Restoring Hope – A Story from Slovenia

1I arrived at Planica, Slovenia, after more than 30 hours of travelling by train and some attempts of hitchhiking, and stepped into a world of possibilities by being an apprentice at the Art of Participatory Leadership Slovenia.

I wanna share how was the experience for me by capturing key moments, quotes and questions I put in my basket.

 

Apprenticeship Day 1

I was warmly welcomed by the hosting team, 16 people out of which I knew only 2 of them. This meant nothing, as they quickly “adopted” me in their team as one of theirs.2

We started aligning by sharing the two complementary world views (the mechanistic one and the living systems view), by going through the Four-Fold Practice and seeing the connection between the four arts (Art of Invitation, Art of Organizing, Art og Hosting and Art of Harvesting).

At this moment I saw the layers we were going to work on simultaneously during the event:

  • Methods – introduce them, explain that mastery takes practice
  • Four-Fold Practice
  • Coaching Hosting Teams – the hosting team coaching participants to step in and host others
  • Day Hosts – each day has 2-3 people hosting flow of the day
  • Harvesting Team – making meaning visible
  • Space & Beauty Team – how do we energetically hold the space, not just collect cups?
  • Content – Restoring Hope
  • Design for Wiser Action – working in design teams on hands on projects of participants

My main ideas of the day:

We are building capacity for building capacity in order to build capacity of having the courage to host others.

Art of Invitation – the way we invite people is the way they step into the process.

My questions from the day:

How do we evoke curiosity?

How does geography impacts the way we think and interact?

Which are the leverage points in which people step into trust?

Apprenticeship Day 2

This was the day in which I saw the fifth organisational paradigm put into practice.

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We started in a circle, to understand the purpose of the session and to get insights on who was coming and how could their needs be met best. Then, we moved into triangles, working teams on each day, so at the end of the day we could gather again in a circle and put the pieces of the puzzle together, making what followed to be the flow of the entire event.

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My main ideas of the day:

We are not translating from English to another language. We are translating from Art of Hosting to another language.

The more you drop into being present, the less you need to know – on preparing

My questions from the day:

What are the participants personal and systemic stories?

How do we put this practice into practice in order to serve the work we are called for?

Apprenticeship Day 3 – First day of the session

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Moments of the day

  • Arrival of participants, welcome & check in

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  •  World Café

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Questions at World Café & few answers:

What is your real, real longing for being here?

What is the hope that needs to be restored?8

- hope to allow ourselves to dream;

- hope for our ability to stop, listen and appreciate;

- hope for personal responsibility;

- hope to rediscover the wholeness and our interconnection;

- hope for acceptance of living with contradictions.

What kind of courage do we need together?9

- courage to give space to the new & embrace the change;

- courage to fail and start again;

- courage to trust ourselves, others and life;

- courage to love and be loved;

- courage to be free;

- courage to be responsible for ourselves.

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  • Open Space

Question: What meaningful questions am I here to explore?

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My main ideas of the day:

I am not interested in another tool for my toolkit, I am interested in living together in harmony.  - on the Chaordic Path

Clarity of the purpose is the invisible leader at the center.

If the lunch will be ready, many people may join. – on doing something before others are totally on-board

Apprenticeship Day 4 – Second day of the session

  • Check in in nature

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  • Appreciative Inquiry process: looking for the strengths in what is already here, and using interview to understand.

Invitation: Tell about a time when you felt something had to be said or done and you stood up with courage in your heart & head and did it.

  • Open Space

Question: What conversations will help me put my courage into practice?

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During the Open Space Mary Alice offered a session of the Flow GameIMG_2948

The purpose and intention of the Flow Game is to strengthen and bring focus and flow to an important question in your life, e.g., a project, future work direction, relationships or as a part of your personal growth. You and the other players each bring a personal intention, framed as a question, and together we explore each intention from four key perspectives: leadership, vision, community and action.

IMG_2947My question was Who do I need & want to be so I can write the story of the future that I am here to serve? and the dice got me from Leadership pile of cards the following: Describe a leverage point that is important to you as a leader.

By the end of the game my question evolved to: What story of now do I wanna write by building on my strengths?

 

After dinner we gathered around the fire to give power to our stories. The fire was lit by the oldest and the youngest among us and then we were invited to listen to a story, looking for the following things: co-creation, leadership, embodiment (when are people being the change?), transformation, courage and trust.

I went to listen to Marjeta story of calling of Strengths of Slovenia, invited by the question “How can I create a space where people can engage on things that matter to us, not on what we hate?

After listening to the stories we gathered around the fire and continued deep into the night sharing our stories, hopes, longings, joy, vulnerability. It was an incredible celebration of Life and the potential of becoming of our world. 

My main ideas of the day:

Your listening can dramatically change the way you receive the story.

You will never see the person the same after hearing the story. The story changes them and changes you.

You don’t know how to get from here to there but that thing larger than yourself does. And it arranges these synchronicity: being at the right time, at the right place, being in flow. And we can enter that state when we let go of the paradigm of control and bow into service. And what is that thing larger than yourself? Let’s call it the more beautiful world our hear knows is possible. If you do it, I predict that you will experience an unexpected opportunity to act on that intention and it wil be just at the edge of your courage, but not past it. (A new Story of the People)

My questions from the day:

How do I get out of my way? versus How do I get in my way?

How to develop humor as a creative reflex for conflict resolution?

What I am calling into the world?

How can I create space for strategic conversations on the strengths we have in our communities?

How can I be a living invitation for creating the energetically space for people to step in and be free?

Apprenticeship Day 5 – Third day of the session

  • Knowledge expeditions

In the first part of the day we explored various methods from the Art of Hosting Practice.

I attended Marc’s teaching on Powerful Questions and afterwards I hosted one expedition on the same topic.

  • Teaching – Design Architecture

Together with Mary Alice we went through the 8 Breaths of Process Architecture. This document presents it visually better that I would describe it.

Second part of the day was dedicated to the projects the people felt like working on. The callers got supported by a design team and received peer feedback to help them move forward  with their project.

I was part of Violeta’s design, working on the next level of INCO Movement.

INCO Movement has been for the last years the platform that brought innovation to Slovenia and engaged more than 5000 people on this topic. I chose it because at its core is very similar to RestartEdu community, creating the space and opportunities to enable members to develop and create benefits for themselves.

The new vision of INCO moved towards creating a global community of callers that hold space for the emergence of a new civilization.

My main ideas of the day:

We don’t need change for the sake of change.

We do not become a community, we just rediscover that we are a community.

Last Reflections on the entire experience

I strengthen my belief in freedom. I was prone to say that I might be a freedom fighter, but is not much of a warrior about me, so deep inside I may be a freedom servant.

I realize that my biggest advantage in this story is that I am starting to build upon such a great experience of the global Art of Hosting community. It really feels like standing on the shoulders of giants. I deeply wish to use this experience for good and move it forward.

Until now, I was seeing Art of Hosting as something really big and heavy and I thought that if I want to practice it, I have to be a different person – more strong, more powerful, more skilled. Now I understand that it really is like an onion, with many layers that may unfold to me with time, but I may as well at the moment make the best with the amount of it that I have.

Therefore, inspired by Marjeta’s story, I reconnected with the call I heard while being in Lithuania: “How can we grow a community of innovative practitioners in education that could build a free society through learning?“. I intend to walk on this path of calling it into the world. I realize that my next challenge is to continue working with myself and practice building strong relationships in order to create a space that will provide a fertile ground for the story that I am writing.

Nonetheless, I bow deeply into gratitude in front of Marjeta and the Hosting team that allowed me to be part of this experience, gifting me with my biggest lesson so far on acceptance.

Let us meet again and practice living in harmony.

 

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