The Open Space that I Am

Alison Murdoch sent word yesterday of the upcoming Essential Education conference in California, October 2006. The announcement came with an invitation to volunteers for website maintenance. Later in the day, Julie Henderson asked about adding some photos to the Zapchen Somatics site. I said yes, both times, and then got back to work on updating the Imagine Chicago site for Bliss Browne. All of this after I talked with Rebecca Blazer and Marissa Strassel, walking them through the new weblog we are starting for the Chicago Conservation Corps. Late last night, I posted a note from Roq Gareau into the writing notebook, not yet public, where Chris Corrigan and I are developing our book on Inviting Leadership.

Depending on how you count them, I am working on eight to ten different websites, many but not all of them weblogs. Today, I can see them clearly as working conversations and overlapping groups of colleagues. It’s easy to imagine the lot of them as so many flipcharts and breakout groups scattered around a big meeting room. Some of them are sites of active documentation. Some of them don’t get much writing but do mark and hold a space for our meeting. A few of them have side conversations going on, a listserve or or sub-site, nearby. In all cases, I care about about the issues: education, philanthropy, community, environment, food, well-being — and the opportunities to connect these conversations with each other. It strengthens me to see that I am indeed walking my talk… noticing, inviting, documenting, and doing. Open Space Practice and Open Space World.

Between clicks on all of these websites yesterday, I got an urgent email from a friend and coaching client. “On my way to an open space client meeting. Need to talk, if you can.” It turns out that he’s been doing quite a lot of work in Open Space, and he mentions something about using it in more and more different places, and discovering that “it” can work in all of them. The way he said “it” really caught me and I see: “it” is “me”. Open Space isn’t an abstract or academic process. It’s personal. It’s me appreciating, inviting, supporting, and making good on the issues and opportunities that matter to me. We say that Open Space can work in so many different situations, and now I see that the real limit or caveat, the qualification that could be added is this: Open Space can work anywhere, on any issue, and with any people that I/you/we can genuinely appreciate. In other words, IF you can find some good in the situation, there is always some way to invite, support and make more of it.

One Reply to “The Open Space that I Am”

  1. Beautiful! These Open Spaces sound like they are supported by deep and connected roots, and full of wide sky branches–full of life.

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