Wednesday I returned from 4 days in Slovenia, attending a conference/course/seminar on “The art of hosting”. Hosting is any activity, where you invite people to participate in a project, process, meeting, conversation etc. Being a host has some common characteristics, regardless of the type of activity or the people attending, and we explored the techniques, principles and values of good hosting.
The training itself was fine, but it mainly served to convince me, that I’m already a good host, and didn’t yield any earth shattering insights.
Instead, the high points were the people and the sorroundings. It took place at Castle Borl, an ancient and quite run-down castle in Slovenia (near the town of Ptuj), and the castle is simply marvellous. The castle is set in some very nice nature with a river, hills, mountains and forests near by. It’s huge and quirky and alive in itself. Also, it’s been used for many artistic gatherings over the last few years, so every time you turn a corner, you may find some beautiful or weird piece of art. But most of all, the castle gave me a sense of history and time. Of being connected to the past.
We were around 30 people present, and the atmosphere of the entire trainging was very nice. The whole thing was oranized in Open Space, and this showed me once again (as if I needed telling), that when people are given the space to be themselves, everybody has huge contributions to give. It was nice to belong to such a caring, giving community, even if it was only for a few days. I now have friends in Bratislava, Zagreb, Amsterdam, Padua, Budapest and many other places.
If you’d like to experience that kind of atmosphere for yourself, you might consider attending the learning village in july. The learning village is basically a week spent in Open Space, where everybody contributes whatever they’d like to the total experience. I haven’t been to one myself, but people who have tell me it’s great.