Presence or something

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

Chris Corrigan quotes Harrison Owen talking about presence and Open Space. This is my favourite bit:

Presence is our way of being in the great circle(s) of life. This may be a grudging presence a distracted presence a frantic presence, or something approaching a full, intentional, appreciative presence in which the infinite possibilities (good and bad) of life are acknowledged and engaged. To a certain extent the nature of our presence is a matter of choice, but no matter the choices made or the constraints encountered there is always the possibility of an expanded presence in the great open circle of life. I think.

And Open Space Technology? For me every Open Space gathering becomes an opportunity to practice our presence, should we choose to do so. On the surface it will appear that important issues are raised, problems solved, plans made, organization grown, products designed. All important, and for most participants probably sufficient to meet expectations, or not. But beneath (above?) it all I experience a practice of presence – becoming more fully engaged with our selves, our fellows, and our world. Just living more intentionally in the great open circle of life. Or something.

I agree that Open Space, and facilitation generally, is almost all about presence. I share that sense that something goes on that is beyond the explicit discussions and action and I enjoyed Harrison’s description of the different kinds of presence we might experience.

I also like the way these paragraphs end with qualifiers (“I think” and “Or something”) I also find that presence is is the hardest thing to write about without sounding pretentious, or contradictory. The words can point to the idea of presence but can’t ever really capture it. Whenever I try to talk about I end up saying something like Harrison’s Or Something

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