Sharing personal stories through time creates the container for true learning

I drew this picture on a warm afternoon at the balcony of KaosPilot School in Århus, when we sat there with Benjamin, collecting the photographs, insights, key points of the process, the whole harvest from Art Of Hosting training in August 2010.

My question was different in the beginning than it is when we part. Looking inside the mirrors, being seen by you, through our travel in time together I learn about being a human being.

There is No Time!

In a few other groups, I have experienced a huge resistance towards any other meetings than those which are strictly related to decision making by intelligence and measurable facts. I named it “There is No Time!”. It can also be recognized from the words: “We must Do things! and “Achieve!”

I do know, that sharing experiences of personal growth, feelings or painful moments of your life is extremely rare in work organizations, but I wonder – where is all the learning then? Where are the moments we feel alive and fully present and learn to understand ourselves, others and the world better?

I think this is also a question of accountability and trust, especially on times of uncertainty and insecurity – if we’d know each others a little bit deeper, if we’d know the story behind and goals forward, open some of the mystery – then it would be easier to count on each other and the future ahead.

Time is there, always. The magic is in how we use it.

On a Personal Journey
As we walk through our lives, we are always on a personal growth journey. It is very delicate story, consisting of vast variety of small details, experiences and constellations. We meet challenges in our lives, which raise questions: Who am I? Where do I come from? What am I here to grow? What does this darkness mean? The learnings and capacities may evolve from these challenges. And as you know, often the plot of the story cannot be fully understood until the whole book is written.

Sharing the Story
By sharing what is moving inside of us, speaking from our own perspectives to the empty space in the middle, slowly we start to share an understanding of the deeper meaning of the words we use as symbols. We begin to sense the differences and nuances in the expression of each one of us, and thus carve symbols that have a special meaning for all of those who are present. Maybe even new words are born. When we meet again after years, we have a culture in common: we have shared a journey together.

A beautiful foundation for sharing is a circle, established as a safe space where all the participants are introduced and recognized as part of the group: this is we – let’s see who we are right now. Arranging space and time for the circle to meet in different phases of a process, creates “a vessel” through time, a container, holding the space open between participants. It holds and releases: the feelings, experiences, stories, questions. It opens a possibility to witness others and to be seen as who you are in your constantly changing vortex of energy.

As we learned in AoH Århus, holding this space requires both aspects of leadership from the hosts: warrior and the midwife: the fierce swordsman ready to defend the space and hold the aim, and a skilled helper, preparing the circumstances for what needs to be born. And as we learn to use these skills and expand ourselves to contain and sense others, the group is able to align itself naturally towards common goals.

True Learning
What do I mean with “true learning” then? I think true is something that lifts us, moves us so that the original challenge, question seems a little bit vague, and the new one is so vast that it makes your heart tremble. It may not be so easy to remember yourself in the stage of the first question, but once you have been seen, the memory of the group can send you back in time to see who you were then.

True learning can also mean “the great stories” the myths, the unchanged undercurrents, that we all human beings walk through in our lives. When we are able to speak our truth, and witness others – pattern breaking youth, established adults, wise elders and bright children – we can see a glimpse of the pure essence of a human being – we are able to recognize what connects us.

When we are moving again, ungrouped, in the world, the circle can be remembered as warm glow of fire in the back, the ability to empathize with other similar-yet-so-different human beings and cultures. And then it’s easier to understand and celebrate the diversity – the special gift each and every one of us is on this timeless journey.


2 thoughts on “Sharing personal stories through time creates the container for true learning

  1. Time is there, always. The magic is in how we use it.
    True learning, …timeless journey.

    Tanja, thank you so much for sharing! It’s beautiful to realize that it resonates a lot.

    I was co-organizing TEDxKyiv 3 times, and quite a few Hub Open Club meetings, and was involved in the unconference gatherings, and pecha-kucha time of talk, and other formats. But nothing attracts me so much as a dialogue with a true learning, in a circle, when it’s not prepared, but is happening and is being born on the way, witnessing it together, and not being afraid to go in the unplanned direction.

    Thanks for bringing it forward, and thanks for “There’s no time”)
    Lots of love

  2. Pingback: Tanja Korvenmaan kokemuksia AoH:sta | Art of Hosting – Suomi

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