Harvest: Reflection on Hosting Ourselves

It was a common refrain through two trainings I’ve participated in this year: Process Work, where our lovely teacher eloquently decreed that we have to work on ourselves first: “Cause our shit is going to come out when we’re working with a group, whether we want it to or not.” Then last week  during the Art of Hosting, with the similar mantra that in order to host others, we must first be able to host ourselves.

And unlike the first learning experience, where there were varying degrees of comfort in embracing the work we could do on ourselves, I felt our Art of Hosting group more readily and more deeply embodied that approach. I can’t offer a true meta harvest on this but I will share shades of my own experience and hope that others will contribute.

As I reflect back, the space to go deep began when reading the logistics of our retreat. Held at a spot conducive to introspection, Rivendell on Bowen Island, we were encouraged to unplug for our four days and observe the daily sacred silent hour. These logistics segued into shared accommodations, communal eating and hosted morning/evening practices, which facilitated an intimacy amongst our group. With these foundations in place we were readied to host ourselves.

Through everything we did, from Circle to Open Space to exploring Berkana’s two loops, we danced along that continuum of hosting ourselves and hosting others. We could go from looking outside-in at a system as it changed to plotting ourselves on that very same system, asking why we were there and what the system’s change needed from us.

This culminated one morning as we delved into Byron Katie’s The Work. After we observed an inspiring and vulnerable example it was time for us to tackle one of our own fears or beliefs. Working with my partner revealed insights and old demons thought long banished. And when I returned to eat lunch with the others similar experiences were shared- different demons, of course, but accompanied by a sense of freedom and unveiling, with new ah-has unlocking as the day continued. This was a group truly committed to exploring themselves so they could fully and completely host space for others. I’m honoured to have shared in that experience and hope others from that Bowen Island retreat will add their perspective.

What have you done to host yourself so that you may host others?