We co-hosted an informal pre-dinner reception this evening with our friends and colleagues at Berkana Institute and Art of Hosting. The room was bursting with the energy of the conference (Van Jones had just spoken) and the sense of friendship and collaboration.
In lieu of a formal welcome, an impromptu story began to weave between us, amplified by two little hand-held microphones and our deep listening as we heard of World Cafés in Saudi Arabia, China, Japan and Wisconsin, Berkana learning centers in Zambia and Art of Hosting in indigenous British Columbia.
We heard about conversations of hope – in hospitals, in business offices and jails, online and in person – and as the microphone wentaaround and the stories poured out, I experienced an ever-increasing sense of shared purpose weaving between us all at the macro-level. The form in the stories we told were quite different, but the willingness to step into the conversation about things that really matter was the same in all of them.
After the reception, many of us continued the conversation at dinner, weaving the web of relationship ever more strongly and beautifully.