U.Lab Scribing

Week 2. More to come, but for now a few versions you can view at higher resolutions. The white (printer friendly) is not optimal visual quality. This week worked ONLY in chalk (last live session was chalk marker – much thicker – but leading to a tricky clean up!) and the inversion revealed the softness of the material. The scribing was intended to activate the space, as live facilitation. Perhaps need to redo the artifact. Or… not, and it’s fine as is!



Download PDF of the white, inverted, image

Week 1. What a surge! With over 25,ooo enrolled and an estimated 10,000 viewing today, from 192 countries all around the globe….. the space activated, and these images resulted. My hand, yet an entirely shared will. To view the session: http://webcast.amps.ms.mit.edu/spr2015/PGC/ More on U.Lab: MITx: 15.S23x





As my grandmother was aging, at a point when she could really only go outside with a walker and physical assistance, I recall visits where we would lunch at a local NYC diner. She would ask me things about my life, about school, about my friends, about my studies, and she would marvel at the complexity of the world I lived in. (This was 1984, so we can only imagine what she would say about our times today!)

What I recall most poignantly is the way she would pay attention, seeming to hang on every word, and the way she made me feel safe, and loved, loved no matter what I would say, no matter what I had to share. I never felt judged. No matter what she thought about the details, she would listen closely, look me in the eye, and continue to pursue an understanding of my life.

She provided a container, a space where I could see myself more clearly and grow as direct result of how she was seeing and holding me.

“Be the container for the group – be larger than the largest disturbance in the room.”
– William Isaacs

(Reference also Hindu Master lake story, first heard from Peri Chickering.)

When working with groups, things can get heated and fractured, and therefore our containers need to strengthen so that we can better support what is wanting to come to light. Other times the container in the room is so strong that we might be enveloped in its power, and therefore our ability to show up increases because the room is holding us, in a way, as my grandmother held me so well years ago. It is a dance in there – in that dark place where gold waits to gleam forth.

When my grandmother, somewhat hard of hearing and surely with many of her own personal concerns, was completely able to show up for me, I was completely able to show up for her. I could be more vulnerable, because I felt so safe. She brought out the purest part of me, by how gracefully she held me in her heart.

I do believe that love, as a base note, is the ore (“ore” retyped from the original iPhone speech to text interpretation “order,” which I also like here) of the container.

It is simply this: How we hold each other in our hearts, that is the container, that is what we can offer to each other, across any boundary.

PS: Her name was Margaret McKelvy Bird, and yes, that’s where Kelvy comes from…


“One of the core ideas of Theory U is that form follows attention or consciousness. We can change reality by changing the inner place from which we operate.” – Otto Scharmer, Leading from the Emerging Future p.146.

In the practice of scribing, we attend to ourselves (our Self, considering our authenticity and how necessary this inner knowing is to show up at all…) to a group in the room, to the organization the group represents, to the culture of the org, to the society within which the culture manifests, to the planet… and depending on how far out we want to go – to the solar system, galaxy, etc. We attend at any of these realms, and often to more than one, as necessary, as is possible.

The range of attention relates to that which is taken in, received, and then that which is turned outward, revealed, through the hand. It’s a reciprocal relation, between receiving and revealing, and often they enhance each other. The more open the scribe, the more received. The more received, the more revealed. The more revealed, the more seen, thus the collective attention expands as form facilitates the growth.

When Otto talks about the “beam of attention”, i think of the above dynamic and how powerful it can be to FEEL the expansion of the beam AS we draw. Like a process of divining, the markers as dowsing rods, we sense into the present moment in a room, sense into a field, and from that place draw. As we draw, the way opens, the ore is revealed.

Attend. Grow the sphere of attention. Expand the outer skin of the whole. Tune IN. Awake.