~co-written by Jerry Nagel, President of Meadowlark Institute and Kathy Jourdain, Founder of Shape Shift Strategies Inc.~
“Power is the strength and the ability to see yourself through your own eyes and not through the eyes of another. It is being able to place a circle of power at your feet and not take power from someone else’s circle.” – Lynne V. Andrews, Flight of the Seventh Moon
One of the underpinnings of the Art of Hosting Conversations That Matter is the Four Fold Practice. This is a set of practices that invite us to host self, others, processes or groups and to be in co-creation or community of practice with others. Serendipitously coming across the above quote in a little offering about the energy of the magician, generated a whole new level of reflection about power and the first two practices for us.
The first practice for the Four Fold Practice is to host yourself, to be present or have presence. When you focus on and grow this practice you know your center and ground and the strategies, personal practices or disciplines that enable you to access this place within yourself. You can then stay present more often in more and more challenging situations and you can find your way back to presence more quickly should you find yourself off balance for any reason – as we all do from time to time in the flow of life. In essence, you become more powerful in presence because, like the above quote says, “power is the strength and the ability to see yourself through your own eyes and not through the eyes of another.” Your understanding of who you are is internally rather than externally validated. For us, what this affirms is the benefit of having a regular practice of self-reflection, not as a process for self-criticism, but out of knowing self or seeing self. This is a life practice.
The second practice in the Four Fold Practice is to participate by hosting another and allowing yourself to be hosted. It is a reciprocal relationship when you are tuned in enough to feel the balance between listening and speaking for each of you, which does not necessarily mean equal time. Sometimes you listen more, sometimes you speak more. Sometimes you need to host someone else and sometimes you need to be hosted. “It is being able to place a circle of power at your feet and not take the power from someone else’s circle.” If you show up powerfully present you have no need to try to take away someone else’s power nor do you feel threatened by them because your sense of self comes from self rather than from needing anything from another.
“Knowing others is intelligence, knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power.” Tao Te Ching
This does not mean you cannot be in a space of shared power. When you are truly powerful, you are also able to fuel the other person’s circle of power without lessoning your own, inviting and allowing them to step more into their own humanity and to bring it fully into the space between you and shared by you. Through this you build the relational field. This is particularly important when you are part of teams, building the relational field to host groups and processes from a place of individual and collective presence and attention to what is present in the moment. It lends itself to the conditions for co-creation in a team or in a community of practice. It opens up the possibility to move into the generative space at the bottom of the U (from Theory U). And this is where we often say magic happens – the magic in the middle.
“Magic makes it possible to use the limitless power of spirit to reshape the world in accordance with the fondest desires of the soul.” Donald Tyson, New Millennium Magic
This is part of the exploration we will be in at the end of January 2014 as we co-host with others Growing Hosting Artistry, to be offered in Minnesota. A sneak peek, since the invitation is not quite ready, is that we will explore world view as a lens to deeper work, what it takes from us as hosts to create containers for powerful work, become curious about new narratives that want to live in the world now, how to skillfully deal with shadow and projection, the impact of the relational field including among members of the team on our hosting artistry and how to design for the work at hand. Hosting artistry begins with knowing self and our power and being in the place of centeredness with individual and shared power.