guide through the light of love... my first treasured memory of you ashley, is the time when i first met you and you sat and listened to the anxiety which i was feeling and the concern i had for my childrens future happiness in this big wide world! to just know someone really cares to listen! THANK YOU,

bunches of love,

GravatarThanx Ashley....holding space for someone, to me, means allowing someone the freedom to be and express who they are with no judgement affixed or attached.....nick "Today's mighty oak tree was yesterday's nut who held it's ground"....David Icke.


posted by ashley

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?