Thursday, August 27, 2009

Training in Tucson October 9 on Facilitating with Open Space Technology and World Cafe

Facilitating Whole System Methods:The World Café and Open Space Technology

When? October 9, 2009, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Where? The University of Arizona, Tucson AZ

This training is designed for consultants, facilitators, and anyone interested in learning about facilitating whole system methods.

Topics Covered:

• The common principles of Whole System Methods
• How Whole System Methods align with recent research on how the brain works and strengths based approaches to change
• The benefits of using Whole System Methods such as The World Café and Open Space Technology
• How you can use Whole System Methods for both strategic and action planning
• How to craft invitational and appreciative questions

Participants will have opportunities for hands-on practice in: facilitating, writing strengths based questions, developing agendas, selecting methods, and more.

Faculty: Sarah Griffiths and Cassandra O’Neill, Wholonomy Consulting llc

Sarah and Cassandra have facilitated using these methods and conducted trainings with a wide variety of organizations, including staff and volunteers from the United Way of Southern Arizona, Arizona Early Education Funded Regional Partnerships, First Focus on Kids, Girls Inc. of Southern Arizona, Pinal Gila Community Child Services, Inc, and grantees and staff from several Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) funded programs.

What participants have told us about their experiences learning these methods:

“A highlight for me was learning new skills and techniques from everyone in the training including the processes of Open Space and World Café in theory and practice.”

“ Participating in the Open Space Process was a highlight for me, and seeing the beauty of a flexible process within a structured process.”

“I feel newly inspired around positive meeting processes! I have the tools for better planning that will lead to broader and creative thinking (and the scientific links to the why!)”

Registration Form

Name ________________________________________________________________

Organization ___________________________________________________________

Address ___________________________________

City/State/Zip ______________

Phone ________________________

Email ________________________________

WHEN: Friday October 9, 2009 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm – Registration at 8:30 am

WHERE: The training will be held at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ in the El Portal, Saguaro Room 510 N. Highland
(link to campus map:

Pay parking available at the 6th Street Garage (west of El Portal and “Highland Commons” Buildings)

TUITION: $99 – Early Bird Registration by September 21, 2009 – The price is $129 if registration is after September 21. The cost of registration does not include lunch.

Please make check payable to and send with registration form to:
Wholonomy Consulting LLC
PO Box 42035
Tucson, AZ 85733
Registrations may be faxed to: (520) 844-3251

More about Whole System Methods:
Open Space Technology - This method is an alternative to traditional meeting and conference formats which encourages creativity, generates enthusiasm, and produces extraordinary results. People self-organize to discuss what is most important to them and generate action towards the results they want. For more information go to:

World Café - This method is based upon the discovery that by combining a welcoming space and physical environment that resembles a café with questions that matter -- you promote authentic conversations among people which propel organizations forward. Questions are posed to groups for discussion with participants moving from table to table while a host stays behind to cross pollinate discussions. For more information about the World Café go to:

There are a limited number of partial scholarships available.

Questions please contact:
Cassandra O’Neill (520) 403-0687

Monday, August 24, 2009

Daily Practice of Purifying Mistakes

In Thubten Chodron's book Working with Anger, there is a section on Anger at Ourselves. In this section, there is a description of a 4 step process that can be used daily to purify mistakes. The full description is on pages 130-131, here is a summary.

The first step - review our actions and genuinely regret those that harmed others or ourselves.

She talks about regret being different from guilt. Regret arises from accurately assessing our actions, while guilt is a form of self-hatred. This is a very important distinction.

The second step - Regret leads us to determine not to act destructively again. You can set a reasonable period of time to be mindful and not engage in those (harmful) actions.

The third step - Make amends to those whom we have harmed or towards whom we have had negative attitudes or feelings. In the case of other sentient beings, we develop love, compassion, and the altruistic intention to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all. This counteracts the force of our previous negative intentions.

The best way of making amends is through transforming our attitude, letting go of any hostility or other destructive emotion we may still harbor towards another person. If the person wants to receive help or communication from us, we can apologize and compensate for any physical damage.

The fourth step - Walk the Talk. Remedial action can be taken, suggestions of community service, volunteer work, service work, meditation, or religious practice such as bowing, reciting prayers and mantras, and meditating are suggestions.

This practice can help us avoid "stockpiling" negative feelings and lays the foundation for a happy mind.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

5 stages of healing

If you are interested in learning more about the 5 stages of healing in NIA dance - embryonic, creeping, crawling, standing, and walking.... check out this blog post and video. Thanks to Holly for sharing this.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cultural Humility

Last week I co-facilitated a session on Cultural Competency with Raquel Gutierrez for the SLHI HNK Consultants Community of Practice. I’ve been thinking about the issue a lot for the last few weeks between preparing for the session, being greeted with enthusiasm and interest from our colleagues during the session, and reflecting after the session.

We invited the community to use the blog to write about the issues that came up during the session. I decided to start it off.

One of the ideas that people really liked was the concept of cultural humility. This is written about on the Partnerships For Older Adults Web Page. They talk about the distinction between cultural competency and cultural humility. Here is what they have to say about cultural humility in community partnerships.
“Cultural Humility in Community Partnerships

Consider this example of cultural humility in action: at a partnership meeting, a member might see an older African-American man walk in. She might identify and try to understand the older gentleman from a racial or cultural perspective. However, this man might think of himself as a retired teacher, a deacon in his church or another kind of community leader, or as a caregiver to an ailing sister or troubled grandchild. By approaching every person with cultural humility, the partnership member will be better able to understand how this man feels about different aspects of the partnership, and where his feelings, opinions and concerns come from.

This approach (Cultural Humility) eliminates the need for every person in the partnership to master knowledge of group values and beliefs for every racial, ethnic and cultural component of the community. It calls for an attitude of openness to receiving new information and new perspectives on a regular basis.

A partnership leader observing this situation might practice an attitude of openness by:
• including time in the partnership meeting for all participants to share how their personal experiences and values are relevant to the issues at hand;
• seeking opportunities to speak one-to-one with the elder African-American community leader about his goals and concerns in remaining active in the partnership;
• building a working collaboration with professionals of color in the partnership in thinking of ways to maximize the participation of all elders who come to meetings; and
• taking a minute to notice her own response to the older gentleman mentioned above, exploring the actual information he has as the basis for his feelings.

An attitude of openness is demonstrated by the internal process an individual is willing to go through, how this is expressed to others, and careful attention to the organization and content of partnership events.”
If you want to read more click on the following link.

This concept of cultural humility spurred some great discussions in our Community of Practice, about how cultural humility could be useful in all situations -- not just when we think we are going to be interacting with someone or a group that is “different” from us.

I often use a set of Zen cards by Daniel Levin with groups. The Humility Card has this wisdom – The way of the earth is to empty that which is full. And fill that which is empty. True humility brings great fortune.

When I first read this, I wasn’t quite sure what it meant. As time went on, I began to think that the message from this card was to be open. To approach people from a position of openness allows learning to take place.

This reminds me of the concept of the beginners mind. If we bring a beginners mind to our work, we are open to learning. What if the best results are only possible if we as consultants collaborate with our clients -- by joining our knowledge with theirs through cultural humility. Would this then transcend from cultural humility to a culture of humility?

In the new book Embracing Cultural Competency A Roadmap for Nonprofit Capacity Builders recently published by the Alliance for Nonprofit Management and Fieldstone Alliance, there is a story about an Asian American woman who brought a different interpretation of leadership to her work. At first her leadership was not understood and was judged to be “poor” leadership. When she articulated the value of her leadership to her boss and employees – people began to understand things differently. One of her leadership strengths was humility. What do you think?

Cassandra at