On July 22nd 2016, I held the UK’s second ‘Art of Cosmic Thinking’ event, building on feedback from the debut up in Manchester back in May. The word cosmic comes from the word cosmos, meaning ‘the universe as a complex and orderly system’ and the talk explores how to hold the tension between keeping things simple and keeping things real.
In my wisdom, I’ve distilled the sum of the cosmos into three basic principles relating to form, energy and relationships. Being cosmic, they apply everywhere, to everything, all the time, so it’s worth bearing them in mind. In practical terms, paying attention to these principles should reduce the size and number of gaps that tend to appear so rapidly between the plans we make and what actually happens.
The tension between simple and real is an everyday issue which we normally ‘solve’ by heading for simple. This habit of reducing things down with binary reasoning is very strong and cosmic thinking won’t allow you to do this in quite the same way. Living with cosmic principles requires some minor, but quite profound adjustments to our mindsets, including the need to think in 4 (or more) dimensions. It’s not anything like as hard as it sounds.
I showed how I’d found a way of applying all of this to make a kind of ‘gravity map’ of the different things I do. The map produced the talk, and a sense of completion to my 30 year quest to work out ‘what does Mike do‘? My newly found cosmic way of visualising things gave me a 4D snapshot of where I am in my working life, helping me make more sense of intuitive choices I’d already made, and giving me greater clarity about the way I’ll steer my course in the future.
I wrapped it up with ideas about how to be with the cosmic principles in order to take full advantage of them. The art of cosmic thinking is in the way we choose to steer our course, so my key message at the end was DO adjust your set…
I’ll post ‘how to make your own gravity map’ when I get time to write it up – if you simply can’t wait, let me know (see below).
And so to Open Space
Open Space is an utterly cosmic way of bringing people together. My invitation to this event had promised ‘time for people to explore each others skills, experiences and talents so they can help each other out’. This is the place my personal cosmic flight deck tells me I need to be and I was interested to see what kind of questions, ideas, issues or problems might come up after an introduction to the art of cosmic thinking.
I’d created a two hour space, and having filled the first 30 minutes with arrivals and cosmic thinking, I opened the rest with 15 minutes to create the agenda, two half hour sessions and a 15 minute space for closure. I gave everyone the freedom NOT to have to report back to the group unless they wanted to.
Proposals for ‘what is inspiration?’, ‘Is space the fundamental factor of creativity?’ and ‘Developing (or constructing) ideas – How do you do it?’ were posted for the first session, and ‘Breaking States (art forms that disrupt normality)’ was posted alongside ‘how do we get the most out of life?’ for the second. At the last minute, I found myself proposing ‘Ask Mike (anything about anything)’ as an explicit invitation to Butterfly*.
My butterfly spot drew four people, who it turned out were all keen to work out how to make a living whilst following their passion, and three of whom weren’t sure exactly what it was they should be doing.
At the end of the event I used a show of hands to take a rough reading of how successful (or not) the event had been. Everyone felt they’d learned something useful, nearly everyone had got an energy boost, and 4 out of 18 (22%) reckoned they might do something constructive with somebody they’d met at the event.
The upshot for me? Well I’ve got energy for doing more of this kind of thing. I’ll be looking for partners who can offer the space to explore our stories of making a difference together under the series title ‘Power to Peer’. I’ll stick with the Open Space format, and will chose whichever themes are most present for the partner who’s providing the space. I already have requests relating to ‘networks of networks’, ‘using social media’ and ‘collaborative leadership’ – all I need to do is fix the time and the place.
I’ll certainly offer Art of Cosmic Thinking again – although next time I’ll offer a spot explicitly to invite people to having a go at their own gravity maps. I’m keen to find out more about cosmic thinking as others make it their own.
If you’d like to go on a list to hear about future ‘Power to Peer’ events, or would like to offer a space with a theme, please write to me: email@example.com. I’ll publish what I’m up to in the What’s On page of my website, and share nuggets of golden cosmic thinking in future posts here.
*Butterflying is a term used in Open Space Technology term for people who aren’t drawn into the posted conversations, but who sit aside somewhere and tend to attract others into an unplanned conversation.
Filed under: Uncategorized |