Hosted. We, Malaysians, are known for our hospitality. I did not make the connection between my cultural identity and the art of hosting others until much recently, when I realized some things I took for granted were a result of my upbringing. The little things we do without thinking oftentimes have origins far, far back in time than we realize. As a simple example: Malaysians greet others with “Dah makan?” (“Have you eaten?”), to which if the response is a negative, we often go to great lengths to ensure the respondent is taken care of. Coming here to Minnesota, I felt that the value of hospitality – of hosting others – that I have indirectly practiced throughout my life connects well with the Midwestern values emphasizing family, community, and togetherness.
My journey in the Art of Hosting began not too long ago – the summer of 2014. It is almost a year now, and I am constantly amazed at how the practice has provided me with a language to articulate some of my core values and beliefs, especially those around the creation and maintenance of a space for all to work in collaboration with others. It has also reminded me of something more fundamental – to host myself in order to host others. My dad would be proud to know that I am doing better at this – “bring your heart with you” is an advice he often gave me due to my propensity to ‘crash and burn’ in my service to others. He is right – if you cannot learn how to host yourself, you will not be at your 100% to be hosting others.
As a practitioner passionate in human-centered design, I look forward to hosting myself by being a part of a community that is eager to learn together. I am excited to join all of you at the Art of Hosting Beyond the Basics training – to form deeper connections, to learn openly and freely, and be inspired by the different ways we all work to make the world a better, more meaningful place to be in. I want to learn how to hold a space courageously in difficult times. I want to learn how I can bring my fullest self in the work I do – the parts of me that are my strengths and the bits that are weak and wobbly and in need of mending. I want to learn how we can be vulnerable with each other to build a strong foundation. I want to learn how we can be in sharing and listening and doing with each other in ways that connects us to our humanity.
Bring on May 6!