WOW. Amateur astronomer Snaevarr Gudmundsson observed the May 31st annular eclipse from a small plane over Iceland and shot this picture out the window using a Nikon digital camera.

Thanks to ChrisCorrigan for pointing this out in his ParkingLot, originally posted at Sky and Telescope And, while you’re in the ParkingLot, check out Chris blogging me blogging him on the Bowen Island ferry cam. All kinds of circles showing up these days.

embracing beauty – back to the beach today, as sun returns after yesterday’s rain. didn’t get out until 4pm and went straight to the sand. toes in deep, tevas in hand. a layer of tiny pebbles, washed clean by the rain, slows me down. couldn’t have been too crowded here today. the kids and lovers and volleyballers have left vast expanses of little raindrop craters intact. bare feet always take their pace from their sand. texture and temperature, dryness and debris. hot dry scurrying. cool deep digging. cold washed weaving and splashing. pebbled carefully picking, today.

a childs tiny imprints in the hard sand at water’s edge. the shape of prescious. possibility and power. a six-foot-something jock pulls off his shirt to dust and dry his girlfriend’s feet extended. one of those silver little fish washed up, brains and eyes chewed out. guess that’s what they mean by “vacant stare.” it’s shocking and i pass, then go back to make sure i really see it too.

when i return to the bike path, i see oil and sand in the asphalt. the pace of shoes and tires. it occurs to me that whole organizations run on sand as well, the glass of monitors and silicon of chips. matter, body, mind. beach, road, data. shades of inviting organization and the evolution of work, from startup circle, to hierarchical team, to wired network, to… the wholeness and soul of inviting community, marketplace and open space… on the way to flow, movement, spirit.

but what’s the sand of soul? what sets the pace of the inviting organization? must be ceramics — the energy of a good coffee break! working in open space. from beach to road to silicon, we take our pace from sandy earth. in today’s organizations, work can go no faster than the conversation, the clarity and connection that springs from earthenware mugs. might we someday make organization as mandala, and work with the expansive care and subtle precision of monks making sand art offerings?

somewhere along the way, heart fills to bursting, then opens and rests. the inner shape is familiar, but surprising. lotus flower. even as i wonder what it is that makes bodies so beautiful. bodies, beach, cityscape, earth… mind embracing beauty, embracing beauty… like sky.

what are friends for? – well, it’s gray and raining in Chicago today… good thing I got that beach walk in yesterday! …but it’s sunny and hot on Bowen Island! Here is friend and OpenSpaceTech colleague ChrisCorrigan posing for the FerryCam and sharing his sunshine, before meeting another friend for lunch. The ferry comes in right behind him there, many times each day.

inner city – i live (and often work) in the city, two miles north of the loop and half a mile from the lake. in the summer, the earth and all the paving over it gets HOT. but we’re not there yet. cooling lake breezes still outscoring the sun, especially after so many damp cloudy May days.

head cloudy too, thoughts swirling in so many directions, busy beyond blogging, spinning on the networked connections of all things. blueberry lavender dark chocolate for dessert last night, a luscious treat, but only accelerating the swirl. finally i eddy out of the office in the direction of the lake. green trees and grassy lawns bursting, flowers bouncing back from near frost, new sculpture rising out of lincoln park flowerbeds and hanging in the trees, the pipes of a giant organ. are they fuscia? magenta? certainly they’re more than merely pink, and stunning against fresh green, even if partly cloudy.

at the lake i find runners, walkers, riders, readers and students along the bike path, most everyone quietly pushing, still in silent sync with so many others at work. one old guy with a t-shirt advertising some long-distance cycling event even seems to be pushing his dog to workout. at fullerton i turn around, roll my pants, lose my shoes and leave the pavement.

hot sand. and toes. slowing down. sun touching inner soles. yawning and saying aaahhhh…. i wander the nearly empty beach, twenty yards and half a world away from the bike path. a solitary lifeguard glides by in what looks like walking meditation. my path veers briefly into COLD lake. some shiny little fish are flipping flopping and disappearing into seagulls crunching and flying away heavily, without remorse. sun cuts through clouds and yawning tentorum lifts brain as offering. inner skies clearing, too, spine easing and straightening, heart resting down, trusting into legs that just keep walking.

back in the neighborhood, i notice the spaces between the shadows on the sidewalk. a woman with a quiet sort of radiance and hands full of groceries approaches; hello cuts warmly through what should be city distance. as i return to lists and phones and emails, the essential work is already done.

The Open Space Institute USA – spent some time today cleaning up the webspace of the OSI-USA, an organization that runs entirely in OpenSpaceTech… which means we are most definitely practicing what we preach there! It’s quite a unique sort of organization. This from the website…

We believe that inspired behavior can be an everyday experience and that humanity is limited by its perceptions of the possible. The OSI was created to grow that sense of possibility and make it a reality by focusing on: learning, research and practice.
…a nice crowd to be a part of and a lot of good resources posted around the OpenSpaceWorld.ORG website.

dinner in open space – friday evening eight of us had dinner in milwaukee, as a warm-up for saturday’s Midwest Open Space on Open Space… milwaukee, peoria, chicago, southbend and taipei (!) represented… old friends and new… sake and edamame …spiral dynamics

making waves… these are pictures of water. the water on the left was labelled with “you make me sick.” the water on the right was the target of 500 people sending waves of “love.” if you think you are your body, you are mostly water. more about water… or see the calendar item below for upcoming events about corporate compassion, the practice of peace, growing community, and more.

city as organism – a fascinating and hopeful interview by Michael Toms with William McDonough. the insights-per-minute ratio in this one-hour interview is just astounding. free listening THIS WEEK only

THE MONTICELLO DIALOGUES, Part 4: The Rebirth of the Commons, with William McDonough… Imagine for a moment, a beautiful future, free from poverty, war and suffering. Where do you see yourself living in that beautiful world? For many of us we see a bucolic life in the country. Anticipatory design architect William McDonough sees that healthy harmonious future in the city. Really. Named a hero of the planet in 1999 by Time Magazine, McDonough envisions a post sprawl future where the human enterprise is more compact and more abundant and more fun. He still sees cars in our future, but tomorrow’s cars won’t pollute more efficiently, they will be effective silent runners, releasing POSITIVE emissions that support life. And public transport (read trains) will double as a power utility. McDonough’s celebration of the city is a sign of the positive transformation of culture; a culture where we can be people with lives again, neither consumers nor units in a planner’s design algorithm, nor fields in a security database.

ongoing dialogue – Daniel O’Connor and I have been emailing back and forth about markets, community, mortgages, hedge funds, project income, local organizing, food and shelther, oil, gold, war and sovereignty, money supply and a few other tidbits… and how they all fit together… AND what it means that we should do about it. He’s been doing this for some time and is writing it all up in a new book. I’m newer to the conversation, and am posting my learning in the GlobalChicagoNotebook. here is my latest bit, if i dare quote myself, from MarketsCommunityAndFuture

oh yes, and i suppose that after the capitulation, not in markets, but in national psyche and spirit and such, there is huge infrastructure to be shifted over. organics, energy, healthcare, lifelong learning and contribution, etc. whole new ways of being where mass production and urban life meet organic, sustainable living. lots of new stuff to buy… but buy and share. capitulation on a national scale. soft landing? maybe. but makes 911 and iraq war look like minor blips, eh? dust on the screen even. this is first i’ve seen it this way, marrying familiar market views and all of national society — and looking for that capitulation sort of move in the life of the nation, perhaps even western world. makes me think of another marriage… privately held/managed commons. seems private profit AND public community may both be destined for obsolesence… or at least neither will win their struggle. needs to be some sort of non-profit market, for-profit government… maybe we understand city parks or community gardens as examples of the former and community supported farms or free internet services as the latter? maybe the two come together as community markets or market communities? hmmm….
This last bit is new for me… non-profit markets and for-profit government …and seems important in that it gives us some clue about what to look for when we ask “what’s working?” in order to grow more of it. Do you see things that seem to be part be part of the solution AND seem to fit into one of these new categories? I think the BALLE networks, mentioned earlier might fit into this… IF and AS the local alliances grow into more active markets. …and community markets do seem to be BALLE centerpieces. More on the organizational shift from networks to markets, and how to lead that shift in InvitingOrganizationEmerges.

wiki in the newsChris Corrigan’s Open Space Blog notes that the NYTimes reported last week that wiki websites are gaining popularity in business organizations. See also, the rest of GlobalChicago website… HowToUseWiki.

spellbound! – a great documentary film that follows eight participants on their journeys to and through the 1999 National Spelling Bee, now showing at the Century theater in Chicago. This from the NYTimes review

The children, whose various backgrounds form a rich, complex American patchwork, are as remarkable for their individuality as for their sociological diversity. Somehow the picture’s themes unplugged – in the last 24 hours or so, this website did something that most sites never do, i think… it unplugged itself in LA and flew to atlanta, where it was reconnected later than expected but now seems to be working just fine. kind of funny to think of a big chunk (all the sites hosted by my provider) unplugging, flying and re-upping somewhere else. but now it’s done. goodbye, hollywood… anybody care for a peach?

…of course, after reading a bit of the Organic Consumers Association website, and being a native Michigander, I think I’ll just wait for locally grown Michigan peaches this summer!

the fruits of nothing – while flipping through the May edition of ConciousChoice, I see that BALLE is coming to Chicago in the form of a new organization called Sustainable Chicago. Kickoff event is Thursday evening, June 26th, with BALLE co-founder Judy Wicks, at Garfield Park Conservatory. Register by phone at 312-951-8999 ext. 106. Cost for the evening is $20. See you there!

noticing kindness – as i’m noticing more frequently in the direction of what is beautiful, good and working, the whole world seems to be coming unglued… in all kinds of beautiful, good and productive ways! now how unsettling is that? not unrelated, i think, kindness has been a major topic in the last 24 hours. doing for others, but also the willingness to do and be kindness for ourselves. the kindest thing i can think of for myself is space. the space and time and breath to do what i know to be essential to my own flourishing. this is quite a bit different from doing what is necessary. sometimes it is doing nothing at all. comments about this taking care of essence? as individuals or whole organizations and communities?

developing partnerships – Been talking with Penny Scott in Vancouver/BowenIsland about university/community partnerships. We’re working together on a couple of things there and she’s rockin’ on bringing Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) to Vancouver and the rest of Canada.

Back in Chicago, I’m wanting to learn more about BALLE action here, Asset-Based Community Development up at Northwestern and the Great Cities Institute at UIC. Looking for ways to be more connected to local movements that are bringing the largest and smallest economic and community entitities together for the common good.

Some key ingredients turning up so far: human-scale initiatives, emergent organic structures, appreciative approach, deep(ening) sense of place, working partnerships, opening spaces (opportunities) for others, generative creativity, conscious individual choices and control, attention to long-run consequences, making markets for information sharing. developing…

blogging into open space – teetering this morning on the edge of a remarkable open space… remembering how important it is to be continually doing what it is that i am inviting others to do. for this reason what is happening here seems important. anything can happen here. project updates. world news and social movements. beauty noticed and the mutuality of being. readings and ramblings digested. the regular flow of ideas and energies. not documented because not complete. not captured because not permanent. but perhaps simply noticing is enough.

this new weblog is a big open space and even with so many pages sitting behind this one little weblog, it feels precarious. this must be how my own clients and colleagues feel when they get into OpenSpaceTech for the first time. like the beginning of anything else, the first moves tip the balance. each new move apparently critically important in defining the fledgling thing. so many thoughts rush to the edge of this new open space, but what must get in? what must be heard. what will this thing be? like walking through a huge open market in asia, or anywhere, we know that we are only going to be able to take in a small stream of all that is happening there. so too here. only a small stream. humbling and empowering at the same time.

the grand open space of all awareness, of marketplace and the web touches the limits of what… attention, language, remembering, necessity or what? the thrill of the possibilities, the potential, the power. the boggle of no boundaries. an opportunity to watch mind make mind, the poetry of reality posted in crude, beautiful chunks, the world turned upside down and backwords in time, about anything and everything and nothing at all.

twice last week i was reminded, by two separate and especially wise friends Susan Fehl and Julie Henderson, that if we can develop the habit of noticing four positive attributes for every one negative, the imbalance has a real and positive effect on our physical neurochemistry. similarly, resting attention for just five minutes in a space of love, compassion, ease and joy causes levels of key immune system chemicals to rise — and stay elevated for as long as seven hours. resting for the same five minutes in anger and fear can depress those key chemicals for five or six hours. this immune system business as quoted in my friend peter frost’s book on handling toxic emotions at work, a fanatastic invitation and support for corporate compassion. published by harvard business school, btw.

i am considering now the odd possibility that simply noticing is enough. five or so minutes a day noticing, just noticing… four times as many good things as bad things… and then possibility of noticing anything at all rises as awesome… it’s all good and then it’s off to see the grocer, the mechanic, the email inbox and, of course, the dishes.

oh yes, and the blogrolling sidebar is starting to grow today with favorite links! woohoo, the web grows and grows and goes…

humpty dumpty lives! – this is how i’m thinking about our work in organizations today. humpty dumpty. yes, that humpty dumpty. sat on a wall, had a great fall humpty dumpty. and all the kings horses and all the kings men, couldn’t put humpty together again. so the story goes… but wait! a quick search just turned up this by philip hunter in the scientist magazine…

For 50 years, biologists have focused on reducing life to its constituent parts, first focusing on the cell, then working their way down to the genome itself. However, such achievements created a new challenge–making sense of the huge amounts of data produced. As professor Denis Noble, Oxford University, puts it: “It took Humpty Dumpty apart but left the challenge of putting him back together again.”

but fear not…

Systems biology attempts to reconstruct Humpty Dumpty as a series of overlapping mathematical models. It exploits all the theoretical and experimental advances of the various genome projects, allying them to computational, mathematical and engineering disciplines in an attempt to create predictive models of cells, organs, biochemical processes, and complete organisms. It has the potential to unravel how complex biochemical systems, from cells to organisms, really work, and to take a leap forward in preventing and treating disease. “Diseases … are often a fault of a whole complex network rather than a single element…” notes researcher Thomas Sauter, Stuttgart University, Germany.

in the same way, a series of overlapping conversations… with people from different departments, functions, offices, levels, etc holds the possibility of renewing the organization. when people and orgs are pushed, by so much horsepower and analysis, they tend to fall apart. and no amount of additional pushing or putting will make things right or whole. but when they are invited into conversation about core issues and critical projects, they tend to show up. they exploit all the theoritical and experimental advances throughout the organization, for the benefit of the whole organization. …and humpty dumpty lives!

the business case for Open Space – a number of us around the world have been talking about making “the business case for open space.” some of that discussion is captured in the OpenSpaceTech section. the challenge, it seems to me, is that this “case” needs to be made is such specific, local language. community language can be fairly general and human, but corporate/organizational language gets very specific to functions, levels, silos, etc. and the case must be made locally in the native tongue. this is one reason why i think there hasn’t been as much generic business case-making done yet.

my friend susan fehl cut through a lot of that last week for me, as she explained her process of introducing open space to corporate orgs. first, she gets invited in. this seems important, to be known as a capable sort of person and be contacted to help. then, she listens to what is going on. if she wants to introduce OpenSpaceTech, then she simply suggests it, noticing for the corporate folks that it works best when four conditions are present: passion (even conflict), complexity, urgency and diversity. having said this, she just asks them where these conditions show up in their organization and/or project situation(s). and of course, they always show up. in this way, they make the case for themselves and spell out much of what’s needed for framing the first open space meeting.

susan’s been mixing some skills building and coaching pieces together, with open space meetings being the “ground” in which corporate folks are practicing the skills at the same time that they are getting the real work of planning and implementing solutions. looking forward to combining her work and the OpenSpaceTech/TrainPracticeWorkshop approach chris corrigan and i have used in various places around the world.

that’s a lot of seventh graders! – another friend and colleague, susan fehl, was in last week from columbus, ohio. together, we opened a day-long space for 200 seventh graders. a high energy sort of day, for sure… and high volume! but of course, it worked. for more on that see the SummaryAndTopics from the session in the GlobalChicagoIncubator. Current thinking is that they’ll repeat it in the Fall.

a blog is born! – okay, corrigan wins. chris corrigan, that is. my good friend and colleague and the proprietor of he has about a thousand of these blogs going and he’s finally convinced me that it would make a fun, easy and effective homepage to sit in front of the wiki webpages that make up most of GlobalChicago.NET. so here it is. the GlobalChicago blog is born. The links at the top and bottom of this page will take you into the WikiWeb, where all kinds of things are going on, and have been for some years now. Welcome!

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