Category Archives: Dream

Dialogue for spiritual vision, transcendence, reflection

Where is Home? Leadership & the Soul of Placemaking

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June’s Unify Toronto dialogue hosted leadership educator, facilitator and Juno-nominated pianist Michael Jones, inspired by his forthcoming book: The Soul of Place: Reimagining Leadership through Arts, Nature, and Community. The book is expected shortly, and will be available for August’s Design with Dialogue (8/13) as Michael returns to OCADU with a second session for the book launch.  In the meantime, his brief brief article titled Recovering the Soul of Place:  Reflections on Place-Based Leadership is available.

soulMichael’s approach to placemaking is radically different than the current trend in urban planning and city-building. His book and view is a platform for community leadership grounded in the essential humanity of understanding place, nature, and creativity.

We are shifting from the industrial age and the age of information and technology to the age of biology. We are now asking, “how do we create spaces for life?” “How do we align our thinking with how nature thinks?”  He asks us to create places as living systems inspired by biology and interconnection.

We explored the four patterns in Michael’s book that underlie the soul of place:

  • Homecoming  – Where is home and how do we find our way there?
  • Belonging  – How can the connective tissue of life-giving relationships align us with the essence of nature and how nature works, connects, and thinks?
  • Regenerativity – What does it mean to make the invisible visible, to contribute to the conscious evolution of life?
  • Carnival – How can we gather together on the square or in the commons, bringing together diverse energies, democratic spirit and upturning the old for the new?

 

The event was uniquely facilitated to engage multiple modes of experiencing and presencing the patterns. Michael Jones told stories about his experiences in embodied leadership and his musical learning journey (“Who’s going to play your music, if not you?”).  He played several pieces while participants listened, contemplated, moved or held small group dialogues. Our gathering hosted dialogue around the four themes and patterns. An integrated sketch by Patricia Kambitsch formed a visual story of the experiences and dialogue in the room.

Placemaking-sketch


“By looking at place not only as something to return to but also something to grow out from –orienting us to the future and not only the past; and by realizing that a place is not an object or a thing, but a power and a presence, we can partner with place in a way that is itself deeply transformative, opening our hearts to the experience of beauty, aliveness and possibility.” – Michael Jones,Recovering the Soul of Place

About special guest Michael Jones:

Picture

Michael is a leadership educator, dialogue facilitator, writer and Juno-nominated pianist/composer.  His most recent book, The Soul of Place, is the third in a series on Re-imagining Leadership.  Others in the series include Artful Leadership and the award-winning  Creating an Imaginative Life.  Michael has also been a thought leader with the MIT Dialogue Project and Dialogos and other prominent leading edge universities and centres. He has co-chaired several place-based initiatives and spoken on the leader’s emerging role as   placemaker in a variety of forums including The Authentic Leadership in Action Conferences (ALIA), The Society  for Organizational  Learning (SoL) and many others. As a pianist/composer Michael has composed and recorded fifteen CD’s of his original piano compositions and performed as a solo pianist across North America  as well as Korea and Japan.  He has been integrating his music in his leadership and dialogue work for over twenty years.
See www.pianoscapes.com to learn more about Michael and his work.

Facing our Future Challenges with Authentic Hope: The Work that Reconnects

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The Work that Reconnects was an evening of dialogue and experiential exercises based on teachings and practices developed over the last 40 years by eco-philosopher Joanna Macy and colleagues. The workshop offered an inspiring context for action and   participation in the Great Turning toward a life-sustaining society and world.

Joanna spoke June 21st to a sold-out audience at OISE, on her new book Active Hope – How to Face the Mess We’re In Without Going Crazy. This special DwD workshop followed Joanna’s recent talks and workshops in Canada for a Toronto community experience of The Work that Reconnects.

The Work that Reconnects

Following the Spiral of the Work that Reconnects, as developed by Joanna Macy, PhD, we journeyed into gratitude and joy in being alive, through honouring our pain for the world, to seeing with new eyes and finally going forth.

Three Stories of our Times: participants were invited to consider narratives by which we understand the times we are living in and what is possible now for life on Earth.

Business as Usual: Industrial Growth Society must and can continue; it is a wonderful success story involving continuous human progress and growth in economic prosperity spreading around the world. Getting ahead is what matters, and the problems of the world are seen as far off and irrelevant to our personal lives.

The Great Unravelling: The destructive consequences of the business-as-usual mode. Life-sustaining systems of Earth and of human communities are in serious decline, as seen in economic instability and inequity, resource depletion, climate disruption, peak oil, social division and war, and mass extinction of species.

The Great Turning toward a life-sustaining society committed to the recovery of our world.

This turning is manifested in three dimensions: 1) holding actions that slow the damage being done by business-as-usual and protect ecological and social systems; 2) alternative or Gaian structures, the creative redesign of practices and societal structures in fields from education and healthcare to housing and justice; and 3) a shift in consciousness that deepens our sense of connectedness and collective identity and inspires us to consider the inner frontier of change and also to take action in the world.


Reflections: How do you see each of these stories unfolding around you in these times?

Which do you want to get behind?

The group process called Meet the Ancestors allowed participants to step outside of time and meet imaginatively as people of the present day and people of the future.

Our Guest Presenters

SALLY LUDWIG M.A., M.Sc. works towards transforming relationships as a therapist with individuals, couples, families and groups. She is a co-founder of Transition Guelph, part of the international movement to build community resilience in a changing world.

NATALIE ZEND M.A., CTDP is a training and facilitation consultant with 14 years’ experience in international development and human rights. She is a co-founder of Unify Toronto, and offers the Awakening the Dreamer symposium, compassionate communication, and other social technologies in her local community.

The process and reflection was live sketched by Patricia Kambitsch of Playthink.

 

Designing a Future for our Future: Personal Foresight

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Get ready for The Multiplicity.

This workshop engaged participants to co-create multiple personal futures in large and small group collaboration. This social design experiment in personal foresight generated the creation of possible personal scenarios for the challenging next-future term possibilities. We started by creating a personal profile for the Low Tech Social Network. Communities listed on the profiles were shared in the closing circle to co-create a living network among the participants.

An amazing array of participants were involved, suggesting that DwD is reaching beyond its business + creatives + designerly roots. More and more people from dedicated social change communities are engaged and returning. While businesses can benefit from and afford these creative group processes, social change agents need to learn from each other. A community across communities is forming.

The event was framed by the question of considering the multiple futures we have choice to create. When we think of the future, we tend to push a vague collection of dreams, possibilities and wishes out to a speculative point in the years following the nearest term. We can guess about the world in two years, we can plan for 5 years, but 10 and 20 years challenge personal vision. Our concept was to confront the future opportunities for humanity, by learning to position our own inherent multiplicities as creative narratives to counter a technologically-determined future, whether a career ideal or the “singularity.”

The venue supported the creation of a circle and pairs for the exercises:

  • Values conflicts at the Crossroads
  • 3 Whys of 3 Values: Core values, Calling values, Contra values
  • Mapping Values to Actions
  • Mapping Value-Actions to future possibilities in the Pathway template

The workshop was convened by Peter Jones and Patricia Kambitsch (visual reflection) at The Design Exchange  Feb 24th in the DX boardroom as part of the Toronto Design Week Design Offsite Festival.

 

DwD Reflection & 2012 Shared Vision

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Every end of year we retreat and reflect on what we learned over the year’s events and who we are becoming in DwD community and practice. Fifteen people attended to co-create the vision for 2012 priorities, sessions, and direction. An Appreciative Inquiry guided the exploration and reflection, leading to harvests for each phase, as illustrated:

Discovery

Discovery explores the best in our experience, sharing and learning from our past and bringing forward the positive values to be honored in the inquiry. Paired shares led to whole-group expressions of valued experiences and impressions from Design with Dialogue in the 2011 season.

Visual reflection of DwD 2012 by Patricia Kambitsch.

Dream

Dream envisions what might be, and generates a multiplicity of possibilities for the group to reflect and decide. Individuals generated their ideas, shared in triads to review and add more, and posted and clustered in a harvest sheet. We organized and labeled clusters in a following session, resulting in a document shared with participants. The original harvest appeared as follows (not the full image):

Design and Destiny

In concluding the review and vision, people expressed their own hopes and encouragement for the 2012 season. People added their personal commitments to their proposals, which all ensures a rich, diverse, and heartfelt community in 2012.

  • Have continuity between sessions, with blogging and conversational support.
  • Have workshops to explore the nature of inquiring systems (of which AI, DwD are representative)
  • Evaluate the impact of learning from dialogue. Observe and evaluate the forms and outcomes of design. Relate the learning and observations to academic impact.
  • Inquiry into experiential modeling and experiential learning. What contributes to enhanced perception in dialogue?
  • “Listening sessions”  How to best share what we are learning in listening?
  • Continue with “sessions on what’s going on right now.” Capturing relevance as its emerging.
  • Holding new types of experiential dialogue sessions (e.g., Joanna Macy’s The Work that Reconnects)
  • Continue to connect with conferences and academic groups
  • Consider interim DwDs that provide continuity – Hold special interest groups for hot topics
  • Develop the practice and “rituals” of dialogue:
    Save 30 min at Pre or Post for continuing topics
    Provide coaching / video in basic facilitation and process skills
    Start Web conferences or online sessions

 

A Question of Questions

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Can a powerful question change the world? Why do some questions motivate people to deeply reflect and act?

The creation and sharing of a catalyzing question is a generative act, it creates a point of view. Such a true question provokes a deep response and outlook. Great questions are the inspiration of research, journalism, strategy, and our imagining of alternative futures.

September’s DwD session inquired into the “question of questions.”  We practice different methods and arts of the question, and explore the impact of powerful questions in dialogue.

We can see this principle in action around us. Companies, innovations, and social movements can start with a leader’s question that inspires others to get involved. People living in a question invite us to answer that question with action.

Such is the pull of the powerful question.

The session presented three challenges to participants:

1. The Question Game – Conduct three conversations entirely in questions.

2. Inquiry into: What is the process and practice of asking questions?

Based on asking the following three questions:

  • What is the function of a question?
  • What is the effect of a question on the person being asked?
  • What kinds of questions have “potential” or the potency to open experience?

The comprehensive dialogue sketch was composed throughout the evening by Patricia Kambitsch, Playthink.

3. How might your questions shape an intentional future?

Writing and sharing powerful questions, which appeared on the board as:

Participation was engaged by a group of 30, at least half of whom were new to DwD. We appreciate the energized attendance!


ABOUT THE HOST. DwD co-founder Peter Jones teaches in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation graduate MDes program at OCADU. Peter founded Redesign, an innovation research company based in Toronto that conducts ethnographic research and concept design for early stage innovations and services.