Art of Hosting Blog BLOG POSTS

An Authentic Call

by Phil Cass February 27, 2016

Originally posted on the Confluence Unlimited website.

Many years ago I wrote a short piece on the Authentic Call and I was reminded of that recently when someone asked me if I was interested in calling a new training into our community. This was actually a quite logical ask, as I seem to be a serial caller of things (initiatives, organizations, trainings, academies, etc.).   It once again made me ponder the nature of the true authentic call, which I distinguish from just deciding to organize something. I remember writing back to the person that it seemed to me that they were the one feeling the real itch for the training and that they were likely the ones to realize this possibility more than if I took it up for them.

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A Gathering of Friends

by Phil Cass March 3, 2015

Dinner at our place, hanging out by the fire, let’s do lunch, a drink after work: these are often some of the sweetest times in our days. Sometimes they are planned and other times spontaneous. Sometimes they are quiet and sometimes raucous. Sometimes they are for serious conversations and sometimes they are for letting go.

What if we made these kinds of gatherings an intentional practice? Intentional in the sense of meeting regularly, at an agreed upon time, for an agreed upon duration, with an agreed upon purpose. What if we committed to each other to keep showing up? That we wouldn’t leave the group for a specified period of time, at least long enough to experience the best and the worst of each other. In these gatherings, we could practice being in authentic relationship with each other with our whole selves.

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Transforming Public Health in Nova Scotia with Participatory Leadership

by Michelle Murton November 29, 2011

Co-authored by Nicole Druhan-McGinn

We have begun a new journey in Nova Scotia, one that has challenged us to re-imagine, regenerate and reinvigorate our public health system. In December 2008, a group of practitioners and partners in public health from across the province began searching for new ways to bring people together to seek solutions that would benefit the public health system and improve the health of our population.

We recognized that to address the current challenges, we needed to tap into the wisdom of diverse stakeholders, and doing so required a different approach. One that fostered leadership, collective ownership, deep listening, and innovation. Our approach was rooted in participatory leadership, believing that change for the common good called for involvement, collective intelligence and co-creation to discover new solutions and wise actions. We invested in learning new ways of working together using participatory methods including Art of Hosting, Appreciative Inquiry, World Café and Theory U. We chose Theory U to guide our journey as it encouraged fresh ways of being and seeing the world and its opportunities, and uncovering solutions together. Read More »

Art of Hosting and Shaping the Future of Dentistry in Canada

by Marielle Pariseau November 29, 2011

When it comes to my own health, I have simple rules: work out hard three times per week, take an early morning walk in the woods with my dog every day, always look for meaning in my life, live and love as hard as I can, everything else in moderation. These simple rules take care of my physical, mental and spiritual well being. I’ve found that when I’m physically fit, I usually also feel mentally strong. Hard cardiovascular workouts have the ability to bring out brilliant ideas or sensible solutions to difficult problems.

I belong to a very mechanistic profession. I’m a dentist. Reduced to my simplest expression, I drill and fill teeth for a living. Not much meaning there… But because, like pediatricians and obstetricians, I see my patients more often than most other health professionals, I’m uniquely positioned to impact health. So a few years ago, somewhere between a meditative walk in the woods and a hard cardio workout, a wild dream was born: Shaping the Future of Dentistry. Read More »

At the Intersection of Power and Participation

by Chris Corrigan October 5, 2011

This blog comes to us from friend of The Berkana Institute and Art of Hosting practitioner, Chris Corrigan. It was originally published at on October 3, 2011.

Leaving New York today. It has been an incredible four days here working with my good friends Kelly McGowan and Tuesday Ryan-Hart and Lex Schroeder, Anistla Rugama, Alissa Schwartz, and Aswad Foster. We were running a workshop called the Art of Social Justice in which we were investigating the intersection of participatory process and social justice work. Over three days we explored a framework that Tuesday has developed and investigated with Kelly for the past year. The framework includes and transcends the gifts and drawbacks of traditional social justice frameworks and of what we know about participatory process.

Tuesday is writing a lot more about this, but the essence of the framework is that neither social justice analysis nor participatory process are enough on their own to move us into the new forms of leadership that are needed in a world where social inequity and power are becoming increasingly complex, and where traditional forms of organizing are no longer reflective of the interconnected nature of global society. Read More »

Hosting What? Consciousness, Wellness, Wholeness, Resonance

by Tenneson Woolf November 29, 2009

I was in Rosendale, New York in early November 2009 at the Lifebridge Sanctuary. With a co-hosting team of Nancy Fritsche Eagan, Martin Siesta, Silas Lusias, and Kelly McGowan, we were close to completing the third of three days for an Art of Hosting training. It was going well. We had just completed a lovely and deep circle hosted by participants. The weave of that group was feeling particularly close.

I’ve hosted Art of Hosting trainings now over many years: open enrollment trainings like the one in New York; client engagements also when there is a more specific purpose or strategy to be developed; hundreds of cafes, circles, appreciate approaches, and open space working groups. The simple know-how of any of these methods and others are really helpful skills. Read More »