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Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter

Once a month, I host a Facilitator Community of Practice for people who work with inner leadership development.  This month, our focus will be on Mindful Relationships.  I'm basing this, in part, on Daniel Seigel and Jack Kornfield's work. 

How have you used mindfulness in your facilitation work?

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Hi Christine ~
I love that you posted this topic. I've been very interested in Daniel Siegel and Jack Kornfield's work. Great stuff. Do you know anyone in Daniel Siegel's organization? Zelle and I are going to be in LA October 13-27 and would love to chat with someone there.

Our work with the State of Grace Document speaks volumes about mindfulness being an integral part of our lives. We often call creating a State of Grace Document (whether with ourselves or with others) "mindfulness meditation on a daily basis within our relationships."

As a collaboration process which helps build more resilient and creative business and personal relationships, it's really about consciously choosing the relationship container we want to create so that we're not victims of other people or the business at hand. When we consciously choose and then design what we're entering into, and pay attention to it along the way to make adjustments, we begin to see that stress or tension in the relationship is not about someone or something being wrong or bad. Tension can mean that it's time to re-design the relationship container to better fit the people and the work we're doing together, rather than seeing it as failure. That to me is the payoff of mindfulness. It's like the princess and the pea. When you know so much up front about yourself and the others you're in relationship with (Exchanging the "Blueprint of ME." Building the "Blueprint of WE."), you have the ability to pay attention at a different level. You notice the little signs before they become a big issue that takes up space in our minds and acts as a filter for other interactions.

When you create a State of Grace Document with yourself, which is with that little chatterbox voice in your head that can spiral you down or inspire you to greatness, it brings mindfulness to an internal state. When we experience mindfulness on that level, we show up as healthier facilitators who are able to hold space on a far deeper, more centered level.

I believe that the next evolution of leadership is about "holding possibility," rather than following the guru. Which is why everyone will be doing the dance of leader and follower on a moment by moment basis. But holding possibility also seems to require mindfulness, so that we can be fully aware of when we should be leading and when we'd be better off following. It's paying attention at a whole new level, but it makes the day-to-day interactions effortless and exhilarating!

What are your thoughts on mindful relationships???? I would love to hear about it!

with love,

Hi Maureen,

You and Zelle should be in LA about now. I'm sorry that I don't have any contacts in Dan Siegel's organization because your I know that your wonderful State of Grace Document would be of interest to them.

Thought you might be interested in the Mindfulness Keys I used to create the context for some experiential learning with the facilitators I'm working with...

Mindfulness Keys
Awareness of awareness
o Mindful awareness promotes coherence – a state of attunement
Attention to intention
o Intentions tie a given moment of life together, link actions in the present with actions of the immediate next moment, creating the underlying “glue” that directs attention, motivates action, and processes the nature of our reactions.
o If we attend to other’s intentions, we create interpersonal attunement
High Intention and High Attention
o Holding the highest intention means that we prepare fully, so that when we are in the moment with others, we can offer high attention to what emerges

I like your idea of not seeing tension in a relationship as something wrong but rather as a invitation to put on your design or collaboration thinking cap. Learning to maintain that level of mindfulness would seem to be a great asset for a facilitator or leader.

Your State of Grace document looks like it could be very useful for helping in this.

Thanks for sharing it.

Hi Christine -


I came across this video today on TedTalks and, although not about mindfulness, I thought it was related and just honest & beautiful.  It's by Brene Brown & is called the Power of Vulnerability.  Hope you enjoy it.



Hello Christine...from the banks of Lough Erne in Ireland...where, in tune with the seasonal energy,  I am hibernating through the dark winter months awaiting clearness on the very question you ask amongst other questions.

So I  like your question so very much.

Over this last year I have been asking myself and others many questions about the 'processes' and 'methods' we use in our hosting and facilitation. Having been a practitioner and advocate of OS, WC, FS, Ai, Circle and more for 10 years now I have observed myself become increasingly aware of these 'methods' as impediments to 'flow'. I sense that they can hold the group awareness (the field of knowing) in the shallows. This came to me very powerfully recently when in the course of a collaborative inquiry process with a group of Quakers, I received the comment that the 'process' got in the way of deepening discernment. Quakers know much about discernment processes as this is part of our tradition. So I paid attention...the resonance stayed with me and reminded me so much of the caution in "Dialogue, The Art of Thinking Together" by William Isaacs where Isaacs suggests this very thing. So this journey of reflection is bringing new perspectives on what these conversation processes that have been so much part of my life ...and what further evolution is being called for from them. That is what i am sitting with...

At the heart of this is the consciousness that the host or hosts bring(s) with them or embody...Mindfulness practice has been a day and daily part of my life for several years now...I think this practice has brought me to this new understanding...The "awareness of awareness" moment to moment is a powerful discipline...My own experience is that it is a life's journey to learn to live the practice of presence. It it certainly worth a life's work however, so profoundly does it illuminate our view of ourselves,of the interconnectedness of all of life and of this flow that is everywhere...part of which is the field of knowing... 

I have found it difficult to know quite how to express what i have just said. I hope it feels like an opening...I send it with that love. Cliodhna


Hello Cliodhna and others,

You write: "At the heart of this is the consciousness that the host or hosts bring(s) with them or embody..." I think this is realy true!

And the depth of experience for the participants can only be amplified if the host expand herself to be a part of a hosting team, that works exactly with this deep mindfullness or consciousness. That's what I learned over time. We use to say: it takes a field to host a field.

Also, the depth of 'deepening discernment' that the Quakers are looking for, I can only find it in the Circle Practice, where the hosts bring in this deep quality of awareness + are conscious of many layers and dimensions in our experience. And I think we have much to learn from the deep practice of the Quakers, how it was originally envisioned.

There is way more to say, but it is difficult to express in this online format. If you want, we can always talk more about this.

The sustenance of relationships is relating. Can you relate? I knew that you could.

Hi Christine and all, I am new here, but delighted about this group. I am very interested in the art of facilitation and building community through a creative Dialogue Process. Looking forward to learn and inquire with you and rest of the team here.



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