Maiking "SAFE SPACE"

Fr Brian S Bainbridge briansb at
Sun Jul 25 18:17:29 PDT 1999

Dear Peg (Holman)
Some reflections - for thinking about and agreeing with or otherwise -
about what makes the space we use in OPEN SPACE "safe", as I see it.
1.      The CIRCLE is a boundary with space inside it which creates
acceptance and allows/encourages active presence by those present.  As we
use it, that space is always "open" or "empty" and uncluttered by any
meeting things like desks, chairs, tables, etc - its real space.

2.      There is therefore freedom to move about within that boundary, in
and into groups and between groups.  The "permission" given by The Law Of
Two Feet realizes this.

3.      Accepting other participants' "issues/passions" relating to the
theme, and acceptance of my "issue/passion" relating to the theme - and
even acceptance of the absence of an "issue/passion" relating to the

4.      The clear option/invitation to explore one another's

5.      Someone is there to focus on the "space" of the circle within a
"time" context - i.e. there is a finite end to this space of time.  The
"space-maker's" role is vital.

6.      Within that space/constraint, there emerges an evenness of
participants which then allows focus on issues and outcomes.

7.      It's just like the safety of a coffee-break - I can do whatever I
think is worth doing and has value (until the end of the coffee break).

8.      Other formats and structures set out - often consciously - to
contain and control the spirit of a group (which can't be permitted to
get out because it will likely create "problems").  Experience shows that
the circle, set up in Open Space fashion, actually encourages the
emergence of spirit and the relevant creativity.

Respectfully submitted and contributed.    BRIAN S. BAINBRIDGE

More information about the OSList mailing list