Hospitality, Do-Cracy, Power and Safety

During the next Learning Village in Sveaborg I will explore the themes of hospitality, safety and power structures. You are welcome to join me on the journey to explore these mysteries!

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– HOSPITALITY; the relationship between people, and the practice of being hospitable. What make us feel welcome? What have we learned and what could we still learn from our ancestors and from cultures which foster traditions of hospitality?

– Do-CRACY; what helps us to take action and be the change we need and want to see around us? What is needed to give room for positive activism in organizations, communities and other groups? How is do-cracy related to co-learning, co-sensing, co-acting and being together?

– POWER; are we aware of the hidden power structures in communities, organizations, politics, etc.? What kind of power structures and control mechanisms are useful for the whole and what would help us to let go of stifling unnecessary dysfunctional practices and structures?

– LIBERATING STRUCTURES; what can we learn about rules and principles governing our everyday interactions and life in human systems? What are the minimal structures that help us create great organizations and better life for each and everyone of us?

– SAFETY; what make us feel safe and how to foster conditions for safety. What kind of structures and practices help us maintain safety? How to deal with personal fears and shadows in group context?

Welcome to the next Learning Village to join me on the journey of exploration!

with love,
Jan-Erik Tarpila

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Jumping in the cold sea water – by Felix Moser

Jumping in the cold sea water

my personal experiences in Suomenlinna

– by Felix Moser –

 funny how the professional in communication encounters a spiritual experience, and the spiritual traveller meets a professional space to engage in the field of communication

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circle holds it – Suomenlinna hosted – we did it

thanks Kirsi, yes I too have the experience we created a living circle – of healing, co-creating, community and of individual growth

16779088678_fb531a957a_khow I ended up there

following a trail of coincidences -meeting people, like Wilma and committing in shared growth, like Rainer, Lena and engaging with art of hosting in Graz, being invited on short notice “why don’t you come with us to helsinki…?” I came to the island.

lv-male-rowart of hosting I reported my former spouse, with the words “I think I eventually came to meet people who found a way of making the spirit of talking stick approachable for us white sisters and brothers.”

thus learning village with such a calling question had me travel with the intention of contributing the best way I can in creating the next steps towards living circle. That we were bound to succeed fully and without exaltation – as we did, bonding and joining, healing and growing, moving up the spiral of potential for viable communities, and that with science, arts, economics, foodstuffs, dancing, historical and spiritual things complementing each other – yes, quite an experience.

anxiety and naivety

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so I arrived with the hosting group the very first day, taking up the invitation to engage freely without any worries about providing structure, safe space for others – I felt great, welcome and safe with everything that had been prepared and the people I met.

oh, and it was so much fun just picking up work as I saw fit to contribute, knowing others would care for the things I didn’t. wasn’t that the lv-experience, and me meeting all those professionals who knew about lv, I was sure – they knew that’s a safe way to operate, there’d be an appropriate summoning of skills among those pros, to match the needs of participants – me being able to peek into background work in this beautifully transparent and open design, but being a participant and a welcome additional resource

only the closing days I realized, this had been quite an experiment for many of you – lucky I am, being part of it.

16344353474_e2049b0df8_kI have been working with traumatized people – both “normal” and with an individual focus of their spirit on reality, done bodywork and schooled my perception. So I immediately realized the emotional distress of feeling the moving sea around me all the time and looking out into the vastness of the sea and flat lands without the secure back or node of a even a single mountain.

I mentioned so in the circle, but otherwise focused on people, spaces and emerging possibilities of learning and contributing. I kept busy. Wilma, asking for my support in her “outing” a seeress among new folks, made me jump into sharing and offering my spiritual side freely – as I am not used to. Not in professional life, not in social life – only among the greater circle of my spirit family who share the notion of a living and communicating universe – many of my friends know me well enough, but wouldn’t agree.

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I came eager to learn on the field of communication, coaching, hosting etc. – trying out, finding out, getting an I idea – if, how I, with my experiences and skills, could maybe take steps towards working with groups or projects like that too. Never done that before – well no, called in an international queer youth meeting in my early twenties, engaging in grassroots politics – being left alone by my fellow activists and failing in every single step of organization – I really fucked that one up (while the participants I was told later were fucking around – at least they were having a great time).

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must have been that day of emotional escalation, no the evening before that – I caught up with reality, that me acting the way I did, was felt strongly by many, stirring interest, making me feel queasy. First that feeling then, finally getting it, “hey I am doing design for spaces, raising my voice in circle, doing healing work, etc. – having impact on people, I cannot steal around that – I have to start giving, like directly offer what I can give, and stop pretending it’s got nothing to do with me, before I choke on that.

16792617889_1138a27ff2_zso I called my workshop in open space, and there were like so many people, and yeahh – it was great. And there was pro-action cafe with Rainer – inviting me to co-host – must have been the same day, at least it feels like that. Being myself fully immersed in that energy of “poder” (“making meaningful use of personal power, while being respectfully aware and in communication with other and the group as a whole” … sth. like that…) – I found myself in a task, asking for qualities that are at home somewhere on the opposite side of the circle. Moving in the field held by Rainer I saw how I did not manage to balance these complementing energies, yin and yang did not gracefully move with each other.

then the circle with the groan – zone, or how was it called. I should hold the circle, holding the bells, then Wilma asking me to introduce a hooponopono for the group, which felt in the position I found myself completely inappropriate, to offer a spiritual healing ceremony, while the issue brought up was systemic and on underlying power structure.16976807795_33461cbab1_z 16977467062_9b4a015c20_z

somehow that was done by some like a constellation, parallel to the ongoing dispute – and attempts of resolve, while not a single person was willing to leave, matters being unresolved. Me neither, taking myself back, then realizing, though I did not feel personally involved in conflict, my triggers being pushed – I felt so emotional I could not sincerely hold circle, I gave back the bells and left the room.16792618659_627c747c97_z

got coffee, relaxed a little, came back, left, came back, sat down – and then completely out of factional context had an emotional outburst, literally without thinking grabbed the bells – once more blowing into a conflict, actually just being settled this very moment – provoking tears and anger.

I did not feel guilty. Sorry, when I got the picture over the course of the evening – piece by piece – of how terrifically out of place I had been. Amazing how the groan zone energies dissolved, thankful for the chance to apologize and clear things up, beautiful to find a new day with strengthened relations and new bonds coming out of that experience …

16789883567_439f1f5aed_zteaching and healing

… aware of something to learn. How to be responsible in community on a transpersonal level – the best teachers at hand, giving me first insight, before I even knew what I was working on. Thank you Jan-Erik, Nancy, Martin, Amanda, Rainer for your non-invasive input (is that appropriate terminology?) – there must have been more teachings I’m not yet aware of. Thank you all who were there for staying true to the circle, and holding the poise of assuming best intent by each individual – thank you for holding me.cropped-p9094605_header.jpg

… aware of having followed through on an impulse of fear, using the resource I had offered to teach people, turning the beautiful connection to my animal instinct into a weapon. Luckily, there was not much resonance to my fear, a little uneasiness on some parts, but basically community being strong enough to hardly even tremble – on the contrary, using the energy of my onslaught turning it into something useful for all, by means of many well meaning perspectives offered by different individuals. (And that’s only the small slice of my experience in that complex event.)

so I was free and safe, still, to ask spirit about that fear and for healing. Which I found in Sauna, actually with the circle of people there. Everyone talking about jumping into the cold water of the sea after sweating – my initial anxiety turned into fear. I stated I would not

Lena bringing up the subject of sweat lodge, a lot of information on traditional finnish sauna, being a place for birth, community and of goodbye to the deceased being offered – my fear started to become more and more physically tangible, moving down the steps in the sauna becoming intent on going through that, while taking precautions not to faint, cramp or show to much tremor – I shared my feelings, shared sweat lodge experiences, and sang the song of pacha mama…

16354420624_7a4cc85e03_z…I decided to jump into the cold and wide and deep and utterly scary dark water of the sea. Isn’t she the womb of my mother, the earth. Viola sang the song of old mader jord, the vibration weaving around my inner tremor like comforting bands of white linen, I asked for help, to give me support when diving into the cold – walking towards the shore, the landscape moving around me as if I was on a swaying ship, Niilo was reciting the litany of facing fear for me (from “Dune” by the “Bene Gesserit”), thus helping me to focus.

I went in to the knees and came out again, my legs were burning from the cold – consolations and encouragements – I went again and this time I did it, dived in. And stepped out being reborn. A true sweat lodge experience, ceremony being called up not by ritual, but by shared spirit of community. My Thanks and Gratefulness and Appreciation to all of you.

how I start from there

the professional, social and spiritual realms of my experience showed as a whole, not needing to be separated – but me, as an individual being welcome in all my aspects, strength, weakness and vulnerability.

Jumping into the water of life, society, the professional world – showing myself, all that I have grown to be – that was what that fear had kept me from. Now as a small child, I am learning to walk…

16950805606_0d0a12f5a6_k…nurturing the new connections, trying out new fields of working, learning from my peers, following the beautiful unfolding of life, watching out for what might emerge – offering my skills, taking chances, making use of opportunities.

Elselien has agreed to do some coaching for me, making sense of where I stand, orient myself and finding new steps in reasonable reach. I’m looking forward to the workshop Rainer called, doing some real work, and learning.

Wyn from New Zealand and Jörg will be calling for an Marae – experience in Austria, hope it will be at Franz and Waltraud’s place. (still have to tell them about my Marae experience in Suomenlinna).

And I think I will offer workshops myself at Obenaus in summer, since Lena and Rainer casually informed and invited me – I’ve learned, it’s up to me to take up the ball – and take myself seriously.

You only learn what you teach – it is said – I find that to be very true, 😉 Olivier.

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…and who knows
what else might come up.

My willingness has been awakened – thanks to You – fellow villagers.

– Felix Moser –

Photos by Irmeli Aro and Jan-Erik Tarpila

Little boy – can we?

Can we help each others to host the space and give room for self-expression, creativity, autonomy and activism? Can we host space without taking space, but giving space? Can we help people be their best selves and include them?  Can we invite people to be part of the community and their life and to co-host, co-learn and co-create? Can we love ourselves and others as we are?

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Once a little boy went to school.
He was quite a little boy
And it was quite a big school.
But when the little boy
Found that he could go to his room
By walking right in from the door outside
He was happy;
And the school did not seem
Quite so big anymore.

One morning
When the little boy had been in school awhile,
The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
He liked to make all kinds;
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats;
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said, “Wait!”
“It is not time to begin!”
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
“Now,” said the teacher,
“We are going to make flowers.”
“Good!” thought the little boy,
He liked to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.
But the teacher said “Wait!”
“And I will show you how.”
And it was red, with a green stem.
“There,” said the teacher,
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at his teacher’s flower
Then he looked at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than the teacher’s
But he did not say this.
He just turned his paper over,
And made a flower like the teacher’s.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day
When the little boy had opened
The door from the outside all by himself,
The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make something with clay.”
“Good!” thought the little boy;
He liked clay.
He could make all kinds of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice,
Cars and trucks
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.

But the teacher said, “Wait!”
“It is not time to begin!”
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
“Now,” said the teacher,
“We are going to make a dish.”
“Good!” thought the little boy,
He liked to make dishes.
And he began to make some
That were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said “Wait!”
“And I will show you how.”
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
“There,” said the teacher,
“Now you may begin.”

The little boy looked at the teacher’s dish;
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his better than the teacher’s
But he did not say this.
He just rolled his clay into a big ball again
And made a dish like the teacher’s.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait,
And to watch
And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn’t make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house,
In another city,
And the little boy
Had to go to another school.
This school was even bigger
Than the other one.
And there was no door from the outside
Into his room.
He had to go up some big steps
And walk down a long hall
To get to his room.

And the very first day
He was there,
The teacher said:
“Today we are going to make a picture.”
“Good!” thought the little boy.
And he waited for the teacher
To tell what to do.
But the teacher didn’t say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy
She asked, “Don’t you want to make a picture?”
“Yes,” said the little boy.
“What are we going to make?”
“I don’t know until you make it,” said the teacher.
“How shall I make it?” asked the little boy.
“Why, anyway you like,” said the teacher.
“And any color?” asked the little boy.
“Any color,” said the teacher.
“If everyone made the same picture,
And used the same colors,
How would I know who made what,
And which was which?”
“I don’t know,” said the little boy.
And he began to make a red flower, with a green stem.


If you recognize yourself in any of the roles in the story, I’d like to leave you with some questions to ponder.

Each and everyone of us might have been in the role of the little boy in some narratives and stages of life. Many of us walk the long distance to become teachers, leaders, hosts or become authorities in various other roles and positions.

When we are hosting, how do we know what we take for granted? What are our red flowers? If we feel we are responsible and experienced, we might think we know what is good for others and the group and start to make decisions on behalf of others. We want to help people draw red flowers in a proper way. In order to make this justified and manageable we start to subgroup people based on experience, position or based on other suitable factors. Some get the label of a participant, newcomer or apprentice and some are called designers, hosts or whatever. While doing this we might be excluding, passivizing and patronizing people who would and could be useful in many ways and make many beautiful colorful pictures.

When we make decisions and take responsibility on behalf of others without including them in the process or without their seal of approval, we might find ourselves in circles with people drawing red flowers with a green stem. We might also find ourselves in circles where people want to break and escape the circle in order to make all kind of pictures. When the outcomes are not the ones we anticipated even if we have acted in good will, we get confused.

How do we deal with our own insecurity and burden of responsibility to manage others in time of confusion? Do we fight by taking more control? While fighting and trying to help others and protect ourselves we are in risk of finding ourselves unintentionally sub-grouping and scapegoating. Or perhaps we escape and exclude ourselves. Some might freeze and start the painful dance with the shadows?

How can we help each others to host the space and give room for self-expression, creativity, autonomy and activism? How can we host space without taking space, but giving space? How can we help people be their best selves and include them?  How can we invite people to be part of the community and their life and to co-host, co-learn and co-create? How can we love ourselves and others as we are?

with love,
Jan-Erik Tarpila

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