Saturday, November 19, 2005

The facilitator as Artist

There has been a long thread running on the OSList lately about whether those who Open Space call ourselves facilitators or what. Many fessed up and declared that we feel uncomfortable with the term, but that we often continue to use it, because clients/sponsors understand it.

“If the group is an art form of the future, then convening groups is an artistry we must cultivate to fully harvest the promise of the future.”
Jacob Needleman, Centered on the Edge

This quote arrived in my Art of Hosting package and on the heels of re-reading, for the first time in ages, Eric Maisel's, Fearless Creating. Which had got me thinking about myself as an artist again. So much of his description of the artistic process reflects the practices of open space.

So i am offering this up to you all for consideration. The facilitator as Artist. Artist in the creative sense and Artist in the alchemical sense as well--taking the common stuff of the Now, that which Is, and with Artful intent mixing it in the crucible of chaos. Then dancing on the edge of the feather of uncertainty, with only the lodestone of faith in those present as a guide, and gently holding the energetic flame beneath until something new emerges.

During a recent three-day OS, i had the opportunity to observe myself in this light and wonder about the metaphor. Here are the results of this initial wondering: artistic medium: the quantum stuff of chaos, the emergent field; artist's tools: OST and other dialogic methods, personal preparation/spiritual practice, creativity and design, energy awareness/work; the work of art: the liberation of the human spirit. (Which i believe, like all works of Art, is not of the Artist, but comes through the Artist. The Artist as conduit for the expression of Spirit in the material world.)

So i'm going to play with being a facilitator-Artist for a while and wait for the next bold thing to emerge--i can already feel the field of potentiality swirling...[grin]

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