Alchemy for crisis times: the inner critic as an ally

Staying at home, we get to talk with ourselves more than ever. The bigger the crisis, the more toxic our self-talk may get; affecting not just the current well-being, but also our future options. What to do?
My promise here: no affirmations, or fake positivity. I’ll talk about authenticity that reconnects rather than alienates.


Gift walks in nature: making sense when little makes sense

How to make the most out of your solo walks in this intense time? What if the walks can be nourishing well beyond the physical level – to offer answers to our deepest inquiries? What if outer nature can help us reconnect with our inner nature ...?
The implications of the coronavirus for our personal lives and social systems are so complex that they are impossible to comprehend with the rational mind. We need conceret practices to help us host big questions that are emerging now; to be in the unknown, and yet find some pillars on which to build the futures we desire.


Power of Positive Paraphrase in Group Process Facilitation

In south-east Europe, where passions run high about almost anything, intensity in a multi-stakeholder strategic dialogue can be huge. So is reliance on a father figure to show direction, provide answers, and intervene in conflicts. 

When one of the participants expresses a strong negative judgment about the topic, the others, or the process, electric tension lands in the group, and SOS glances are sent to the facilitator: ‘What are you going to do about it!?’


What it takes to have tough conversations

In a recent multi-stakeholder reflection workshop over a ‘failed’ project, a participant in the final check-out circle said: ‘I am still in almost a shock, and relieved at the same time, that we did not fight today – as we’ve done so many times in the past, over what happened.’

Hearing this, I was reminded again that the work of us process facilitators who work in intense environments is ultimately not about transforming conflicts into more harmony. It’s about re-claiming hope, and even joy, for calling in (tough) conversations.


Assessed or blessed?

Years ago, I applied for the IAF Certified Professional Facilitator assessment. The procedure was a very Western one: written record of facilitation cases; client references; live facilitation simulation with assessors as clients and participants; interview before and after the facilitation gig. In this process, a moment of magic happened that woke me to the potential of elders’ blessings in our professional communities. Here’s the story.


Stane, it’s been an honour

I walked into the ki aikido dojo (martial arts training place) that Stane Kirbiš led in Ljubljana, Slovenia, two years ago; not knowing anyone, and in a very difficult period in my life during which I forgot how to laugh.
Soon I realised that the dojo that Stane had created was a place of deep embodied joy – as well as unexpected learnings for life.
Here are some of the lessons that I learned from Stane. Conveyed in my own words, they probably reflect more of what I heard rather than what was exactly said. Written within days after his untimely death, I hope they carry Stane’s spirit that will keep feeding us all.


Does authenticity help or hinder dialogue?

‘Be authentic!’ is a buzzword in these chaotic times. But what does it actually mean?
In my experience, there are at least three layers of authenticity; each with implications for the quality of connection, relationship, and collaboration.


Group facilitation between mastery and magic

During the appreciation circle that the organising team held after closing a 170-participant, multigenerational, week-long European Nonviolent Communication Festival, a long-time colleague said to me: “Your large group facilitation was beyond mastery; it had magical qualities.” My inner response: “Well, of course it’s magic – I cannot possibly facilitate such a large group on my own!”
I did not say anything loud at the time though. Later I realised that we rarely (if ever!) speak about the invisible realms of facilitating groups in complex contexts.


How did I make my work/marriage/life too small for me?

In a recent Clearness Committee process I facilitated – in which the committee members are invited to only ask widely open questions, without offering the slightest advice to the focus person in the centre -the focus person shared a challenge she was facing connected to a business project she helped develop. 
At some point during the circle process it dawned on me: it’s time for the ‘David Whyte question’: ‘How are you making this project too small for you?’


Sacred wound as opening to vocation

An old friend of mine recently asked me why do I do what do. This gift of a question opened an inquiry for me that led me to the depths of my soul, my shadow, and ultimately my mission in life.  
At an international conference in 2005, there was an offer of experiencing a “dialogue process” as one of the conference tracks. I just knew I had to be there.


How one person made a difference

This is a story about one courageous individual who almost incidentally landed in Slovenia back in 1989, and touched lives of many. It’s a story of how one humble person can make a difference not only to persons s/he meets, but to a whole system.



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