Sunday Open Thread — August 19, 2007

What I’m thinking about, and planning on writing (and podcasting) about soon:

Open Space: Ever since I began learning about Open Space, I’ve been trying to ‘improve’ it (especially, trying to impose a ‘framework’ on the process and Open Space competency training on the invitees). Now I know a bit more about Open Space, I realize how foolish that was, and thank practitioners of OST for being so patient with me. I once believed that my ‘sweet spot’, where my Gift, my Passion and my Purpose intersect, was fomenting dissatisfaction; more recently I restated it as facilitating self-change. Now I’m thinking that it’s closer to my greatest Gift of imagining possibilities — facilitation is too ‘passive’ a role for me (I am not especially competent at or passionate about such a role). How can I capture, in a few words, this idea:

The capacity to be a sounding board, observing, listening, imagining and interjecting relevant possibilities, and showing tools and methods that might improve effectiveness, to help people let themselves become who they really are and do what they were meant to do.

Not a coach, not a facilitator. Something in between, perhaps. Is there are name for this?

Vulnerability Not Neediness:
Last week I mentioned that the capacities needed to be an excellent collaborator and those needed to be an exceptional sexual partner were surprisingly similar. It occurs to me that the capacities needed to be an excellent member of a Natural Community or Natural Enterprise are likewise similar to those needed to be an exceptional life partner. One of the qualities we find attractive is a voluntary vulnerability that stems from openness, independence, strength and self-confidence, not from dependence and neediness.

We Are 26%: I read last week (and am trying to find it again) that 26% of North Americans say they would buy products that are socially and environmentally responsible, and locally made, or would do without, rather than buy cheap imported junk, even if this involved considerable extra expense, or some self-sacrifice on their part. More interestingly, the economic demographic of this 26% is apparently U-shaped — it is the poor and the rich who would do so, while the lower-middle to upper-middle classes remain mostly addicted to consumption.

Book Reviews: The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman, and How Everyday Products Make People Sick, by Paul Blanc.

Vignettes: Coming up soon, vignette #5.

Blog-Hosted Conversations: Starting the last week of August, once a week, this blog will feature 30-minute conversations, initially on the subject of “What is your model of a better way to live, and what capacities do we need to develop or re-learn to live that way?”

Open Thread Question:

If you were suddenly put in the position of having to look after aseverely incapacitated loved one full time, how would you handle it?

This entry was posted in Our Culture / Ourselves. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Sunday Open Thread — August 19, 2007

  1. Amanda says:

    Answer: Despairingly. It’s hard, but deserting her would be harder.I’m trying to maintain my perspective about things, about life. Remembering to not shut down is key: I’m not the sick one. Yes, my life has exponentially been turned upside down, inside out, jarred to the point of vertigo, but it’s not over. Fueling such despair won’t help, and it would only succeed at making things seem darker than they actually are. If you just try (or rather, don’t stop trying) to look for something–no matter how empty everything may seem–you’re bound to eventually happen upon something you didn’t know was there. It’s only after you completely close your eyes, and your life, that you forfeit any potential for things to get better. And maybe they don’t get better (or maybe they do?), but we are equipped with astounding capabilities to adapt to change without even realizing it. I laugh when I feel it; I brood when I don’t. I force neither. I acknowledge everything; I ignore nothing. No, it is not easy. But I know however hard it is for me, it’s extraordinarily harder for her. I am not here for her only because she needs me; I am not taking care of her simply because she is sick. I am doing what I’m doing because she is my mother, and I love her.

  2. Dave: on the open space facilitation question, I’ve been using the term “host” with the Art of Hosting community of practice ( and in other contexts, the term “process artist” is applicable although just a little pretentious in certain circumstances. It does fit what I do though. I am actually getting away from the word “facilitation” as I don’t believe that it actually captures the work I do, even though it does describe the field. Happy to talk more about this.

  3. Dennis says:

    Hi Dave:Perhaps the word you are searching for is “catalyst.”In many ways you are a change agent — certainly in terms of presenting viewpoints that may actually get people thinking about how they are approaching life and perhaps adopting new strategies.I Enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work.Dennis in Toronto

  4. Siona says:

    Dave? I think in the old days you might have been called to be a court jester… the holy fool who lives outside the system and who scampers and provokes with impunity, saying what cannot be said and poking holes in established ways of thinking. Or perhaps I’m projecting. Perhaps that would be my role. Perhaps you’d be a guide of sorts, or a sage in the true sense. And Chris? Funny you should write that; I’ve grown away from describing myself as a facilitator, too, but I think this might be the result of me becoming more comfortable with and secure in what it is I do best, and what uniqueness there is in that. Sometimes I just tell people my life is charmed and I make magic happen. Sometimes that, in fact, is what I believe.

  5. Jon Husband says:

    The capacity to be a sounding board, observing, listening, imagining and interjecting relevant possibilities, and showing tools and methods that might improve effectiveness, to help people let themselves become who they really are and do what they were meant to do.Advisor ? Eminence grise ?

Comments are closed.