It’s Day 2 into the training, time to dive in courageously. But before jumping into the water, we first need to equip ourselves with knowledge and tools that will help us enjoy the dive. To embark on the journey, we checked in by pondering where we feel most comfortable and challenged in the Fourfold Practice (host oneself, be hosted, host others, and co-create), which helps us see where our learning edge is so we can be more conscious about designing our learning journeys.
There’re a few tools we’ll be bringing with us today on the dive. The first one is “TheBreath Pattern,” which illustrates the shape of a conversation or a process. Before we dive into the water, we first need to ask ourselves a few questions: why are we diving? Where would be the best spot to start? And what equipment are we bringing with us? We may first come up with a lot of exciting ideas (diverge), feel overwhelmed or frustrated in a pool of ideas (groan/grown zone), before we are finally able to have a consensus about the dive (converge). If we jump to conclusions too quickly just to avoid the discomfort of staying in the “groan” zone, we might not “grow” as much from the experience. In fact, the whole mission may fail. To introduce the Breath Pattern on the second day is to help people see that it’s okay to feel confused. It’ll be a day full of questions and introspections, and if we accept that it’s natural to be in the groan zone, we’ll be able to trust in spite of uncertainty.
The next tool is “Four Levels of Listening.” We’ve been taught since we were kids to hone our public speaking skills so we can express ourselves, but very few people have been taught how to listen - which might be even more desperately needed than speaking in today’s world. How do we listen, then? In Chinese, the character of “listen” is a combination of the ear, the eye, and the heart. To listen isn’t simply to hear the words that others speak, but to sense into what’s behind and beyond. Together we explored the Four Levels of Listening, from downloading, factual (open mind), empathic (open heart) to generative (open will), which helps make a smooth transition into the Appreciative Inquiry Trio where we listen attentively to others’ stories and tell our own.
Since the calling question of the training is about personal transformation, Appreciative Inquiry helps us see what has already worked in our lives and nourish that change. It’s easy to fall prey into thinking that nothing worked so far and everything needs to change, but what if we have experienced transformation, and we can learn from our past? What change have we experienced for the better, and how do we foster that change? Taking the new listening skills we’ve just learned, we divided into trios. There’s a Storyteller, a Harvester, and a Witness. When the Storyteller told the story, the Harvester listened empathically, using words or drawings to capture the key points of the story, and the Witness held space and observed the here and now. You might say that if both the Storyteller and Harvester were focusing on the past, the Witness was the one who focused on the present. This exercise opened hearts, formed connections, and created a space for vulnerability and authenticity to be harbored. Afterwards, the Circle Practice brought a beautiful closure to the process where everyone sat in a circle and shared their insights and expressed their gratitude.
After an amazing lunch with plant-based Indian cuisine, it was time to re-examine where we were by exploring Powerful Questions. These are the kind of questions that linger in your heart, stimulate your thoughts, and stay alive in you for a long time. It’s also not just about the formation of the question, but the context as well. Whether it’s a Why, How, Who, When, What, Where, Yes/No, or Which question, any question can be powerful or even life-changing. For example, after receiving some questions to help me contemplate, my original question changed from “What if every choice I make is based on the Story of Interbeing and not the Story of Separation,” which is quite an ideal situation yet includes a lot of hidden expectations, to “What if I’m in the process of transformation and wherever I am is okay,” one that highlights acceptance and compassion.
With all the prep work done, it’s time to finally dive into the water. During Open Space, around 20 projects or ideas were put forth, and lively conversations among the Callers, the Participants, the Bumble Bees and the Butterflies filled the Rotundan with laughter, wisdom, and insights. One group took the theme of the day quite literally and the result was - five guys diving into the Baltic Sea in early spring, a move that they considered a philosophical and spiritual embodiment. Other projects included Incorporating Art of Hosting into Work Space, Using Art of Hosting with Family and Friends, How to Represent Nature on The Board, and more. What’s really interesting about this methodology is the Law of Two Feet, which means if at some point you don’t think you’re contributing to a conversation or learning anything from it, it’s your responsibility and right to walk away. Wouldn’t it be powerful if we applied this law in our day-to-day lives and take responsibility for our choices?
It was almost the end of the day, so people who have signed up to host went to their coaches respectively to receive some support in preparation, then dinner was served by the wonderful organizing team in the Fika Room. The last piece of Day 2 was an eye-opening Two Loops teaching where we could see clearly the rise and fall of a system, the dynamics of the old system and the new, and the different roles on the spectrum. When an old system approaches the end of its life, there are people who steward the passing, who are in charge of hospice, who compost and bring new learnings into the new system. There’s also those who innovate the new, illuminate the path, or make the bridge from the old to the new so others can cross. For example, in the transition to a more sustainable future, not everyone needs to develop the technology of converting plastic waste to clean diesel, and not everyone is responsible for sorting out the bureaucracy with government registration. We each have a different role, or multiple roles, based on our talent, passion and calling in life. That’s why in the era of transformation we need everyone on board to shine and manifest our own inner selves in this vast web of life.
We have dived in bravely, and it’s time to check out, get a good night of sleep and get ready for Day 3.
Teach: The Breath Pattern
Teach: 4 Levels of Listening
Question: Tell about a time when you changed something inside you for the better. How did you foster and nourish this change?
Honouring each other by offering ourselves
Love. Connection. People. Listening. Open up. Together. Small steps.
Power of transformation through letting go, through being connected, through trust, through becoming together, and through vulnerability.
Sharing conversations to guide us in our inner landscapes, enabling us to navigate and transform our outer landscapes.
How can we create more space for genuine stories to be shared, powerful questions to be asked and respectful actions to be taken? #AOH
Listening with the heart and creating space for the personal journey to change into honest stories is a way of enabling change and allowing vulnerability in our lives.
Slow down to connect and have the patience to experience the power of giving and receiving.
Opening the heart and listening for shared humanity.
By listening to and accepting our different stories, we create a space, trust, and confidence for new stories of change.
A participatory practice that is based on personal and collective growth, sharing, and healing relationships.
By connecting our stories we give and receive energy, we focus on positivity, shine together, and create emergent action.
Listening and connecting with the personal stories, help us to see the whole, see the common ground, and this makes us stand stronger in the change.
Practicing the joy of listening is the key to connecting deeply.
“Like a phoenix born completely, to be the main character of your story, which is true to yourself - the beauty of death and diamond.”