January 9. We’ve just finished the second day of preparation for a three-day Art of Hosting training to be offered to more than 100 participants. Though the training officially begins tomorrow morning, the learning has already been intense for our team of local organizers.  “Intense, joyful and nourishing” are the words I just shared on Facebook and Twitter.

We started this process nine months ago – an appropriate amount of time, it seems. It feels as if we’ve gestated something together and are in the process of giving birth to it. There were potent, creative forces at work.

The ten of us have been meeting every few weeks for these many months, with emails and Skype calls in between. We used this time to clarify our purpose, to craft the invitation and to plan the major logistics. And yet, after all these months of meetings and conversations, we started the day yesterday with absolutely no agenda for the three days, and more questions than answers.

This was not an irresponsible lack of planning. We were “apprentices,” waiting for Toke Møller, Chris Corrigan and Tuesday Ryan-Hart, the international team of master teachers, to arrive yesterday – two days before the event – and guide us through the design process. This situation caused no small amount of anxiety. But it was balanced by trust both in those teachers and in the processes of the Art of Hosting.

And now, at the end of those two days, it seems clear that it couldn’t have been any other way. Our team of master teachers and apprentices is now deeply present to each other and our shared purpose, and this will support us powerfully in the days ahead. The design process unfolded naturally, beautifully. And even as the plan for the three days contains dizzying complexity, we’re ready.

What is fascinating is that each of these two days had a particular energy. The first day was the feminine, the womb, the hosting energy. It was a day of convergence. Most of our time was spent together in circle. And our work focused on tending “the field” – the relationships and rhythms of our group that enabled us to be strongly in community – in “common unity.” Tuesday kept remarking that we’d done such good work building the field before they arrived. And we felt it – an ease in being together, a strong trust in each other, a shared understanding of what needed to be done and what each of us brought. That had been the real work of the past nine months. And as a result, it was easy for the three of them to integrate. We were ready to receive them.

The second day was the masculine, the will, the harvesting energy. It was a day of decisions and discernment. Of divergence, as we divided to conquer. We split into different groups to tackle different challenges, but as Toke said, “the circle is always with us.” Again, we were reminded how important it was to take those months and the previous day to strengthen the field. With that foundation, we could trust those in other groups to make the right decisions.

Now, I’m curious to see how these energies of womb and will, of hosting and harvesting will be present over the next three days. Potent, creative forces indeed.

[Read the next in this series, AOH Montreal: A Well-Oiled Organism]

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