"modified open space"

Fr Brian S Bainbridge briansb at mira.net
Mon May 4 09:12:20 PDT 1998

for Ralph Copleman
I haven't found it any different in the southern hemisphere, though I
always use the talking stick anti-clockwise in the southern hemisphere
and clockwise in the northern hemisphere - and I work in both parts of
the world.  I occasionally get mixed up which hemisphere I am in, and I
can tell you it still works wonderfully - aCcording to participants.

For Birgitt Bolton et al :
I always re-read the green book before every Open Space event -
preferably as part of my spirit focus on that morning.  I'm not preaching
that to anyone, but I find it always grounds me in the basics and helps
me develop the meaning of those basics for the people I am working with.
I am, therefore, an uncompromising non-modifier, I suppose!!!

I have just completed 2 Open Space Events in three days, two days for 25
execs from the Melbourne City Council here in Victoria, then on a plane
to Darwin for one day with some 300 Meetings Industry Association members
from all across Australia and southern Asia.  Exhaustion is where I'm at
right now.

In both cases, the impact would have been diluted if I had not held
firmly to the process, esepcially as the "promoters" in each situation
wanted desperately to have things happen to their satisfaction and
manipulation.  I was quite happy for them to do that, but they would not
find me on site - I said.  So the impasse was established.  And
afterwards, in both cases, a kind of "Thank God you made us hold to the
rules" - because the outcomes could not have happened so well if
"modified OST" had been in place.  They said, indeed.  And I smiled.

As always, participants were much more glowing about the process than the
promoters - though still with some sceptics, which means one is not just
hearing the icing on the cake.  And, in both events, the emergence of
enormous energy and potential growth and development, provided that the
"promoters" don't get on their horse and stamp things out - which they
wont, in either case.

With Larry Peterson, I very much appreciate Michael Herman's "Bubble"
analogy.  And perhaps it is only when we see that extra dimension that we
are able to really enable spirit to emerge and be recognized and
encouraged and embraced.  When you find someone standing up at evening
news and getting everyone to wave with one hand (self) and then the other
hand (reaching out to others) and getting everyone to wave with BOTH
hands since that's the only way we can change the world, then spirit is
in full manifestation, I reckon.  And that was with the staid City
Council group, not the brash advertising people - which adds special
quality to the manifestions, obviously !!!!

Seems to me one of the tasks of the OSI's - in whatver incarnation they
emerge - is to continue to help us understand - and perhaps interpret and
grow in insight about - the basics of OST.  Rather like scripture
scholars getting to work on and deepen the understanding of a biblical
text.  We can work at - and probably should be more aggressive about -
learning more about how it works, especially from the stories and
build-up of experience and insights that are happening, rather than
setting out to modify, as some will attempt to do.  Whatever "they" may
do, there is need for deeper study and recogniiton and understanding of
what is happening, whatever of modifications which will inevitably
emerge.  And I don't see that as an "either/or" model.

As the classical scholars say - "Ad multos annos".

Cheers and blessings,   BRIAN.

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