It’s 11:30 and I’m about ready to tuck into bed. Through my open window I can hear the roar of the surf rolling on the beaches a mile away. The surf report says that the swells are coming in at 9 feet but are going to rise to 17.5 feet by tomorrow. The roar is deafening, but it is a sound that has been heard on these beaches from time immemorial. The Nuu-Chah-Nulth, upon whose territory I am working, have lived here as long as the sound of the waves has been heard, and they’ll be here until those waves stop.
And that’s the reason for this Art of Hosting – to introduce participatory leadership to people who are working in Nuu-Cha-Nulth communities up and down the coast ostensibly on marine use planning. We are using the framework of a set of traditional values based in the Nuu-Chah-Nulth prime directive: heshook ish tsawalk or “everything is one.” This principle of interdependence acknowledges that everything has a common origin and that our work in the world is to live according to several principles – basics you might call them – to be in accord with this natural law. We have chosen three of these principles to explore these days: he-xwa (balance), isaak (respect) and aphey (kindness). Today’s activities explored balance and looked at:
- The principle of tsawalk and the methodology for knowing the interior life of the world, called oosumich.
- Connecting oosumich as a way of knowing, to participatory meeting design, using a new take on Ken Wilber’s qnuadrants and my model of sustainability in communities of practice.
- Visiting the carving shed of Joe Martin, a well known Tla-o-qui-aht carver who dropped some good teachings on us about making canoes. The one that stood out for me was “we know the tree this canoe came from” which is to say that in an structure you have to know the source. Joe will not make a canoe out of a tree he has not seen standing, because he needs to know how it grew, where it’s weak points might be, which side faced the sun, how it lived with other trees and slopes and rocks. Only once he has understood the tree in its context can he cut it down and make a canoe out of it. The lesson here, is knowing source is everything.
- Doing a little Warrior of the Heart practice to discover something about balance and what it means to move from ground.
- Appreciative inquiry to connect to ground work and purpose in stories of health and abundance in communities and marine environments. We did a good long deep dive interview process, surfaced some powerful values and then entered into a dream phase but asking “If our work was to make the difference we wanted it to, what would our communities look like?” People drew systems diagrams, connecting the human and natural environments, the state of health of people, communities, ecosystems and economies. By the end of the day we closed with a breathing exercise, full to the brim with the almost sacred nature of this work.
Tomorrow we will dive into meeting and process design based on the principles of isaak meaning respect. The waves will get stronger, the new moon is coming, and something is feeling like it wants to be unleashed,