[OSList] Where is Lisa? Here she is.

Thomas Herrmann thomas at openspaceconsulting.com
Sat Jun 13 01:44:12 PDT 2020

I hear you 
I love you
I cheerish our dances
My super hero name is from now on Patience. 

Patiently Thomas

Skickat från min iPhone

> 12 juni 2020 kl. 22:43 skrev Lisa Heft via OSList <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org>:
> Hello, OSLIST friends -
> I have not written anything here since 2016 - although I am still sitting in the circle and listening in. 
> Some of you are dear friends from across the years (note my new email, by the way). A few of you have mentioned that it might be nice if I wrote to the list about how I am doing. 
> This message is long, because a) I have not visited in awhile, b) I am having a conversation with you here in my head over time, and c) in Open Space, even a group of 1 can have a rich conversation for an entire session or longer - and can then share their documentation of that exploration back to the rest of the group in their Book of Proceedings. Of course you have a choice to read it or delete it. 
> Those of you who know me extra-well know that - since you have known me - I have while working as a facilitator and educator also been very involved in the care of elderly parents. What just a few of you know is that I have also been living with a health condition called ME/CFS. That condition has progressed. I am fortunate that I am still able to care for myself, although here is one way to describe this particular invisible-to-others disability: I have to rest in-between putting on my right shoe and my left shoe. But I can still put on my shoes ;o)    (and hey, who needs shoes in COVID quarantine??)  To understand the impact of this health issue (for people who have it much much worse than I do), perhaps your country offers access to a sobering yet beautiful documentary called Unrest.  A few years ago I realized that true, radical wellness meant that I must release even those things I love (love love love facilitation and teaching about facilitation - love it). I did not feel sad releasing my client work - I felt lighter. I still grieve not being able to teach and facilitate, and in so many diverse settings, countries and cultures. But I knew immediately that it was the right thing to do. Last year my amazing father died, this year my amazing mother-in-law died, and after two decades of parental care, now my wife and I have more time and energy to care for our selves.  
> Interestingly, I never thought of myself as disabled until recent years, because I simply lived my life. However, since my parents raised me in a richly-diverse world, I have always had a passion for seeing / imagining / designing with a priority of and focus on access and inclusion. So here I am in an embodied experience exploring things I always imagined might be someone else's experience. Fascinating.
> I write this next part simply to share my background, with those of you who have not yet met me: I have facilitated for 40-something years. My interest area is dialogic methods that scale up (only one facilitator needed for a group of 5 or 3000+), that work across country and culture (without requiring participants to learn someone else’s vocabulary; without working through the facilitators’s own cultural filter), and in which participants frame their own experience (rather than the facilitator doing so). When I say 'dialogic', I mean those processes which engage participants in internal and external dialogue (conversation with self, conversation with others). And when I say conversation, I do not mean everyone has to speak aloud. Witnessing - fully listening - is participation just as much as speaking. I use existing and custom-designed processes which engage participants in silent reflection, kinesthetic and graphic thinking, improv, role play, poetry creation, movement, and (no surprise!) such methods as Open Space, World Cafe and Focused Conversation Method. Here is another way of showing who I am (there are so very many different ways of seeing / naming / showing one's self).  
> And now I write this part to share what I feel so proud of - and because writing this shows me back to myself, with you as witness to my "prouds". I have much more life to live, but this is also a point of my life where I am reflecting a bit. I am so proud of having been able to learn so much from and with so many of you. I am amazed (but not surprised) about how Open Space (I will call it OS) works. I have used it in over 20 countries, and within those countries with participants of many mixes of cultures and countries of origin. I have used it when only one person showed up, and with groups of 3500. I have seen groups use it to figure out how to spend a billion dollars of funding over the next several years, in a way that was different than they did before, to bring positive impacts to programs, outcomes and communities. Survivors of foster care or violence or disaster articulating their unique and collective experience, grief and loss, and resilience. Communities impacted by institutionalization, marginalization, corruption, exclusion or resource elimination changing laws, changing narratives, changing other peoples' minds.  People in some countries (mine included) noticing how participating in OS has given them their first experience of true democracy. I have learned from exploring and experimenting with participant-centered documentation design, with ways of helping groups think about, understand or respond to the huge amounts of data generated at an OS (new thinking, new relationships, potential projects or next steps, previously-unseen patterns), from sharing differences in how I or others explain the principles and law, when to call it OS and when it has been changed to become something slightly different, what-to-do-when's (or what not to do), what-ifs, what is helpful and what is too "helpy", and what can negatively impact or support the outcomes and human dynamics possible with full-form OS. I am proud of learning together with so many of you as we "unpack" OS - the doing of it, but also the tasks and actions from pre-work to after the event. Exploring what is true, diversity-welcoming invitation (resource generation, seen and unseen actions, pre-work, registration design, site design, and ways of seeing / listening / naming / honoring / celebrating / embodying). I am proud of how my passion for documenting dialogue - both documentation design and also participants' own hard work - has given thousands of participants back their own amazing words and shown back to them their own system, answers, resources, nutrient-rich unanswered questions, voices and discoveries - and helped them integrate their experiences after (a big rest and) their dialogic events.  I have learned so much about what is action, when to separate an event from post-event decision-making, and when the dialogue itself *is* the action. *Is* the change. And how change does not have to be seen by a facilitator to exist and to have an impact, in ways that many participants have told me about long after their events. Proud of being able to access such rich learning from some big mistakes or errors in understanding. And I am informed by the principles and law and trusting the people and the process being also ways of living life.  
> (No, I might not answer your questions about any of these things above for your own learning / comparing / contrasting to. Because I am way too  @$#@#&!%-ing  fatigued. Writing this email has taken me quite a lot of energy and many months to create. But if you have questions or wonderings, agreements, disagreements with or diverse experiences about any of the above, I invite you to give the gift of your exploration to this big circle here by wondering out loud: Post to this list and explore together.)
> I am proud of having helped raise and share resources, traditions, understanding, and access and inclusion for so many people from so many countries and cultures - people of so many seen and unseen diversities - who have sought to join our in-person tribal gatherings around the world. Proud of being and helping Poets Laureate. Proud of helping and mentoring those who courageously asked for help or ideas or ways of stepping in or speaking up or being seen. Delighted at repeating explorations of (for example) conversations in silence or in graphics or in movement - again and again across the years - to see what we think might hold true - or not - about some or all individuals or cultures around the world. Proud of finally making it to an okay level of ability in Spanish to be able to teach and laugh and explore in such a rich language and collection of cultures. Proud of engaging in conversation with so many of you on this list - those who speak, and also those who witness without speaking - about things with which we may or may not agree, do or not do the same, understand or do not understand in the same ways. Proud of our (and participants in my conferences, client work and workshops) collective exploration to struggle to articulate the complex, the unexplainable, the unnameable, and the unknowable, in our simple human languages. 
> I have conversations with so many of you, dear friends in my head - with each of us sipping a beverage-of-choice and looking out into the garden and talking about life. Or not talking, just sitting in rich nutritious silence together. And I love both those conversations and that shared silence. 
> For anyone worried (as we sometimes do when hearing about another's health issue), do not worry: Although I do not feel pleasant and sometimes feel worse, I am living a sweet life. I am very lucky, I love silence and have a quiet sweet home to live in, a very supportive wife, nobody else's rhythm or expectations to fit myself into, and some little creative projects-without-deadlines. For example I am sewing my first-ever quilt (blanket with patched-together fabrics and softness in-between), which began with fabric from my father's softest shirts. I am watching some incredible animals - including huge Bald Eagles in their nest and a great view. (Bald Eagles are huge - 1 meter / 6 feet long even before they spread their wings, and when any of the eggs make it to hatching, they have cute babies. Nocturnal animals such as flying squirrels and great horned owls visit the nest when the eagles are away, eagle couples sing and love each other up, and chat moderators share their vast knowledge for rich learning. And you can move the timeline back to enjoy the sunrise or sunset in your own time, complete with the sound of the stream below.)  Molly makes me cocktails ;o)  And I simply sit, in silence, doing nothing, for long periods of time. I often think about writing about this work that we do - so many stories and understandings and learnings and still-unexploreds to share. But I do not hold that tightly as it is not something my energy can include at this time. Who knows / be prepared to be surprised / whatever happens and all that.
> I read emails but may never reply - it is often more than I can do. You who love me know that I feel your love all the time. You also know that I feel loved even by people I have not yet met - people I will never know. That is how I am built. I feel lucky to have love and self-love, intuition, peace and imagination as my navigational system. I am a big spirit in a weak body, however / and I am doing very well. And because I am so amazing simply living my life with such a big challenge - and because I have been given the gifts of appreciation and being fully in the now - I have given myself a superhero name: STREAK (for those of you who do not have English as your home language, the meaning for this word I refer to is like a fast flash of movement). STRength in the face of wEAKness. (I wonder, dear reader, what would be the superhero name you would give *your* self?)
> A big abrazo / abraço / (air)hug to you, my friends. I am not going anywhere, and yet I am everywhere, and I feel seen and sometimes unseen, and I feel engaged and sometimes disengaged. I am prepared to be surprised and not attached to outcome, and whatever happens is the only thing that could have. Take very good care of yourselves, and each other. I now move back to my seat (or to standing behind my seat and swaying, as many of you have seen me do), as a witness in this big circle, 
> Lisa
> As I will be transitioning email addresses, thank you for sending emails now to lisaheft at gmail.com and removing openingspace.net from your contacts. 
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