Archive for November, 2010

How far would you go for a conversation?

Nov 30, 2010 // No Comments » // Conversational Circles | Stories Retold

Friends of ConversationCircles. Kit and Kimberly (on my left)

Friends of ConversationCircles. Kit and Kimberly (on my left)

Approximately 700 kilometers, 10 1/2 hours of travelling time, and waking up at the wee hours to catch an early train to the coach-bus station at Novena Square. That’s how far I went recently to have a conversation and thought I would like to share this story with you.

Last Friday, I travelled north on a coach-bus from Singapore to KL to meet with Kimberly Ong, the Learning & Development manager of Fuji Xerox Malaysia. It all started from a friendship forged with Paul Lim, whom I have never met, he is the husband of a friend based in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. He also happens to be the General Manager – HR of Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific Pte Ltd (Malaysia Operations). He is one of the biggest supporter of ConversationCircles in the past year. He subscribed and followed  CC Touchpoint since June this year, reading and commenting on my blog posting and sending encouraging emails periodically. In September, I wrote to thank him for his support and encouragement and began a conversation. Paul asked how ConversationCircles might help in his organisation training plan for next year and a meeting was duly set up for November.

When the meeting date draws near, Kimberly – who has since taken over the training matters wanted to know the agenda and specific outcomes of the meeting. She asked to have a call three days before to confirm some details of the meeting and here’s my respond:

“My intention is to have a conversation and meet with your good self and of course Paul if his schedules permit…”. I responded to Kimberly’s well intentioned.

“That’s nice but we wanted your trip to be useful so if we can have some sort of agenda that will help…”. Kim seeks my approval.

“Kim, the agenda evolves with the conversation. Trust that process and we will enjoy each others company.” I thank and assured her.

After an almost 6 hours bus ride and 350km later, I was at the technology and industrial corridor of Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur. A 15 minutes taxi ride took me to the spanking office cum product showroom amidst many industrial giants such as Honda, Honeywell and Colgate. I was met with a beaming Kimberly and quickly led me to a boardroom style meeting room and was soon joined by Paul. He is a stoutly build man with a attention gripping voice, proudly wearing his company colors on his sleeve with the latest slogan on ‘green technology’. Our conversation quickly went from brief introduction of ourselves to overview of organisation setting…and much more.

Paul spent about 30 minutes with us and left for another meeting. Kimberly and I continue the conversation for more than an hour and a half and we both end with some plans and intention to help the people.

I am grateful to be embraced as a friend and confident in the challenges that is facing the organisation. The conversation did not entail promises and solutions but useful questions that help us to be careful in taking the next step. I could be back again soon to have another conversation – and hopefully this time with a larger group than before.

In my six hours bus trip up north, I met a Singaporean businessman whom is going to KL to attend a wedding reception. When he realized that I am taking this trip without any promises of economics or business benefits, he was surprised. But after we shared and learned about the intention of conversation itself can be richly rewarding, I sensed that he understood my purposed and wishes me well.

Once again, a big thank you to Paul, Kimberly and Kit (whom has assist in my travel plan).

See you all again soon!

PS: I returned on the same evening after dinner with a friend also based in KL – to my sleepy family at 2am the next morning.

Our Circle in Daylesford Melbourne, Australia.

Nov 29, 2010 // 6 Comments » // Conversational Circles | Stories Retold

Friends of ConversationCircles

Friends of ConversationCircles

A circle was called from 12th to 17th of November at a beautiful country side of Victoria, Daylesford. Together with Christina and Ann, we were called to be in a circle, listen, responded and reflected at a deep level that is beyond the description of words. For me, the five days has open my hearts to the meaning of conversation…

I wrote this just a few days before my 7 1/2 hours flight to Melbourne, Australia.

To end, we must have a beginning.

But there is no end to the circle.

How can there be if there is no beginning?

But we can pause, adjourn, stop or even digress…

We don’t need an agenda, objectives or even so often prized ‘outcome’ to help us start and end a conversational circle.

We do need intention, choice, respect, curiosity; and the ability to embrace and celebrate differences.

Indifference among us will deplete the energy within the circle that holds the wisdom of those called to the circle.

Our circle

I am still not sure what I actually meant but I did wrote to help me raise a question;

How can the circle help those who are indifference?

Decor

I got a glimpse of what’s install for the rest of the five days when we came together in a circle on the first evening on Friday, 12th November. A beautiful setting of 22 chairs in a room full of arts and decors, awaits us all amidst the green surrounding of gump trees, ponds, birds and bees…a sight to behold for a city dweller like me indeed. This was what’s written on the first page of my note book that accompanied me throughout the five days:

We do not ask what others may speak…until we inform them how they will be listen to.

What are the conditions that allow the soul to show up?

I held my breath…and the only reminder of my being was to be opened.

That night I couldn’t sleep (in fact, for the rest of the nights). I wrote this;

The Courage to try; is the Courage to fail.

The Courage to express feeling; is the Courage to be vulnerable.

The Courage to think; is the Courage to be thoughtful.

The Courage to ask; is the Courage to seek.

The Courage to respond; is the Courage to be responsible.

The Courage to love; is the Courage to give.

When I checked-in my luggage at 6kg on the day of my departing flight from Singapore, the smile from the counter staff seems to suggest that I am in for a cold chilling trip to Melbourne. I thought I know my geography and its supposed to be end Spring and sunny Summer…how wrong I was and the second day was getting chiller. But warmth was my experienced in the circle when jumpers and winter cover were offered even before I asked for…More warmths were being felt throughout the few days with Story Councils, Appreciative Circle and role-plays of actual life-cases. These interactions were given new life not just in the act but in our hearts. This was what I wrote on my third sleepless night:

The intricacy of the circle is limitless. Every details of its processes have such great impact on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of all those presence in the circle.

Therefore, it is of utmost care and responsibility of the circle host to make caring choices in inviting, involving and evolving the process for the greater being of the whole.

I suddenly felt that I am truly honored to be called a steward but at the same time burden with responsibility.

I also felt a sensed of being born into the circle family – that I can and I will hold its rim, learn, practice and evolve this art form so that someday it will ‘live’ unto the social fabric of our cultures and values.

Centering our Intention

Centering our Intention

Like a story shared; “If you start the fire, others will come.”

More practicum from the third day onwards. The circle continue its charm with simplicity and beauty. The value of sharing and learning from others continue to hold the rim together. I was constantly reminded of the very quote that caught my eyes on the first night when I walked into the room:

In every journey there is a secret destination of which the journeyer is unaware…

Welcome to the mystery!

Quote

It spoke right into my heart from day one. It still do till now…

We were given a glimpse of The Art of Hosting which comprises of social processes such as the PeerSpirit Circle Way, Appreciative Inquiry, Word Cafe and Open Space; which all has a common archetype of gathering and having conversation in circles. As the days of sharing coming to end soon, the question in me continue to cry out silently:

“How can the circle help us in Asia which is so culturally diverse?”

“Aren’t we have enough of the ‘western’ medicine that so often promised to cure all but actually created many ills amongst us?”

“Is there a circle way that is principly-centered to our own value system?”.

I did not get answers to all above…

But I know where to find the answers…within the hearts of those that will heed the call of circle.

Christina Baldwin

Christina Baldwin

It seems a long time I have known Christina and Ann. Having read their books, visited their website, heard their stories and followed their work, I was taking in their friendships in the way I am fond of – quite, demure and unassuming, I supposed. In the five days we spent time together, the close encountered has given me a glimpse to their passion, wisdom and above all humanity. We shared intimate conversations, spoke with our eyes and hearts, felt the energetics of love, walked the Australian bush and went for Kangaroo sightings at a nearby golf park with charming child-likeness – Thank you.

Ann Linnea

Ann Linnea

Here’s our little conversation we had periodically throughout the five days:

“I am unsure when to sound the bell as a guardian…would I undermined the intention of the circle host if I did so?”. I asked.

“Allen, I want to thank you for your wisdom in asking the question.”. Ann assured.

“I am burdened with responsibility to carry the work of circle…”. I shared in the story council.

“We want you to know that we are a team now. You are now a steward of the PeerSpirit Circle and we will support in the work that you do in Asia…and beyond”. Christina whispered with conviction.

See you both in Asia in 2012!