As Marc’s conversation has unfolded at teh OSLIST, he dropped this lovely analogy about holding space into the mix today. Here’s what he does when people ask him why they pay him:
Usually I then refer to my memories living in West Africa. We mostly had a night watchman in our garden (in many ways the reason was also to give another person a job). They were always there, sitting under a tree, brewing tea and they were great to have a chat with – they knew everything that happened in the neighbourhood! But they never actually did something. And that was the point: you have a night watchmen BECAUSE YOU WANT THEM NOT HAVING ANYTHING TO DO and you have the great desire that they never ever will need to do anything – that was precisely the reason why you have (and paid!) them! They are “holding the night” – and your space to sleep free from worries. And you assume that their mere presence creates this safe space.That’s always how I understood – and explained – my role and the space that I hold as a facilitator. People (who have experienced African night watchmen) always understood…
This morning, I stumbled on a citation from a French philosopher and sociologist, Edgar Morin. It instantly brought your post to my mind.
Â«C’est toujours ce qui Ã©claire qui demeure dans l’ombre.Â»
Â«My personal approximative translation: It is always what illuminates that remains in the shadow.Â»
Still thinking about it….
I love those kinds of quotes…it’s the Taoist in me that responds to them.
Could another way of translating this quote be “Always, clarity lives in the shadow?” And the small connection of shadow and ghost is intriguing too.
The Tao te Ching says “Know the light but keep to the dark.” It has the added sense that getting that there is some fear and risk about that place…
And if we go to the first chapter of your Â«Tao of holding spaceÂ», we have:
Â«To hold space is to rest in the chaos that is
darkness; a darkness that represents a vast
field of unknown potential. It is this field
that you are inviting to hum. From this
field understanding will blossom, light will
emerge, possibilities will grow.Â»
… funny how these quotes can make us drive on unpaved roads!
Hey, Chris. I just had this idea of translating your book Â«Tao of holding spaceÂ» in french and publishing it on a blog. Your Creative Commons licence allows me to do it but I guess it is more polite to ask 😉 You are ok with this?
More than okay with that…go for it!
Great idea Jean-SÃ©bastien. A good way for Chris to practice french too! 😉
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