So that's that element of preparing oneself. And by the way, these aren't linear. I think they interact and feed each other, because the next layer in terms of the practice of engaging is preparing myself to host.
So, what does it mean to host others? And the practices of that I find most useful there are, first off, the notion of focusing on some intention. that's the role of clear purpose. And it doesn't have to be definitive. I just need a sense of direction, and from that sense of direction to be willing to invite others, particularly those who have a stake, but don't necessarily see things the way I do and then as I mentioned earlier, to be welcoming to who and what shows up.
So, I think those are the roles of a good host, and I remember years ago I was talking to this Sufi master, and one of Rumi's poems is about the guesthouse, and all of life as a guesthouse, and welcome whomever and whatever shows up. And he made the comment to me, "If we were all good hosts, we would have a world of peace." And I found that such a profound notion, that our attitude of being a host to who and what shows up, creates the set of conditions in which we can be present to each other in a more authentic, profound way, such that, again, our differences become the source of creative response rather than a reason to fight with each other.
Rob: And we see in Washington so much the opposite of that, this unwillingness to be a host of anything, except for our next door neighbors.
Peggy: I find it crazy making. I just find it crazy making. I sometimes think--I grew up outside Washington D.C.--and the arrangement of of the floor of Congress is a semi-circle and I've often wondered, because I know that through Benjamin Franklin, who is Ambassador to the Iroquois, that much of how the Iroquois nation worked was influenced to thinking about the design of our government. And I often wondered when I see that semi-circle, if he missed the part about being in a circle, which is both a metaphorical sense and physically, as I get into this next stage, which is engaging.
The form of sitting in a circle with each other changes the quality and the nature of conversation. And it's like we got it half right and the layout of Congress. I just shake my head, because there's so much opportunity to take--actually I saw a Venn diagram that was comparing the beliefs of the Tea Party to the beliefs of the Occupiers (and, in a sense, you could save the left and the right), and on one end of the Venn diagram is distrust in big government, which of course is your Tea Party end of the spectrum, and on a Progressive end it tends to be distrust of big business. The interesting thing is there's this huge territory of overlap between those two circles, which is the distrust of the interaction between big government and big business, and isn't that interesting common ground on which we could focus together? I see that as one of the big missed opportunities, and whether it's ordinary people getting active, or whether it's our Congress, in understanding where the answers lie in terms of the appropriate role of government and the appropriate connections between business and government.
Anyway, the heart of these practices is engaging and the activities that I think any and all of us can do, and this is in this notion of, as I mentioned earlier, taking responsibility for what you love as an act of service. How do you do that? One of the things that I find very useful is to ask possibility oriented questions as a doorway in, because they clarify intention, and they have a spirit of invitation in them. And then, as you were talking about earlier, that edge work where life is, open up. There's the leap of faith. There's a stepping in to the not knowing to act. And out of that then, to reflect, and particularly to reflect with others on, "What are we learning? What do we now know that we didn't know before?" Out of which a new coherence, we begin to get glimmers, of where we're going. So, for example, the testing of this idea for Occupy 2.0, that is one of it's threads, about creating an economy that works for all, as a thread of coherence that provides direction. And of course, because we're human, there will be disruptions. Nothing will ever be perfect and so the last stage is do it again.
And one of the lessons about that is that any great shift is actually many, many, many increments happening over time. Generally, the first time we try something, we don't necessarily get it right, and if it's intent is really important to us, we'll learn from that, pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and try it again, hopefully, having learned something from the last time through. So that notion of "do it again and do it again," there is an image out of my early days of the "total quality" work that I referred to that had this great image that said, making change is a lot like growing bamboo. You water it every day for 90 days and nothing happens. I'm sorry, you water it for four years every day and nothing happens, and then it grows 90 feet in 60 days. aAnd change often feels like that. There's an awful lot of ground work by the time things, "suddenly blossom." So, just knowing that certainly has kept me going when I'm attempting to do something that feels ambitious.