Hello from the new registrar

May 28, 2007

Hello! I would like to introduce myself. My name is Cheryl Genet and I am delighted to be coming aboard to serve as registrar for the Story Field Conference. It is especially fun to work again with Peggy and Tom, whom I first met when I served as registrar for the first Evolutionary Salon, held at the Hacienda in central California, and inspired by Michael Dowd and Connie Barlow, and my husband Russ Genet.

The Shambhala Conference promises to be a unique and life-changing event. But nuts and bolts must always be attended to as well, so, if you have any questions, problems, or suggestions in regard to registration for the conference, reservations at Shambhala, or accessing the blogs, I am your…woman! Please feel free to email me at storyfieldinfo@comcast.net, or call me at (805) 438-4088. Looking forward to getting to know you! Cheryl


Conference Process

May 9, 2007

THE CONFERENCE PROCESS

While the process design work will be finalized much closer to the conference, we know now that it will involve primarily a process known as Open Space, which is self-organized by all of us participants on site, in real time, with no pre-established workshops or keynotes (see http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-Openspace.html). We have chosen to use Open Space as our overall process because it encourages the emergence of unexpected breakthroughs.

Given the creative mix of people present, we know that story telling (of course!), music, movement, video, poetry, and art will be present. The conference opening will involve some mix of setting a shared context, storytelling, and connecting us all more deeply with ourselves, each other, and the whole that we form. In this work we will likely use World CafĂ© — which involves small cafe-like conversations, with occasional mixing of participants (see http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-worldcafe.html). There will naturally be lots of talking circles within and around both the Open Space and the World Cafe. During the evenings we expect many of us participants will socialize and share videos, performances, and stories that take us deeper, open our hearts to joy and sorrow, and inspire much co-creative juicy-ness.

We have a result in mind: We want this event to further the story field’s shift and, more importantly, to trigger a cascade of similar events and activities that involve more and more people — ultimately evolving into a whole-system CAPACITY that society as a whole uses to change its story field consciously, whenever it needs to. The path we take to achieve this shared goal will emerge from our work together.

CREATING A GENERATIVE SPACE

What will that work be like? Given the profound complexity of our society and of our current evolutionary situation, the story-shift we want cannot be approached as a linear task for which we can lay out an established plan or agenda. Nor do we want our conference to provide simply a sharing and learning space for all the people who are involved with aspects of this story-work. The hour is late, the evolutionary field is super-saturated, and we need breakthroughs — radical, unforeseen, powerful new channels for the special passion and competence of all of us participants and others like us out in the world.

So we seek to create a hospitable gathering space in which there is enough time and freedom for all our gifts and passions (a) to become visible to each other and the whole and (b) to creatively INTERACT in ways that allow for the inspirations, possibilities, and disturbances of one day to simmer and compost overnight and then emerge to evolve further the next day — day after day — for five full days and nights. In other words, we need an iterative feedback kind of process — unpredictable, emergent, intense — which is open to both frustration and magic, because frustration is so often a sign that something truly new and magical is trying to emerge. In short, we want a space where anything that needs to be born can be born among us rather than being squeezed out by a crowded agenda.

There is a risk, when we let go and open up like this, that things will not unfold with the power that we seek. But true transformation — moving into the unknown, open to what wants to emerge — seldom happens without risk and letting go. Our job as conveners and hosts — a job shared by all participants — is to invoke the personal passion, courage, and shared intention of those who come, as these factors are the primary organizing energies of Open Space. When they are alive in a group, they are profoundly generative.

So expect to be called into what YOU most care about. And expect surprises.


Conference Intention

May 9, 2007

The human species is on the verge of self-annihilation, and we are meeting to talk about stories. Far from being frivolous and irrelevant as some might assume, this gathering is at the cutting edge of serious change. The power to shape the stories that frame a culture is the only power that potentially trumps the power of the dysfunctional, but seemingly invulnerable institutions that currently set the human course. Changing the story field of modern culture has become an imperative. — David Korten

As we continue reaching out to friends and colleagues to join our August gathering, our original intention in convening this conference is coming into sharper focus — and the form and flavor of the conference are evolving in exciting ways. We wish to share the latest with you, which have emerged through our communications with other conference invitees like yourself:

THE CONFERENCE INTENTION

As you know, the target of our shared attention and passion for this conference is the culture’s “story field”. All around us are signs that an impulse is arising within the story field to shift from a seriously dysfunctional meta-story — David Korten, who is joining us, calls it “suicidal” — to a more spirit-full, life-serving, sustainable meta-story.

We expect that the Story Field Conference — and the activities before and after it — will address the story field at a number of levels:

1. THEORY: We will all deepen our awareness and understanding of story fields and their dynamics — and the power of Story, in general.

2. WHAT EXISTS: We will deepen our awareness of the presence and content of the existing story field as it shapes our culture and mass consciousness.

3. WHAT WE WANT: We will explore together life-serving narratives and how we might help them shift the story field we all live in. This includes bringing out emerging technologies, innovations, collaborations, and other possibilities and resources that can help us — including ancient ways and knowings that many of us have lost touch with..

4. ACTUALIZING IT: We will initiate efforts to spread more life-serving stories and help people actually live into a more life-enhancing story field on the ground, making it real in the world, so it becomes not just a told story or a believed story but a rich fabric of mutually reinforcing lived stories, with more and more people living it.

That’s the overall picture we see of the conference.

AN EMERGING DEVELOPMENT and ENTICING INVITATION (at least we think so!)

As part of (4), above, we have attracted several meta-story change agents — e.g., Michael Dowd with the Great Story of evolution (http://thegreatstory.org), David Korten with the Great Turning (http://thegreatturning.net), and a place-based story-shifting network from Hawaii — to bring colleagues to the conference for focused face-to-face work developing their on-the-ground story-realization projects while being immersed in the generative ecosystem of storytellers, artists, visionaries, journalists, etc., who will be swirling around them at this conference.

If you are engaged in such a story shift, come and bring your kindred spirits and colleagues. What better context in which to develop your work than among artists and other story makers? Together, we shall weave a rich tapestry of not one “perfect” yarn, but a vibrantly textured fabric that reflects the richness of our diversity.

After all, the story field we need is not the One Right Story, but a co-creative co-evolution of millions of stories in more life-flourishing directions. So practicing right in our conference the shift from belonging-as-conformity to belonging-as-showing-up-in-our-uniqueness-and-evolving-together is, itself, a profound change in the story!

So please, join us and bring your friends.