Opening Space for Peace

This from Harrison Owen today on the OSLIST

You may remember that last year Michael Pannwitz and I had the privilege of Opening Space for the Congress of Imams and Rabbis in Seville. The occasion, as I reported, was more than a little exciting and definitely not according to whatever “Plan” I might have had. That said, the gathering was also profoundly moving and powerful for the two of us and, we believed, the participants as well – at least that is what we saw, and they said. Now almost a year later it was very nice to receive a note from an advisor to the King of Jordan and sometime Ambassador to the UN, which said in part,” It was wonderful in Seville and the great role you played changed the entire atmosphere, into what turned out lively, warm and cordial.”

Had the event been only another community/corporate gathering, the words would have seemed nice but not particularly significant. But that event was filled with virtually every conflict and tension imaginable – and at points seemed quite ready to fly into a million pieces. The shift from catastrophe (as some were calling it) into “lively, warm and cordial” was, to put it mildly, mind blowing, and confirmed once again, if confirmation was needed that opening space for peace can be very effective. And of course, the real heroes were not Michael, me or Open Space. The people did it all by themselves, as usual. Once they had the space to become what they already were – a vibrant self-organizing system searching for peace with themselves and their world, nothing else was needed.

As we sit at the edge of 2007 watching the so called “world powers/leaders” going in circles, seeking to control events and the lives of others with disastrous results, I find the experience of Seville to be nothing short of uplifting. To be sure we could all blow it this time around, but there is an alternative. It is also true, I think, that we in this funny little online community have a lot of work to do.

For the longer story of what happened in Seville, see here and here.