Thursday, June 25, 2009

Shambhala ALIA Institute 2009 - Day Four

Another full and amazing day at ALIA. I missed meditation this morning because there was a bunch of us in a great conversation about everything and nothing - what to see in NS, education, fishing, we were all over the place - very cool people :-).

The module session principle today was ? (or the principle formerly known as ? with apologies to Prince :-)). The practice of asking questions. I was in my glory :-) - I LOVE questions :-). One of the first things we talked about was what makes a powerful question? Here's the list:
  • Simple & Clear
  • Thought Provoking
  • Generates Energy
  • Focuses Inquiry
  • Challenges Assumptions
  • Creates New Possibility
  • Evokes More Questions
  • Fearlessness (came from the group)
Also came to the conclusion that when hosting or facilitating don't work alone, work with all - helps with the hard questions and avoids ego. We then did a neat exercise around elder, adult, and younger - what kinds of questions do each of the groups ask - very cool - at the end could have switched the title of the Younger questions sheet to Elder and they would have been relevant (if you think about that explains the close relationships many of us have jad with grandparents and why your kids may get along so well with their grandparents - they ask the same questions :-)) - very cool.

I took pictures of the sheets and will get them up on Flickr this weekend. Questions should change and shift and cause more questions. I got a lot of value from talking about questions - and again silence came up as a good tool for use with questions - key I have found with questions is that in many cases it's not the answer that is important, it's the next question, and the one after that that gets everyone engaged in the journey...

We then did an open spaces exercise - would love to try one at the College - I see some real practical uses for the technique to get learners and others involved in solving problems and making issues their own. I love the principles of Open Spaces:
  • Whoever comes are the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • When it starts is the right time
  • When it's over, it's over
The Law of Two Feet - when you don't like it use your two feet and leave :-). Lots of great open space resources at Chris Corrigan's Web site - (in fact check out his whole site along with those of Tim Merry and Barbara Bash - all are simply awesome and very useful).

The afternoon session was our second calligraphy session with Barbara - we got big brushes and ink today! :-). Drew four different characters and all done in silence - a very spiritual, relaxing, connected, wonderful, anxious, amazing experience - felt like you were in a relationship with the brush (sometimes you drew what you wanted and sometimes the brush drew what it wanted :-))- so relaxing - I may have to investigate further. Hmmm...

BTW I have been saying "Heaven, Heart, Human" all week and it's actually "Heaven, Earth, Human" - that's OK because my Heart is my Earth - my grounding, and my centre - it's a very neat and spiritual way to look at things...

Last session was a world cafe on what we can do about the world and wealth and community etc. - actual solutions to problems. Run simultaneously in three places - at ALIA, in Second Life, and on Skype (I'm a big fan of both - been in Second Life (SL) for over 3 years - I'm hondomac Dalgleish in SL , and I've had a Skype account even longer - no more long distance charges...). I thought they might have better integrated them all with voice, but they just read the transcripts from SL and Skype - a good start though, and proof that you can use virtual worlds and other technologies to connect with people. Next step would be live interaction between the three technologies to have one slightly larger world, complete with two-way voice and video - the technology exists to do that now...

Here's a look at the world cafe, Second Life style...

Many thanks to LoriVonne Lustre (in SL) for the postcard. If you are ever in Second Life, track down LoriVonne - she will greatly enhance your SL experience...

The week is drawing to a close, but I think much of my learning is just beginning - there has been a lot of great information and discussion this week - now the distilling, reflecting and actual using of those principles, tools, and techniques that work for my situations begins. Welcome to the end of the beginning. Hmmm...

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