One of the things we’ve gotten used to in meetings at Kufunda is ants.
Also sitting on rocks. Dogs. Five-year olds. The occasional bat. Weird little crabbish things that dash about randomly in a panic. Straw. Wind. A careening traffic of odors – of bodies, blossoms, life.
Tana’s last post was about reclaiming our meetings so that they become more vibrant and meaningful. One of the ways this happens at Kufunda is by making sure that all the meetings have cracks in them. They are not sealed off from other people, nature, or the regular life of the village.
One common meeting place is a circle of rocks just in front of the office. Here everything passes by or wanders in. Voices join voices – people talking about lunch preparation, shouts about who is catching the next ride into town or about why the internet isn’t working.
Another meeting place is called the dare (dah-ray). It is a beautiful round building, nestled in the boulders a little away from the main part of the village. You come to it after a surprising vaulted curve in the path. The walls of the building only go halfway up. Everything from outside feels inside too. Trees lean in. The big stones piled on top of each other frame whatever it is we are working on.
At the recent Powers of Place gathering at Kufunda, Glenna Gerard, one of the conveners, described place as a co-facilitator, not just a location or backdrop, but something that thinks and creates with us.
One of the ways that place seems to do this is by disturbing us. When place is very present, it jars us out of our normally narrow work focus. It reminds us that we are larger than these rooms. That whatever designs, problems, projects we’re working on are not small and abstract. They are dense, tissued. They breathe and sweat.
The intelligence of a meeting is increased when the context is part of it. Here at Kufunda it is hard to forget that. But how do we connect to this contextual intelligence in more traditional organizational environments where meeting spaces can be far-removed from nature and the hum of human interaction?
(Blog title from Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem”)