Creating a Community of Practice

In April, I co-hosted a two-day learning lab called Leading in Emergence. Designed for multi-sector leaders to explore, practice and apply current frames, competencies and practices for navigating the uneven and slippery terrain of complex emergence, our intention was to create a community of practice among the participants to continue what we began during those two remarkable days.

Etienne Wenger coined the phrase, “community of practice” and describes it as a group of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.

From personal experience, we know that to learn and lead from the emerging future, we need to engage in deep learning cycles that involve opening our minds, our hearts and our wills to be able to see, be and do in new and innovative ways. To facilitate this type of learning, as learners and leaders, we need, as Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer suggest, “practice fields”- those safe spaces in which we prototype new behaviours, new mindsets and new cultures of collaboration across sectors.

A commitment was made with the participants to gather on the last Wednesday of the month, to share the various hosting roles, in order to learn how to do this work better. Yesterday was our first day in our fledgling circle. Twelve of us were warmly welcomed and hosted. Here’s the poem I “caught” from our check-in. Thanks to Beth Sanders for showing me how:

Sweet delight when frustration shifts to grace crossing thresholds of the internal and external

With deliberate intention, a balance found dabbling in emergence

When not enough time makes me a slave to the internal

When on vacation, a simpler tension – the yin and yang of the meaning I make out of sensing the not paying attention to what impacts

To touch every surface – to be present

Let the games begin!

PS: Our next Leading in Emergence learning lab is November 6-7, 2014.  We’d love to have you join us.

How It Began

“Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life and wait there patiently until the song that is your life falls into your own cupped hands and you recognize and greet it.” — Martha Postlewaite

The idea for my new blog came into being very early one dark, winter morning, as I sipped my cream-laced americano, listening to my favourite radio program, CKUA’s The Road Home.  I heard Billy Collin’s poem, “This Much I Do Remember.”  It ambled along, evoking an easy familiarity, the male reader’s beautifully sonorous voice lightly holding my just-awakened attention. It grabbed my heart when I heard the line, “this was a moment I had rescued from millions.”  

In the months since, that image of  “a moment rescued” has become a poignant touchstone when juxtaposed with another line I came across, this one attributed to the Buddha: “The problem is, you think you have time.”

anjali-mudraIn one hand, a moment rescued.  In the other, the illusion of endless time.  Held together with me in the space between a prayer and anjali mudra.  Clearing away, letting go to let come, and months of waiting, I knew this was to become the title of my new blog.