Meeting the circle… Conversing with Christina Baldwin

I wrote about leadership at times of chaos and complexity in my previous post and finished it with “There are many art forms and practices that enable us to hear the call of the World at this time and lift us to the resonance of the wholeness. I’ll write more about that soon…”

This post is a continuation of the same topic. and I want to write about one of these art forms of human communication, a practice called “Circle” or “Council”. Years ago, when I spent three months volunteering at a learning center called “The Shire” in Nova Scotia, Canada,  I had the chance to meet Christina Baldwin who with her partner Ann Linea brought back this ancient art form back to our lives, families, organizations. Here is my interview with Christina about the circle…

The very first time I sat in a circle, as an intentional way of council circle practice, is very significant in my life as it shifted my sense of being with myself and people to a very different level. I cannot remember what the calling question was but what I clearly remember is this feeling of having found something that I have been looking for a long time…It was such a profound experience that it set me on a journey which took me all the way to where I am right now…
To the Shire…

When I heard that Christina Baldwin was coming to the Shire to join ‘the Art of Hosting’ gathering, my heart skipped a beat…this was the woman who ‘called the circle’, an ancient practice of being together and sharing stories, and offered it to us as a gift, whose life work had touched my life so deeply. When I finally met Christina, what struck me most was her youthful energy and sharp humour. She is a great storyteller who gives her message in a very light-hearted and subtle way.
I really wanted to hear her story with her own words, so I approached her for a hearty conversation. She was kind enough to offer me her time and genuine answers.

While sun shone on us and the breeze danced in our hair, Christina told me how she met the circle. The circle has been always there in everyday life: in the school, in the playground, whenever people were together sharing stories. During early years of her career when she was teaching the art of journal writing, Christina instinctively invited participants to form a circle in her workshops, to meet them as peers and to create a better learning space. Circle appeared as a natural form for people to meet in conversations, meetings, workshops. When Christina met her partner Ann who is a naturalist and teacher of outdoors skills in 1991, the two explored how ‘the circle’ can be developed further as a container in everyday life where people can meet each other at a different level, share their stories and be heard. So the ancient practice of gathering around the fire has been reintroduced by Christina in her groundbreaking book “Calling the Circle” as an intentional form of being together, talking and listening, sharing stories.

What did circle mean to Christina, I pondered…What was the magic in it?
It is the core of my being, she says…where the human and the sacred meet each other…where people become God to each other…because the circle slows us down, slow to the point of listening and speaking consciously. The circle teaches us the impact of our words and actions. It is a container for healing, to pay attention and to come back in good space with each other…
Giving birth to something is never painless, so I asked what challenges she faced in circle work. When Christina started working with the circle practice in early 90’s, to her surprise, ‘new age’ people resisted the form, claiming that they knew it all and they did not need any structure, principles or guidelines to be with each other. On the other hand, in work places, organizations and corporations, the rigid hierarchies didn’t allow ‘the magic’ of the circle, people at the top did not want to listen to the people at the bottom…and the challenges changed with time, explained Christina. With today’s fast business and competitive market, people feel more insecure about their positions; fear of loosing their jobs is a shadow in the circle practice.
Naturally I wanted to know the secrets of this role model that allowed her to be more courageous in her work and her life. Without hesitating, ‘spirit’ said Christina. Her belief to be here for a spiritual purpose; to contribute to human goodness. Her love and despair for the humanity…Love, having the right partner and a solid circle of friends…her love for the earth…”I love the world” she said softly and shared another secret for her wellbeing to continue the good work; sitting in the hot tub every night with her partner Ann, surrounded by the nature, and praying with gratitude for what she’s been given and has accomplished. Sounded like a wonderful practice to me…

When I asked ‘what the core of her work’ was, Christina explained that it was to help people to go deeper in themselves and elicit the truest story possible and the courage to share it. When that happens, we cannot hate each other, she added. Then she shared with me an extraordinary story known as 1914 Christmas Truce. The so-called “Christmas truce” began on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914, during World War I, when German troops began decorating the area around their trenches in the region of Ypres, Belgium for Christmas. They began by placing candles on trees, then continued the celebration by singing Christmas carols. The British troops in the trenches across from them responded by singing English carols. The two sides continued by shouting holiday greetings to each other. Soon thereafter, there were calls for visits across the “No Man’s Land”, where small gifts were exchanged — whisky, cigars, and the like. The artillery in the region fell silent that night. The truce spread to other areas of the lines, and there is a perhaps mythical story of a football match between the opposing forces, which ended when the ball struck a strand of barbed wire and deflated.
In many sectors, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but in some areas, it continued until New Year’s Day.
It is this kind of stories of human goodness, courage, heartfullness and compassion that Christina wants to make sure, are not forgotten, so the humanity does not loose its voice. Sitting in a circle, people drop their facades and just tell the story, their story, that allows them to see each other in a different way and anything is possible from that point on…

Questions are powerful. I wanted to hear Christina’s ‘questions’. One question she asks herself often is ‘what is really trying to happen here?’; she finds it useful to contemplate on in many situations. The other question she keeps is ‘Can knowing our story save the world?’

Lastly, I wanted to know her impressions of the Shire. ‘There is a timeless quality to this kind of dream’ she said. There is something very organic about this space, according to her, and we are in an experiment to listen to it…There is tremendous good heart to work together, as she observed and then suggested the more we can be colleagues to each other and know each other, the better the experiment will be.

It was uplifting to meet Christina, to listen to her ‘story’ and share my story with her. I feel grateful for having hosted her lighthearted and tender presence at the Shire…
THANK YOU Christina!

dancing at the edge of complexity, chaos and change

“… the essential pattern about leadership, about people, about motivation, about human development is that when we are together, more becomes possible. When we are together, joy is available. In the midst of a world that is insane, that will continue to surprise us with new outrages… in the midst of that future, the gift is each other.”

Margaret Wheatley

The world is in transition; there is no doubt about that. We are in an extraordinary time, witnessing the birth of a new paradigm as the evolution of human consciousness takes a leap towards an awareness of the whole.

There is a lot going on in the world right now that is calling our attention to new ways of working and organizing – from climate change to global economical crisis. At this shifting time, our world needs to unfold for the new possibilities and the full potential which resides in us – as individuals, organizations and Humanity. Old ways of thinking, talking, leading and working are failing in increasingly evident ways.

As our world and organizations experience more chaos and complexity, we need more than ever to understand the nature of complexity, chaos, interconnectedness and the paradoxical nature of the universe and to train ourselves to embody the skills needed to step up to act as visionaries, leaders and pioneers in this transition period. Our approach needs to be systematic (not fragmented and fixated on the parts), participative (involving many people’s ideas, energy, gifts and visions), emergent (open to able to move and adapt swiftly in a field of uncertainty) and resourceful (based on an appreciative gaze and action which recognizes abundance and unlimited possibilities on the resources which are available) as Adam Kahane puts it. It needs to be a response to a world that is becoming increasingly complex and fragmented, where true solutions and innovation lie not in one leader or one viewpoint, but in the bigger picture of our collective intelligence and common good purpose.

So this is where we find ourselves, dancing at the edge of complexity, chaos and change, at the edge of an emerging paradigm. Of course, if we are dancing, we must consider ourselves lucky, for the fatal combination of complexity, chaos and change creates a death-like reaction in most human beings. “Life now insists that we encounter groundlessness. Systems and ideas that seemed reliable and solid are dissolving at an increasing rate” says Margaret Wheatley in her powerful article “Beyond Hope and Fear“. And perhaps this is only the beginning of what we are yet to witness, the tip of the iceberg, a taster of what’s yet to come.

Beyond hope and fear, beyond the doomsday scenarios, there are things to consider: How on Earth can we live together in this increasingly complex and interdependent world? How are we going to adapt to climate change? How can we produce our food, build our homes, source our energy without depleting the ecosystem? What is the new economic model which would be based on the wellbeing of the whole? How can we give back to the Earth what she has been given to us so generously? How can we witness and host each other and the Earth at this time of transition?

Going back to where we started, in Margaret Wheatley’s words, more become possible when we are together. We are the eyes and hands and hearts and souls looking at our divine unity from different angels; we each hold a piece of the puzzle. Yet, our togetherness need to be crafted, hosted, tended carefully, intentionally and mindfully. Anything less than that carry the risk of imploding on ourselves rather than tapping into the collective intelligence and divine nature we are a part of. This calls forth the kind of leadership that the world hasn’t seen before. Dare we even say that we need to go beyond Gandhis, Martin Luther Kings and Mandelas in our perception and evolution of leadership? what kind of leadership is beyond them? A leadership strong enough to hold the tension until the love that can contain the paradox breaks through. What about the paradox of being a leader who doesn’t lead but opens and holds space for wise actions to emerge, who listens and witnesses and senses into what wants to happen, who surrenders the power to the “center”, to the whole yet maintains her/his integrity and ground and own center?

There are many art forms and practices that enable us to hear the call of the World at this time and lift us to the resonance of the wholeness. I’ll write more about that soon…
* photos are by Tanja Korvenmaa

Conscious Closure

here is an article about life cycles in organizations written by my dear friend Vanessa Reid based on her own experience of tending and hosting a ‘conscious closure’ in her organization. brillant and very much needed in the world!

“Conscious Closure”: stewarding organizations through the cycles of life

By Vanessa Reid

How do we know it is time to bring our work or our organization to completion? And how do we actually go about doing it? What does it mean to steward our organizations through their lifecycles, including the phase of dying, completion, release? 

A sustainable system has an inherent ability to shed what is not needed and transform from one form to another in order to continue to evolve. Forests, animals, and even our own families do this seasonally and with every generation. But it seems this natural process is very difficult for organizations. Yet the skillfulness in discerning when it is time to let go – and the collective practice of doing it –  is one of the most crucial learning opportunities for our own, and the social sector’s, vibrancy and evolution.

Too often endings mean “foreclosure”; they are done quickly, aggressively, without the celebration and acknowledgement of the work, and the people who have contributed. However, when we look at endings as essential to beginnings, dying as a natural phase of ongoing life, indeed as the transformative element for renewal, then we have many choices – and responsibilities – in how we move through such transitions and change.

“What does it mean to be sustainable?”

In December 2007, I was hired as executive publisher of ascent magazine & timeless booksan award-winning Canadian non-profit publication group based in Montreal, Toronto and BC.  At a time of many changes in the publishing world, and the global economy, the Board was asking one question “what does it mean to be sustainable?” They were serious.  It was not “how do we keep going?” or “what is our next growth strategy?” but what does it mean to truly evolve into our greatest potential, relevance, service?

The answer we discerned collectively over the course of a year was that we had completed an important cycle of our life as a pioneering magazine of yoga, art, and engaged spirituality. ascentis a 40-year old publication.  For the last 10 years, it had been published out of Montreal by a group of creative young people, in the form of an international yoga magazine.  We saw clearly that the external environment (funding and publishing trends) had an impact on our future.  But more importantly, from our internal environment we sensed we had achieved the goals we had set out for ourselves in this form of expression – as a magazine. It was time to bring this decade of work to a close, and let come the next stage of life from a place of deep reflection and learning. 

In the phase of the lifecycle we were in, sustainability meant bringing our present form to an end. This was a scary realization, and what followed was a period of uncertainty and confusion.  In this time, we began to learn how to hold and transform uncertainty. 

ascent already had in its organizational DNA two pre-conditions to enhance our ability to work with change, transition, and uncertainty.  First, a mature culture of reflection, a skillfulness in the practice of looking inward individually and collectively.  Second, an inherent appreciation of living systems and the value of impermanence.  Soon we began to look at the work ahead as a kind of collective practice of conscious action.  We called our process a “Conscious Closure.”

Right Questions Lead to Right Actions

We began by asking “how do we want to do this, how do we want to be in this, what do we want to create from this?”  From this, we framed our Conscious Closure work in two ways 1) as anorganization-wide project in which everyone is involved and essential and 2) as a collective learning process and unique opportunity to learn and practice a specific kind of work.

Critical to our success was a very clear mandate and detailed Plan which included our principles, goals and outcomes, a 3-month timeline with a specific end date and a revised budget approved by the Board.   Within this, we made the decision to fundraise for and publish a final 10th anniversary issue of ascent magazine.  This was a very important aspect to cultivating a collective sense of celebration, legacy and completion.

The priority was to work consciously and with great care, in line with the values and culture of our organization.  As such, we explicitly worked with the values of wholeness and integration.  Each individual, role and task, and the organization as a whole would be treated with dignity and integrity. For example, we made a commitment to have the resources to bring our operations to a close as a team and thus planned our time and our budget accordingly.  Stated upfront, this created clarity, and generated enthusiasm and solidarity in the team.

Working with Uncertainty and Clarity

The greatest challenge, and most important skill-set that we cultivated, was navigating uncertainty in the stress of completely new work and a short timeline. We noticed that roles, tasks and structure were in constant flux depending on what was needed at that time. The boundaries would solidify only long enough to get the task at hand completed before they would shift again.  We decided to create a “minimal-optimal” structure that could adapt to, and hold, the constant change and that combined our valueswith practices of integration and wholeness. 
We experimented with forms and structures – for meeting, decision-making and accessing our collective intelligence by:

  • Forming a core transition team to hold the overall process and connect the parts;
  • Holding frequent and intentional check ins for reflection and connection and to surface and include multiple voices;
  • Paying attention to our inner landscape (emotions, mindsets, feelings, competencies, blockages) in order to align with ourouter actions and decision-making process;
  • Using practices such as conversation, meditation, reflection, cooking together and yoga, to access different kinds of perspectives and intelligence and to enhance group cohesion and mutual support.

The Big Learning 

  • Making conscious the need to foresee and steward endings in organizations.
  • Learning to listen to what the work is asking rather imposing on it what we want or expect.
  • Naming and framing and ending can catalyze an immense amount of energy, dynamism and focus.  It can literally give new life.
  • Shifting the attention of leadership towards the practices of “collective stewardship”:  the inspiration to lead in different ways, develop skills and open up ways of thinking in order to steward transitions and endings.
  • The importance of understanding how systems learn; creating conditions and skills in organizations to work with and not to resist or hide from the natural processes of lifecycles.  
  • And lastly, cultivating the patience and ability to hold the paradoxes of celebration and grieving. 
  • Be courageous.


Suggested Resources


…ve sessizce açtı kapılarını yüreğinin sevgiye ve dostluğa öğrenmek için hayatın gizemini”

Güneşli bir sonbahar sabahında denize karşı oturmuş 31 yıllık yaşamımda benim için en çok anlam ifade eden, kendimi en huzurlu, en bütün, en var hissettiğim anları düşünüyorum. Ya doğanın ihtişamı ve mükemmelliği ile yaşanan huşu anları bunlar, ya da bilinmezin içinde korkusuzca oturup kalbimi kendime ve çevremdekilere açtığım, bir kişiye veya bir ideolojiye değil ama varoluşun gücüne, yaşamın özüne teslim olduğum anlar.

Yaşamak öğrenmek, öğrenmekse yaşamak benim için. Öğrenerek yaşadığımı, yaşayarak öğrendiğimi dolu dolu hissettiğim, varoluşu anlamlı kılan tecrübelerimden aldığım ilhamla uzun süredir kafa patlatıyorum: Bilgisayar ekranları ve cep telefonları ile steril ve zahmetsiz iletişim kurmaya alıştığımız bu çağda, bugünümüzü ve geleceğimizi daha yüksek bir bilinç ve sorumluluk duygusuyla yaratabilmemiz için nasıl iletişim kuracağız, nasıl organize olacağız, nasıl birlikte çalışıp yaşayacağız, nasıl birlikte düşüneceğiz, kararları nasıl alacağız? Yaşamın özündeki bilgeliğin akışını mümkün kılan kolektif bilince nasıl ulaşacağız? “Doğrunun ve yanlışın ötesinde bir yer var. Sizinle orda buluşacağım” demiş Mevlana. Var gerçekten de öyle bir yer. İnsan aklının ötesinde, kalbiyle ulaşabileceği, yaradılışın yansıması olan özüyle ve yaşamın kutsallığıyla buluştuğu bir yer. Egonun tanımadığı, kişisel çıkarların ve çatışmaların önemini yitirdiği bu kalp coğrafyasında gerçek, açık ve dürüst iletişim mümkün. Öyle bir yer ki orası, insan derinden özlemini duyduğu, yaşamla, her şeyin parçası olduğu varoluşun gücüyle, “diğer”iyle “bir” olma hissini yaşıyor; ruhu bir an dinginliğe kavuşuyor; akla hayale sığmaz bir gücün ve bütünün bir parçası olduğunu bir an için de olsa idrak ediyor. Egonun ve aklın perdeleri kalkıp da kalbin kapıları aralanınca korkularına ve kırılganlıklarına sevgiyle sahip çıkıyor insan, bağışlıyor, hoş görüyor. İşte tam o noktada bir araya gelen bireyler birlikte öğreniyor, yaratıyor, üretiyor, evrende herkesin erişimine açık gerçek bilgeliğe ulaşabiliyor ve hatta bilinç sıçraması yaşayabiliyorlar; 1001 yüzü olan “hakikat”i görmeye biraz daha yaklaşıyorlar yani. Rekabetin yerini işbirliği alıyor, hayatın hizmete çağıran sesi duyuluyor tüm berraklığıyla, “bir”liğin ümit dolu tohumları serpiliyor yüreklere…

İyi ama nasıl varacağız bu ruh haline, bu kalp açılmasına? Doğrunun ve yanlışın öte yanındaki o yere? Nasıl baş edeceğiz önyargılarımızla, sabit inançlarımızla, kendisini bütünün bir parçası olarak göremeyen ve gerçekliğin önüne perdeler çeken zihnimizle ? Gittikçe doğadan ve yaşamın temel ihtiyaçlarını karşılama sürecinden uzaklaştığımız, akıl ve kalp birliği yapmaya en çok ihtiyacımız olan bu dönemde ofis odalarına, apartman dairelerine, bilgisayar ve televizyon ekranlarının arkasına sıkışıp kalmış hayatlar yaşıyoruz, geçim sıkıntısı, tüketim alışkanlıkları derken kalbimizin sesini dinlemeyi de duyurmayı da unutuyoruz çoğu zaman. Bu karmaşık sistemin içinde farkındalığını kaybettiğimiz öyle çok şey var ki… Ama bir arada olmanın, yüz yüze bakmanın ve hatta gereğinde dokunmanın çok büyük önemi var iletişimde.

Gerçek şu ki bir grup insan bir araya geldiğinde, gerekli koşullar mevcut ise, evrenin sonsuz yaratıcı gücüne ve bilgeliğine erişmek mümkün. Bu büyünün, mistik zekanın kesin bir formülü olmasa da benim kolektif bilinci tecrübe ettim diyaloglarda şu koşullar mevcuttu :

  • Önyargıları, sabit fikirleri ve “doğruyu BEN biliyorum” tutumunu bir kenara bırakıp diyalogun getireceği açılımlara tamamen açık olmak (Krishnamurti’nin dediği gibi, bir kabı boşaltmadan dolduramazsınız)
  • Diyaloga herhangi bir gizli niyet ya da beklentiyle gelmemek,
  • Diyalogun içinde – o anda – bilinçli bir şekilde var olmak,
  • Diyalog esnasında – kolaylaştırıcı haricinde – akışı yöneten hiçbir otoritenin ya da hiyerarşinin olmaması,
  • Yargılamadan, zihnimizde sessiz kalarak, gerçekten dinlemek,
  • Diyalog sürecini kontrol etmeye çalışmamak, kendiliğinden akışa ve sürecin kendi kendine organize olmasına izin vermek,
  • Diyalog sadece sözlerle olmaz; gerektiğinde birlikte sessiz olabilmek ve o sessizliğin içinde anlam akışına müsaade etmek,
  • Kendimizi çok ciddiye almamak ve sürece meraklı ve tarafsız bir çocuğun gözleriyle bakabilmek,
  • Herkesin eşit katılımının mümkün olması,
  • Bir bütünün parçaları olmanın farkındalığı ve kolektif bilince erişme niyeti.

Açık alanlar, konuşma çemberleri, kafeler ve diğerleri…
Yukarıda bahsettiğim koşulları hazırlasak da bir grupta ya da bir iletişim sürecinde tam olarak ne olacağını tahmin etmek olanaksız. Ama yine de bir takım prensiplere uyarak daha bilinçli iletişim kurmaya çalışmak kesinlikle kolektif bilince ulaşma şansımızı arttırıyor. Özellikle gelişmiş endüstri toplumlarında ve meşgul şehir kültüründe unutulmaya yüz tutmuş gerçek ve kalpten iletişimi canlandırabilmek için yollar arıyor şimdi de insanoğlu… Konuşmayı ve dinlemeyi öğreniyoruz yeniden. İnsan topluluklarının birlikte harmoniyle varolabilmesi ve hayatın tümünü destekler nitelikte çalışıp üretebilmeleri için kullanılan pek çok yeni ama aslında özü çok eskilere, yerli halkların binlerce yıllardır doğadan aldıkları ilhamla geliştirdikleri ritüellere dayanan iletişim yöntemleri dikkati çekiyor. Benim yaşayıp birebir uyguladığım ve insanların açık, kalpten ve güvende hissederek iletişim kurmalarını, kolektif bilinçle ve farkındalıkla kararlar almalarını mümkün kılan bir kaç yöntemden bahsetmek istiyorum sizlere…

Açık Alan Teknolojisi (Open Space Technology)
2002 yılının yazında Slovenya’da bir ortaçağ kalesinde düzenlenen “Açık Alan Öğrenme Köyü”nde tanıştım Açık Alan Teknolojisi ile. Beni ilk andan sarsan, yıllar geçtikçe bir hayat felsefesine dönüşen Açık Alan, doğada her şeyin kendi kendine organize olmasından ilham alınarak düşünülmüş, en basit tanımıyla bir toplantı metodu. 20 yılı aşkın süredir dünyanın pek çok yerinde şirketlerden hükümetlere, çatışmalı gruplardan ilkokul öğrencilerine kadar pek çok farklı grup tarafından kullanılan bu yöntem bir konu, hedef ya da sorunun ilgilendirdiği tüm tarafları o konuyu, önceden hazırlanmış hiçbir ajanda olmadan, tartışmak üzere bir araya getiriyor. Grupların kendi kendine organize olmaları prensibine göre işleyen, hiyerarşik olmayan ve herkesi eşit katılıma davet eden, bireyin ve toplulukların bilgeliğine ve kendileri için en iyi çözümü “eksperlerin” müdahalesi olmadan üretebileceklerine inanan, en kompleks sorunlara dahi çok kısa sürelerde pratik çözümler üretilmesini mümkün kılan katılımcı, demokratik ve çoğulcu bir toplantı metodu olan Açık Alan, aynı zamanda insanın hayatında sınırsız olasılıklara yer açan, insanın idealleri ve değerleri için sorumluluk alma bilincini ve girişimcilik ruhunu geliştiren ve insanı özgürleştiren bir yaşam felsefesi.


Konuşma Çemberi (The circle or the council)

İlk kez bir konuşma çemberine katıldığımda ve konuşma objesi dönüp dolaşıp ellerimle buluştuğunda, sesimin ta ruhumun derinliklerinden geldiğini, daha önce hiç dinlenilmediğim gibi dinlenildiğimi hissetmiştim. Çok kısa bir sürede, binlerce yıldır insanların önemli konularda kalplerindekini saygılı ve güvenli bir alanda paylaşmak için kullandıkları bu yöntem, günlük hayatımda vazgeçilmez bir süreç haline geldi benim için. Konuşma çemberinin prensipleriyle hareket edildiğinde, en hassas ve çatışmalı konularda bile açılımlar yaşandığına, insanların en derin yaralarını, özlemlerini ve hayallerini paylaştıkça şifa bulduklarına pek çok kereler şahit oldum.

Bu yönteme göre belli bir konuda konuşmak üzere toplanan bir grup (hatta iki kişiyle de uygulanabilir) ortada çiçekler, katılımcılara ait anlamlı objeler ve yanan bir mumdan oluşan merkezin etrafına daire şeklinde otururlar. Bir konuşma objesi elden ele geçirilir ve objeyi tutan kişi konuşurken diğerleri konuşanı dinler. Çemberde bilinç ve farkındalıkla konuşmak, konuşanı dikkatle ve saygıyla dinlemek ve tüm grubun refahını düşünerek hareket etmek dikkat edilmesi gereken pratiklerdir. Kaynaklar:

Dünya Kahvesi (World Cafe)
“Nasıl yani? Bir muhabbet kahvesi mi yaratacağız?” Halifax’ta organizasyonuna katıldığım liderlikle ilgili bir konferansta “dünya kahvesi” diye bilinen bir yöntemi uygulamamız istendiğinde şaşkınlığımı saklayamamıştım. Gerçektende kısa sürede konferans salonu her birine 5 kişinin oturabileceği, üzerlerinde kahvelerdeki gibi örtüleriyle, çiçeğiyle masalardan oluşan koskocaman bir kahveye dönüşmüştü. Daha sonra güzel bir müzik eşliğinde katılımcıları salona davet ettik ve masalara rasgele oturmalarını söyledik. Kahvenin kolaylaştırıcısı konuyu anons etti ve katılımcılar aynı bir kahvede muhabbet ediyormuşçasına konu üzerinde konuşmaya, masaların üzerine yerleştirilmiş kağıtlara önemli noktaları not etmeye koyuldular. Bir süre sonra bir zil çaldı, her masadan bir kişi haricinde herkes yine rasgele farklı bir masaya geçti ve bir sonraki grupla aynı konuda konuşmaya devam etti. Masada kalan katılımcı ise yeni gelenlere bir önceki grupta konuşulanları aktarmakla sorumluydu. Gruplar üç kez yer değiştirdikten sonra bu muhabbetlerde ortaya çıkan fikirler, öneriler, alınan kararlar dileyen katılımcılar tarafından grubun geri kalanıyla paylaşıldı. Böylece aktif, eğlenceli bir etkileşim ortamında samimi ve gerçek paylaşımlar yaşandı ama en önemlisi insanların daha önce hiç tanımadıkları biriyle diyaloga girmelerinden aldıkları haz ve kalp açılmasıydı yaşanan. Kaynak:

Bütün bu yöntemlerin bir ortak yönü var: insanları kalpten, açık ve samimi diyaloga, yani ünlü fizikçi filozof David Bohm’un tanımıyla anlamın akışına davet etmek. Bugün artık yine geçmişte olduğu gibi birlikte olmaya, bir bütünün parçaları olduğunu hatırlamaya ihtiyacımız var. Yaşanan gerçekliği değiştirmek istiyorsak güne uyanmak, sonra da birlikte diyalog içinde olmaya ve hayal etmeye başlamak lazım, hem de bir an önce! Kendimizden, ailemizden, dost çevremizden başlayarak…inanıyorum ki kendimizdeki dönüşüm, kişisel evrimimiz, yaşamın dönüşümünde önemli rol oynayacaktır

On Dialog, David Bohm
Open Space Technology: A User’s Guide, Harrison Owen
Solving Tough Problems: An Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New
Realities, Adam Kahane

Permaculture with Penny Livingston Stark in Turkey


19-27 September 2009, Pastoral Vadi, Fethiye, Turkey

8-11 October 2009, Istanbul, Turkeyfield

Invitation: permaculture course invitation

Registration Form: Permaculture registration form

We are living in a unique time in the evolution of the planet and the human species. We are facing many challenges such as climate change, peak oil, species’ extinction, declining quality and availability for our food and water. Permaculture is a design system that recognizes solutions to create environments that can support humans, animals and wildlife in a healthy and abundant way. While many feel hopeless about what we can do, there are solutions that are often hidden in plane view. Permaculture is an approach to designing our lives, our gardens and our communities that offers many practical solutions to issues that may seem unsolvable.

You are invited to come and explore together with Penny Livingston-Stark what we can do in our communities to start adapting in a positive way to the changing times we face in the future.

What can we do to decrease our dependancy on resources imported from distant lands using increasingly expensive fossil fuels? Can we provide for our needs where we live? How can we clean water, turn waste into resources and fulfill a legacy that enrichens the lives of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren with beauty, elegance, integrity, fun and love?

Come learn and explore ways you can enrich your life, family and community in a way that is harmonious to the Earth and the living systems we depend on for our health and happiness. Penny Livingston-Stark will help facilitate an exploration into the principals, practices, strategies and techniques of permaculture design.

flow game, once again, 25-26 July, Istanbul

At this shifting times our world needs to unfold for the new possibilities and the full potential which resides in us – as individuals, collectives and Humanity.

Old ways of thinking, talking, leading and working are failing in increasingly evident ways. And as we feel and experience in our everyday life this shift process, many of us feel the call to do something but are unsure what that new something might be.

To help illuminate your possibilities and explore the future, the Flow Game is being offered for the first time in Turkey as a enjoyable, fun and deep tool to support you to inquiry the burning question you are holding now about the next steps to take forward.

The Flow Game is a process designed as a board game that creates the space for individual and collective consciousness and intelligence to emerge through reflection, dialogue and interactive learning.

The purpose and intent of the Flow Game is to strengthen and bring flow to the life affirming leadership and actions of the participant. Its aim is to strengthen and bring focus and flow into important area or question in one’s life – be it a project, a future direction of your work or relationships or as part of your personal growth.

For more information:

FLOW GAME Hosting in Istanbul

When: 25th and 26th of July, 10:00 – 17:00

Where: Address will be provided upon interest

Investment: TL 170 per person (meals are not included) as a suggested price. If this amount is not affordable, we follow the principle of “offer what you can and a little bit more”.

Flow Game Host: Valentine Giraud*
Local Host: Filiz Telek*

Contact for more information.

“I have participated in many different courses and workshops with the same objective as the Flow Game.

In comparison…I have experienced the Flow Game as the most effective the funniest way to explore new and alternative solutions to personal and professional challenges and to look at “old” solutions in new perspectives. .

It is not only the trick of using a board game for this purpose. The fine outcome was just as much the result of a professional moderation and intervention by the Flow game host.”

*Valentine Giraud – Host of group processes with the use of  deep dialogue and collective learning methodolgies (such as Open Space. World Cafe. Circle Dances. Clowning and others). Co-creator and co-host of the Butterfly Connection– Youth Leadership Program which has taken place in Brazil and abroad for 3 years (  Co-creator and co-host of events, gatherings and trainings organized within the international communitites of the Pioneers of Change and The Art of Hosting Meaningful Conversations. She was part of the Ashoka- Innovators for the Public in Brazil from 2006 to 2008 coordinating and connecting Brazil and Paraguay fellowship locally, regionally and internationally. In 2005 lived and worked in India engaged within local and international social organizations dedicated to rural development and microfinance. For one year was part of the Strategy and Managment for Sustainability team at the ABN AMRO Bank in Brasil.  Ba degree in International Relations at the Catholic University of Sap Paulo. In Brazil and abroad she has been hosting processes of group engagement and solving complex social problems processes. Currently she is travelling and working in the Middle East Region offering her work and pratices in the art of hosting conversations that matter within groups, organizations and individuals who are calling in their next level of clarity and purpose and leadership that is needed at this time of shift in our world.

*Filiz Telek – Filiz is a dialogue host and a learning process designer. Her work as a host is to create a learning container in which a community or a group can realize its potential through dialogue and deep connection. Her passion is to explore new ways of working and being together and discover a depth of wisdom far beyond what is available to individuals alone. As part of Pioneers of Change and Art of Hosting networks, she has been co-designing, planning and co-hosting international gatherings and trainings, convening people, diversity, creativity and all viewpoints in processes through which our wisdom can come forth, since 2002. Recently, she organized and co-hosted “Art of Hosting Participatory Leadership” training in Istanbul. ( Besides being a dialogue host, Filiz is a social entrepreneur focusing on sustainable living. She is the initiator of “Sustainable Living Film Festival” and “Slow Food Youth Food Movement” in Turkey. Her calling is to build community to deal with the ecological, economical and social challenges we are currently facing in the world. In service of that, Filiz designs and hosts dialogue and learning spaces to raise awareness about sustainable living and social innovation.

flow game in Istanbul, july 7-8


We co-hosted the first Art of Hosting in Turkey, last week in Istanbul which was truly powerful and inspiring. One of my co-hosts, Tine Giraud from Brazil, decided to stay in Istanbul a little longer…and while she is here, she is willing to share her gifts and practices as a host. One of the great gifts she got is Flow Game, a collective game that helps players to gain clarity on a particular issue or question they have about their lives or organizations. As our paradigm is shifting, we need new tools that connect mind, heart and spirit in creative ways and Flow Game is definitely one of these tools.

Here is more info on the Flow Game:

Flow Game is being offered in Turkey for the first time…

The Flow Game is a process designed as a board game that creates the space for individual and collective consciousness and intelligence to emerge through reflection, dialogue and interactive learning.

The purpose and intent of the Flow Game is to strenghen and bring flow to the life affirming leadership and actions of the participant. Its aim is to strengthen and bring focus and flow into important area or question in ones life – be it a project, a future direction of your work or relationships or as part of your personal growth.

As we step into our leadership actions after having spent the four days of the Art of Hosting training exploring what are the actions we are willing to take forward, Tine would like to offer this game as a way to Ground the Call of Action You Have Now. The Flow Game can be a very powerful and fun way to finding clarity on the next steps to be taken about the projects, ideas and questions you are holding now.


The Invitation: Flow Game Session
How to Ground the Call of Action I am Holding Now?

When: July 7 (from 7pm to 10pm) and July 8 (from 9am to 5pm)
Where:  Ask
Investment:  170 TL

Art of Hosting Participatory Leadership Training

“There is a place beyond right and wrong. I shall meet you there” Rumi

yes, finally!

Art of Hosting is coming to Turkey!

We are inviting you to the Art of Hosting Participatory Leadership in Istanbul, 25-28 June 2009.

The Art of Hosting Participative Leadership is
• A training for all who aspire to learn how to be, work and co-create with people in more interactive, participative and effective ways.
• Essentially, an expression of an authentic way of being with others and situations as they emerge – and a practice of creating the conditions for collective intelligence to emerge.
• Built on the assumption and experience that we need to find new solutions for the common good, whether in corporations, government, education, non-profits, social movements, communities, or families. The time is now.

Our calling question is:

“What is the potential residing in the present ecological, economic and social shift of our World?
How do we collectively shape our future and participate in the unfolding of a sustainable world and what kind of leadership is needed to make it happen?”

Participants from outside of Turkey, please download the invitation here:

Art of Hosting Participatory Leadership Invitation

conversation circle

önemli bir mesaj

11. saat

İnsanlara bunun 11. saat olduğunu söylemekteydiniz
Şimdi geri dönün ve onlara deyin ki bu o saattir
ve düşünülmesi gereken konular var:
Nerede yaşıyorsunuz?
Ne yapıyorsunuz?
İlişkileriniz nasıl?
Doğru ilişkide misiniz?
Suyunuz nerede?
Bahçenizi bilin
Şimdi doğrunuzu konuşmanın zaman
Topluluğunuzu yaratın
Birbirinize iyi davranın
ve lideri dışınızda bir yerde aramayın
Bu iyi bir zaman olabilir!

Şimdi çok hızlı akan bir nehir var
O kadar büyük ve süratli ki ondan korkanlar olacaktır
onlar kıyıya tutunmaya çalışacaklar
paramparça olduklarını hissedecekler, çok canları yanacak
Bilin ki bu nehrin varacağı bir yer var
Bilgeler diyor ki kendimizi koyuvermeliyiz
nehrin akışına
gözlerimiz açık
başımız suyun üstünde
kim orada sizinle görün ve kutlayın

tarihin bu noktasında hiçbir şeyi kişisel alamayız
hele hele kendimizi
bunu yaptığımızda spiritüel gelişimimiz ve yolculuğumuz duracaktır
yalnız kurdun zamanı geçti! Biraraya toplanın!

Mücadeleyi sözcük dağarcığınızdan ve tavrınızdan çıkarın
Şimdi her yaptığımız kutsal bir tutum ve kutlamayla yapılmalı

Çoktandır beklediğimiz onlar, biziz!


çeviri: Filiz Telek