I spent a fascinating 3 hours recently with Dennis Rivers of New Conversations and author of (among several other works) The Geometry of Dialogue. He now lives in Eugene, OR, too, and we were brought together for coffee and hot chocolate by our common friend and inveterate networker Robert Bushman. Our time together was too stimulating to cover here more than a few of the many interesting gifts Dennis brought to the table.
A notable outcome: Thanks to Dennis, I have finally compiled and posted a long-overdue page on questions and inquiry on my co-intelligence website which includes a chapter from Dennis' Geometry of Dialogue book. A focus on inquiry fits his insistence that we are all teachers and learners, all the time, intrinsically -- and that it is worth our effort to become more conscious of the dynamic of that within and among us.
He also shared with me his understanding that we and much else in life are "silent partners" in the success or failure of what happens. Often chaos and order, form and process, show up as silent partners of each other. For example, practice playing scales (a highly structured activity) is a silent partner to the free-wheeling sensibilities of a proficient improvisational jazz musician. A few simple rules and micro-cultural expectations (as well as the personal and cultural baggage people bring into their encounters) are silent partners of the self-organizing Open Space Technology process. A container is a silent partner for all that exists and goes on within it. And, perhaps most importantly of all, mistakes (trial and error) are silent partners of all real competence, learning, and evolution. Therefore it behooves us as co-evolutionaries to make mistakes safer by (a) making amends for our mistakes and (b) forgiving others for their mistakes.