Nest City News - Hosting BIG Decisions

Published: Wed, 05/15/13

Hi -
Just when I thought the river was running free after the spring thaw, an ice jam upstream - of which I was completely unaware - broke free. 

As the ice ran freely through my city it reminded me that when life runs smoothly, it might only be because something upstream is holding things at bay. Sometimes I only know there was a blockage when the ice runs. Then I need to sort out how to run the release safely

As i run the ice of life, more people ask me how i do what I do. So again, I am jumping into the realm of teaching - to learn more myself of how I do what I do. This time, it is taking the shape of The Art of Hosting BIG Decisions, an exploration of being well with self, others and our places before, during and after the ice runs. Join Hugh Sanders, Katharine Weinmann,  Margaret Sanders and I from November 12-15, 2013 in Edmonton, Canada.

Registration is limited to 44 people and I would be thrilled if you were one of them!

Beth Sanders

Something Cool
In 2012 I collaborated with The Natural Step Canada to explore how awesome neighbourhoods make for a sustainable city.  Here's a link to download the final report: Awesome Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Edmonton

Upcoming Events

Canadian Institute of Planners Conference

Board Member

July 6-9, 2013
Vancouver, Canada


Integral Theory Conference

Learning L(h)abitat Host

July 18-21, 2013
San Francisco, USA


The Art of Hosting Big Decisions 

Host / Steward

November 12-15, 2013
Edmonton, Canada

The purpose of Nest City News is to deepen the relationship between myself and my audience, where we support each other in our work to improve cities. This relationship will help us deepen our relationship with the world around us - and  create the city habitats needed to allow us to reach our  fullest potential. We are feeding our desire to thrive in cities.

My commitment to subscribers is to send you my latest thoughts before I post them to my website. I will also share material here that will never appear on my website. 

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Know Structural Purpose

When we build structures for ourselves, whether physical or social, they will only do what we ask of them when the structure itself aligns with its purpose.

Last week, when I went back to hike the West Coast Trail on the western edge of Canada's Vancouver Island, I noticed key structures placed on the trail to assist our travel over difficult terrain. Ladders help hikers climb ascent and descend the valleys. Cable cars and bridges help hikers cross waterways. Boardwalks help hikers traverse boggy areas. Yet due to disrepair, the boardwalks have strayed from their original purpose:

This boardwalk, put in place to aid travel, is now a hazard. It is slippery and uneven. It is ready to harm the traveller, but what can we do we do structures like this? 

I noticed five patterns in hikers' behaviour on the trail:
  1. Walk on it. Not noticing the danger, we risk harm and carry on. This can be conscious and unconscious.
  2. Walk on it carefully, making careful choices about how to use the structure to our benefit while minimizing risk of injury.
  3. Walk beside it, making a new and safer path. Sometimes this means trudging through the mud and meeting the real obstacle face-to-face.
  4. Throw it aside, removing the danger for self and other. It's pieces might also be useful serving other purposes.
  5. Walk on it to destroy it to a point where there is no structure left - and no hazard. Simply aid in its slow destruction. The risk is injury along the way.
All five patterns have a role to play in our relationships with the structures we live with every day. Each is appropriate in its own way, in its own context. 

As I reflect on this specific trail, and our rescue off the trail two years ago after a boardwalk fall and broken leg, the first pattern was not our practice. And in the push to complete the hike we walked on boardwalks carefully and beside them - we did not throw any aside to make the path safer for others behind us. I have to admit we were caught in the momentum of the moment and our immediate task.  

Everyday we are in relationship with structure. Structure can take the form of the protocols of family life, the policies in our workplaces, the design of our cities or the laws that govern our expectations of each other as we live increasingly together in cities. 

In just the right balance, there is enough chaos to evoke collective wisdom, and enough order to discover wise action. Choosing the right amount of structure is a BIG decision that has everything to do with knowing purpose.

The Art of Hosting BIG Decisions

These are times of BIG decisions for our selves, with each other, and for the organizations and places we hold dear. We live and work with complexities that are both daunting with challenge and ripe with promise. We are facing and embracing new realities by learning to co-create places where there is just enough chaos to evoke collective wisdom, and just enough order to discover wise action. 

On November 12-15, 2013 I am co-hosting a three-day participative learning experience  - The Art of Hosting BIG Decisions - in Edmonton, Canada that will help us ground ourselves in the artistry of circle to: 

  • Unveil and explore the choices and BIG decisions that you face in your life and work
  • Learn hosting practices to engage self, others and places that lead to wise and intentional action
  • Advance or evolve to a new level of expertise in leadership and co-creation
  • Strengthen your presence and clarify your purpose

Hugh Sanders, Katharine Weinmann, Margaret Sanders and I are designing an experience for you that will enhance your abilities to: 

  • Host yourself and others well
  • Gather the right people at the right time
  • Unleash the wisdom and power that lies within
  • Ask the right questions
  • Sense the emerging future and harvest its promise
  • Discern and choose wise action

In crafting our invitation to you, we realized that what we'll learn together will apply at any scale - self, family, workplace, neighbourhood, city, nation, humanity. Confirmation that when we boldly grow the self, we make our families, organizations, workplaces, neighbourhoods and cities better places.

Registration is limited.

 I have a hunch you are 
one of the 44 people 
meant to be in the room.