Four Practices of Open Space – Update

I’m getting ready for the leadership practice retreat I’ll lead with Chris Corrigan, on Bowen Island, April 18-20th. I’m thinking some more about the four practices of Open Space. Here is the updated view:

  • Opening Heart
  • Inviting Connection
  • Supporting Collaboration
  • Making a Difference

On a personal level, these practices begin with passion, perhaps even some sense of conflict. The key questions are about core issues, the heart of the matter, the center of the problem or situation, which is always me. What do I care about? What do I love? What do I want, for myself and others?

As heart opens, I can invite connection with others. I dare to attract attention. And I have attention of my own to give. What’s happening now? Who is here? What do they have? What do they want? What might we be together?

As invitations and connections are made, the next thing to do is support them. How do we stay connected? How do we learn, move, live, and work together? What rules, tools and structures will get in our way? What rules, tools and structures will support our collaborating?

Then, what is my responsibility here? Given some clarity about what I want, being connected with others, having some space and support, NOW, what will I do? How will I ground this energy I have? How will I use it to make a difference for myself and others? What actions can I now take? What changes can I now make?

I think I bring a fairly typical sort of “results” orientation to life. I work from a list of things I’ve promised (to myself, if not others) that I will DO. I want to see measurable progress and change and improvement in the world(s) that I live in. My mind and body are busy busy busy like everyone else. These practices seem to help orient me in all of that.

I come back over and over again, and notice… What am I doing now? Opening Heart? Inviting Connection? Supporting Collaboration? Grounding my energy in ways that make a difference? What have I been working too hard? What have I been ignoring? Can I focus on just one of these, for just this moment? Can I get back in the flow? Okay, now what? Do it. And come back again…

In our retreat next week, we’ll consider how we apply these practices as facilitators, particpants and leaders, in meetings, conferences, organizations and communities.

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