Archive | Art of Hosting RSS feed for this section

Because we are wiser together…

FullSizeRender (1)Last week, 80 leaders in Chicago opened my heart and inspired me to dream a new dream about how organizing is possible in a city. The majority of these folks use conversation as a tool for invoking the wisdom of the people, and supporting the people in organizing themselves to see the change and action they know is necessary in their communities — creating safer and more just communities, creating opportunities for healing. This group of people included folks using the World Café, Peacemaking Circles, and Art of Hosting practices in school districts, classrooms, with law enforcement and youth, to increase child protective rights and trauma-informed behaviors, to bring about social and emotional learning and restorative justice.

Midway through the day, I offered a woven poem, streaming together quotes that had been said throughout the day into one collective expression. You will hear snippets from these leaders sharing stories of their work, Juanita Brown offering insight into the roots of The World Cafe, and meaningful conversations about what we are all learning and what we hear these times calling for.

Deep gratitude to Lina Cramer and Renee Jackson and all of your mates who have been building the capacity for this inspiring network of leaders over the last 10 years.

The workshop was: We Were Made for These Times: Becoming Wiser Together (invitation here).

Here’s an audio of the woven poem.

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Weaving into the Tapestry

What do we hear when we listen to the center? What do we speak when we start from a place of stillness, listen to the stirrings of source, and speak to the center?

Last week I was blessed to be a part of a unique gathering hosted by the Heart of the Healer Foundation, Speaking to the Center: The Great Remembering.

As a facilitator/moderator, during the morning session I listened to the words of these loving souls who wanted to share pieces of their hearts and minds. Little nuggets of language, wisdom and invitation moved through my ears, mind, heart and into the pen perched upon my pad. After they each spoke and a brief stretch break, I offered a Woven Poem, a collective storytelling in the prose of words as a weaving of the wisdom they shared. And now I share this poem with you.

The following is a Collective Poem from the words of Grandmother Red Leaf, Peter Kingsley, Don Oscar Miro-Quesada, Michael Johnson, Howard Hanger, Jeff Schmitt & Mz Imani. Woven by Ashley Cooper.

Weaving into the tapestry

Simple humans

We are whole

We are grateful

Things that remember themselves

are not forgotten

When channeled or directed…

She works miracles

Everything has to have water to live

Help us to touch the spirit of the Earth again

The Earth is a spider web

Connections are a very important part

of how we live every single day

Things are as they should be –

even when it’s a hard realization

We have manufactured a spiritual light

It’s ungrounded – it’s unrooted

The darkness outside

The coldness

The empty space

We are living in a dream, a dream, a dream

It’s not enough any more

There is a sacred root of western civilization

Alethia – truth – unforgetting

We are living in a dream, a dream, a dream.

How many of us came here to remember

We have so many fantasies, my friends

We have our own original instructions -

We need to look for them

Go back to our roots

What is the result of our forgetfulness?

The current degradation of our environment

The dislocation of our society

A sleep walking culture

We are living in a dream, a dream, a dream

Catch a glimmering awakening,

in the spark of an eye, in the presence

It’s a void, it’s empty, it’s scary

I bow to the living waters

Find peace within

I am not different from the other

Self and other are one and the same

I choose to be in the world

To share my rituals, my ceremonies, my love

Recognizing the beauty and grace

of the courageous who decided to remember

Re-member – as a global human family

Unification. Wholeness. Non-dual consciousness

Allow Spirit and the great originating mystery

to unfold with its entire expression

Deep gratitude

Deep gratitude from the bottom of my heart

Without the kindness of all these living beings and ancestors

we would not have the kindness of life and the gift of all these problems

We need to continue awakening

We need to act

We need to act now

to solve or out grow these problems

Each of us here can play a role

and we have to

We are all a part of this experience

of life

And it might be possible that we can have a good time, too

Take a few longer, deeper breathes

Bring awareness into your body

Feel your heart

It’s all about perspective

Look at the world from your dogs eyes

I have a slightly different view

… And then there’s integration

Oh my gosh – even though I used to think I had total knowledge, I don’t

I only have one pebble

Awaken to your own happiness

You can lift other people up to be happy too

Hey good looking, you’re looking good

It would behoove us to not take ourselves so seriously

Return to the child

The pre-socialized little being

Please, pant with me

Wag your tail

Show that gratitude

This world needs our medicine

This world needs our science now

Visual Impressions were created live by Kara Brown at the event.

Read full story Comments { 0 }

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:

and

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.
Read full story Comments { 0 }

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

Read full story Comments { 0 }

"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!.

Comments:

Welcome to the time honoured art of holding space.


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

Read full story Comments { 0 }

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
grow?
experience?
see?
feel?
learn?
enjoy?
understand?
integrate?
appreciate?
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.)
Comments:

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,
maria


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.

Read full story Comments { 0 }