Hosting Conversations about Questions that Matter
Here is our second update from the Latin american World Cafe gathering in Sao Paulo Brasil!
As an introduction to this gathering Juanita shared a metaphor of how she experiences what happens at the world café and also some other social technologies such as open space, appreciative enquiry, art of hosting, presencing – Theory U etc. A garden in a colonial Latin American house, a central place that can be accessed from many different doors, something special happens in that central place, something that is not easy to understand or to define, something that could be considered as “magic”.
After dancing to “la bamba” in our morning ritual of sharing some traditional elements of our own countries, participants were invited to go out and find inspiration, metaphors, stories, objects that somehow could shed light on what it is that happens in that space in the center, that garden.
What is the garden? Not a description of the place, but a manifestation of the experience, that was the question that was offered as an invitation for the participants to better understand and signify the “magic in the garden”.
We were then invited to a couple of rounds of sharing and cross-pollination world cafe style, after that we all gathered in a circle with a beautiful drawing of a fountain in the middle (the kind you would find in the center of the garden of a colonial house) and all participants were invited to share their metaphors, these objects that helped them understand what happens in the garden in the first place, and in that nice circle we created a space for harvesting.
There were many different objects and stories, flowers, drawings, plants, a lovely plasticine tree, and creating a strong reaction and a lot of reflection, GARBAGE, because that too is our "creation" that too is what we as humans produce... How to learn from nature and not produce "garbage" but see everything as a resource, and how to be responsible for the consequences of what we do, even if unintended, were some of the reflections shared. The garden was experienced as different things, as a place where intent and connections take place, a place of emptiness that pulled for something new to happen. We acknowledged that we need the garden as much as it needs us, and that work, diversity, enthusiasm, responsibility, care and love needed to be present collectively for things to grow.
We then changed our focus was to Latin America, in groups of people from different countries we entered an exploration of “what is it that Latin America can offer the world today that the world needs?”
Words like “diversity”, “courage”, “happiness” and “irreverence” were mentioned, to finally arrive to the most beautiful image of Latin America and its people having the potential to become the bridge between mind and action. In a world where there is so much suffering and destruction created by so much direct connection of the mind and the hand without stopping at the heart, where some other cultures are so connected to their mind (western cultures) and some other with their hands and the doing (China), Latin America and its people could offer the world the ability to enter conversations and co-creation with the bless and the responsibility of being that important bridge, of bringing the heart into how we all together are co-creating our future and looking after our planet.
The external perspective is extremely valid, we don’t want to suffer from too much navel gazing here… So now is your turn, from what you know or have experienced of latin America, its people and its traditions, in your opinion “What is it that latin American can offer the world today that the world needs?”