The Art of Hosting

It is in the wander that new paths are formed.
It is in the wander that old habits are broken.
Yet, it is in the pause that we prepare for all that the wander will bring.

I love to wander. It is something my partner and I joke about – he likes to have a direction in mind before venturing out, whereas I like to wander and see what shows up. My career has been a bit of a wander; moving in and out of different conversations, building ideas and inspiration along the way. Never really sure of a final destination, but enjoying the journey of discovery. One of the main challenges for solopreneurs like myself is to pause and let what I have collected along the way sink in.

Enter the Art of Hosting, an approach to leadership that allows us to gather and reflect on the wisdom inside ourselves and within our community. I first heard about the Art of Hosting a few years ago when it seemed that every new person I met found a way to weave it into our conversation. Jung would call this ‘Synchronicity’ – learning about something only to have it appear in all aspects of your life. Joseph Campbell would perhaps refer to it as ‘The Call’, a beckoning of sorts, inviting you to poke your head in and see what lies on the other side. Last week, I accepted the call and attended a 4 day intensive Art of Hosting training on Bowen Island.

Arriving anywhere by ferry seems to add a layer of space to the journey. Space to sit and reflect as the vessel coasts across the water. Space to explore since there is no easy escape off an island. Space to imagine and space to be curious. Anticipation is futile, what will be, will be. Or as The Art of Hosting declares, ‘Whoever shows up are the right people to show up.”

I’ve participated in Art of Hosting activities before – World Café and Open Space Technology often make appearances in my workshops and retreats. Yet, I have never been so fully immersed in the philosophy and art of bringing people together. I first identified as a facilitator or convener last year when I realized that in bringing people together to share stories I was working in the depths of group dynamics. One of my favourite aspects of group work is the Circle Practice – placing people in a circle and giving them equal air time shifts the power away from a single leader and invites the group to redefine leadership.

When I tell people I practice storytelling, they often bring up campfires. While the work I do extends far beyond the fire pit, there is something to this reference. Sitting around a fire, we can hear each voice and see each face. We let our guards down, feeling protected under the night sky. True storytelling happens when we trust our own voice and practice the art of listening. My time on Bowen Island, albeit without campfire, reminded me to listen. Thankfully, I heard the most beautiful stories; stories of hope and stories of possibility.

And there is no greater reason to wander than that.

 

Thank you to Conrad for the beautiful photos that captured the essence of our time together on Bowen.