Sheila -- I can certainly understand your confusion! In my case, there is a
question that I constantly ask myself during an OS -- What do I need to do
for myself so that I can be fully present for the participants when needed?
For example, after the opening there is a high liklihood that I will be more
than a little pooped. I start early making preparations, and the opening
itself is a very high energy situation for me. When we get to that point
that all the participants are going to the Wall for sign-up and
negotiations, I really need a break, and of equal importantce, they don't
need me. And as a matter of fact, my physical presence can actually be a
detraction to the whole affair. If I am around (visably) folks might
reasonably expect me to "make some order out of the chaos." I know that I
can't do that, and more to the point, I shouldn't even try. And most
important -- the folks can and will create their own order -- which is what
self-organization and Open Space are all about. So I do leave the room --
and even take a nap.

I can understand that taking a nap may seem to be a complete cop-out and
derreliction of duty, but I don't think so. I have found that even when
sound asleep I am somehow in real "communication" with the group. Most often
I just sleep peacefully, but there have been occasions when I just "knew"
that my physical presence could be helpful. I have learned always to trust
the intuition and just follow my nose -- which always seems to take me to
the "right" place. Once there (whever there is) doing something is usually
beside the point, but really BEING THERE can be most helpful.

After a few more Open Spaces, you will discover that there is a more or less
predictable "flow" -- with long space/times when you can go and take care of
yourself. This is not selfish, but sensible, I think. If you are a wreck,
there is not much chance that you can be fully present when needed. This is
especially true in very high conflict situations. Most of the time, the
people will take care of themselves, but there are moments when you focused
presence can be critical. And you have to be in good shape to really pull
that off.


Harrison Owen
7808 River Falls Drive
Potomac, Maryland   20854
Phone 301-365-2093
Skype hhowen
Open Space Training 
Open Space Institute
Personal website 
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-----Original Message-----
From: OSLIST [] On Behalf Of Sheila
Sent: Saturday, October 14, 2006 6:22 PM
Subject: Re: marketplace

Hi there, 
I am an open space neophite so my questions must be taken with that in 
mind.  I confess that I am having trouble understanding the consistency 
between "leaving the room" only to return at the end of the session for 
evening news, and the necessity to "hold time and space".  Here, it 
appeared that the facilitator was to remain around but not visible - doing 
all those small tasks that keep the space safe and comfortable for those 
busy beavers working away in the breakout sessions?

Can you provide some further enlightenment - and encourage as I find the 
notion of leaving a hard one!  Call it the value for money proposition 
that I occassional face (albiet not in an OST environment) - e.g. "Sure am 
paying a lot of money and what are she really doing?  She isn't even in 
the room!"

I have more basic questions but will post these separately along with an 

Sheila Beauchemin
Victoria, BC Canada

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