European Salon

Just 10 days or so ago I was in Reichenau an der Rax in Austria (an hour or so outside of Vienna) for a European Salon put on by World Cafe colleagues.


Stunned by the beauty of this lovely country, I was once again moved by the beauty of the human heart as we naturally and collectively answered the gravitational pull towards deep connection and the spontaneous expression of community.


The latter (community) was my particular passion and interest for this salon, which was focused on the themes of dialogue, leadership and community. Several of us spent some time exploring a definition of community that could address the range of new community forms being created by the reality of geographic dispersal.

I was fascinated to find a direct connection, in practice, between the depth of community that was formed and the other two themes of the event – leadership and dialogue. It was through our experiment in shared leadership – a truly collaborative expression – that our powerful sense of community was forged.

I am continually amazed by this human need and drive to find depth and connection through dialogue – we hosted an online World Cafe on the subject of community – "What is your most powerful experience of community and what were the elements that made it so?" – using my new favorite "tech tool", the extremely simple to use MaestroConference. Once again, I was absolutely stunned at both the depth of our inquiry – from the roots of community to the historical and contemporary rituals that bring us into or out of it – and the feeling of true connection it engendered among a group of virtual strangers, or at least we were when we began.


  1. And Kara beautifully captured the love you present to the world with that little heart on your forehead.

    As someone who has learned so much from your networking and technical web skills, Amy, I so appreciate that netted background. And, of course, in it I see the jewels of Indra held fast in the universal net that catches and holds all “us fish.” Marija Gimbutas said the neolithic net motif on pottery and in caves must have been a symbol of the “water of life.” Your avatar combines the best of the very old and the totally new. Lovely!

    Karen Speerstra

  2. Karen,

    How cool that you picked up on the “Indra’s Net” iconography – but of course you would! (Karen wrote an amazing book on sacred symbols called Hunab Ku 🙂

    In my contextual conversations with Kara, we explored the idea of trying to connect those two webs and show them graphically, and I love what she did.

    And I love that you see the old and new harmoniously gathered there, as I feel my whole life weaves together the very very old and the very very new. Perfect!

    Thank you so much, Karen.

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