The Art of Creative Dialogue: Learning to Think Together
An invitation to join colleagues for a transformational summer retreat with Leading with Spirit
We recently participated in a weekend retreat with a group of experienced Waldorf School administrators. The purpose of the gathering was to explore what the collective experience of over 150 years of work in Waldorf schools could illuminate about the factors that have contributed to health in our schools and in our administrative work.
While there are many factors that contribute to health in an individual or an organization, one theme that arose in many of our discussions was the ability to enter into imaginative, inspiring and deep dialogue with others individually and within groups. This same theme has arisen in every situation that Leading with Spirit colleagues have worked in over the past year in the many individuals and schools we advise.
Rudolf Steiner offered an insight to us for our development - it is the work that we do on ourselves to create the capacity for listening and speaking at a deeper level and the use of those capacities in dialogue with others that is the path to the creative unfolding of our life, relationships, and institutions. Conscious compassionate dialogue is the creative force that can transform us and the world. It is the force behind the evolution of humanity and social transformation. It is the path to the realization of our own human potential and the potential of the groups we are a part of, be they small circles or greater ones, leading all the way out to the common dialogue of all of humanity about what it means to be human and live together on the earth.
There are many approaches to creating healthy and transformative dialogue now around us that can help in our work in Waldorf Schools – from practicing the inner dialogue of mediation, to studying together meaningful texts like the Study of Man or the Philosophy of Freedom, to exploring AWSNA’s core principles of Waldorf Education, to learning new approaches and technologies of conversation, including Generative Dialogue, biography work, Goethean conversation, Non Violent Communication, Appreciative Inquiry, Servant leadership or Presencing. All of these paths lead through what might be called “the forest of transformation.” It is an unfolding story of humanity at the crossroads.
Creative dialogue in all of its forms, whether it is with the self, with others one on one, within a group, with other beings in the natural world, with beings of the spiritual world or through our work and conscious life choices, is the key to our health, our growth and our survival on the planet.
Marjorie Spock’s work on Group Moral Artistry and Goethean Conversation, Heinz Zimmerman’s book on Speaking, Listening and Understanding, Chris Schaefer’s work in Partnerships of Hope, are just three shining examples of works that invite us forward and offer guidelines into the art of creative conscious dialogue. They invite us into this “forest of transformation” and shed light on the path to greater consciousness.
This path to health, growth and transformation through creative dialogue is at the heart of all of Rudolf Steiner’s work. It is the hallmark and calling of the modern age of the consciousness soul. It is the core of heart thinking. It is at the center of Steiner’s six basic exercises, the Motto of the Social Ethic, the Collegial Imagination, and the Foundation Stone Meditation. I believe that it is the foundation of what Rudolf Steiner meant when he offered that the larynx would be the creative organ of the future: that it is through dialogue we will, more and more in the future, create our relationships and new social forms of the world
This idea of dialogue is also at the center of the work that we do as colleagues in Leading with Spirit, in our Art of Administration Leadership training intensives, in our school advisory work and in our LeadTogether web resource collection.
If you would like to learn more, check out our website at www.LeadingwithSpirit.org or join colleagues this summer for one of our intensives this summer,
The Art of Creative Dialogue
for Personal, Organizational and Social Transformation,
Whidbey Island July 7-12 and Hawthorne Valley in Ghent NY July 16-21.
In these weeks we will dive down deep into the principles and practices of creative dialogue in community building, group development, the art of meetings, conflict resolution, decision making and consensus, and the art of collaboration in a Waldorf school. Together we will explore ideas, study our schools through casework, do biography work, practice inner development, build collegial relationships, practice the arts and spend time in nature.
We still have spaces open for both intensives and invite you to join us in a refreshing, renewing, revitalizing journey into the “forest of transformation.”
Your colleagues at Leading with Spirit
Lisa Mahar, Mara White, Chris Schaefer, Michael Soule, Marti Stewart