Aspects of life

Practice don’t Preach Theory U in 7 Breaths! 3rd Breath.



We open up our State of Being “emotion” within the safe listening space of Guest House Facilitation, and we effortlessly dive into “experiencing” and “sensing”.


Imagine we are spiritual beings (souls) on a journey to experience life on Earth in a physical body. Our Way of Being is our most important task. Theory U is a framework, a method for profound change and most of all a Way of Being, through which you can connect to the more authentic and higher aspects of yourself.

Today we embark on a learning journey to remember the capacity we have for “experiencing”. We gently open our State of Being emotion and with loving kindness we observe our judgments and connect more deeply with our soul’s purpose.

This article is one of a series of nine articles. The series reveals to you the magic of Guest House Facilitation, how it allows us to dance through Theory U, effortlessly and smoothly, in its precise time and its right space.

Dia17The first article facilitates our Guest House and brings awareness to this precious cosmic principle of the Life Pulse. The Life Pulse governs all of life in the Universe and also precisely governs all our processes and organizations.

The second article shape-shifts the “downloading” into a “processing of Self”. The key feature of this 1st breath is holding a Listening Space.

The third article extensively describes the 2nd breath. Opening reason facilitates by opening the intelligence of the brain, the “seeing” and “observing”. The key feature is curious asking: we begin to understand what we see.

From the diagram you can see that we have arrived at the 3rd Breath in the fourth article of this series.


Overview of the 3rd Breath

Dia05The 3rd Breath is again an inward movement of contraction (green on the following drawing), followed by a moment of stasis (red and at the inner edge of the U), continuing with an outward movement of expansion (blue) and coming to completion in another moment of stasis (again red and now at the outer edge of the U).

In the contraction we open our State of Being emotion in order for the “sensing” and “experiencing” to happen in the expansion. We continue our exploration in more detail.



We bring awareness to the inward movement and we prepare to open our State of Being: emotion.

Dia11Let’s have a look at the graphic representation of the dance between our soul and our body-mind and how they play with the three different States of Being: reason, emotion and will. They match the mind, heart and will used in the Theory U model. In body-mind we discern the physical body (yellow) and the energy field (blue+orange+green) which it generates. This energy field permeates the physical body and extends out of the body. The energy consciousness of our body-mind is intermingled with the energy consciousness of our soul. In this energy field there are three major States of Being, which are reason (blue) the upper part, emotion (orange) the front part and will (green) the back part. Mind in our vocabulary is the whole of all the States of Being, it is our reason+emotion+will and together they give form to our personality.


By opening emotion we open the front of our energy field. Chakras are vortices of energy in our energy field and they are portals. The chakras mark the areas with high neural activity in our physical body – the plexuses. Emotion is the State of Being related with the front aspects from the fifth to the second chakra.

Each chakra harbours a psychological function. The front aspect of the fifth chakra encompasses assimilating, taking responsibility, and deeply listening. The front aspect of the fourth chakra holds our capacity for love in relationships. The front aspect of the third chakra represents intuition and your ego sense of Self. The front aspect of the second chakra is the quality of Self, the experiencing of Self.

We open the front aspect of these portals or chakras fifth to second, one by one, in order to achieve an open State of Being with regard to emotion.

You can read more about our magnificent potential and the dance between our soul and our body-mind in my book Becoming What is Changing: Exposition.

Contraction is an inward movement, a deep connection within us, an opportunity for introspection and assimilation of what has happened to us and around us in the expansion phase. This inward movement can unfold when we are alone or in relationship. We can perform our daily activities from an inward perspective.

Our energy field can be everything from big and charged to small and weak depending on our personal process with regard to our defences.

At this moment in our Guest House the contraction phase can have the form of profound sharing, from an inward connection. We share from deep inside of ourselves in an ongoing introspection and reflection.

As we continue our dance through Theory U, with our reason and emotion open, we achieve the ability to genuinely observe ourselves and how we tend to project outside of ourselves, judge ourselves and others. We judge when the organization needs to be different, the system needs to be different, our partner needs to be different, our parents should have been different, we have to be different.

A good entrance point is to look at ourselves with compassion and try to find out what our underlying needs are. Which of our needs are unmet and prompt us to judge? The State of Being, emotion, enables us to hold ourselves with a great deal of love. By bathing ourselves in love and compassion, we are able to allow a deeper level of connectedness and can risk letting go of objectification. We objectify as long as we consider ourselves separate from what we observe which can be another being, an organization or a system.

As we complete this contraction, we arrive at the phase of stasis.



This stasis is a silence at the inner edge of the U, a place of being deep within our physical body. A moment of stasis in our Life Pulse is a good time to perform a ritual.

Dia24We connected with the group being at the start of our U in the 1st Breath. Often this is a good time to reconnect and to observe the differences in the connection.

We set our intention and commitment by aligning our soul channel. This soul channel is how we incarnate as a soul into this sacred physical body and how our soul starts the dance with our body-mind. It is our soul’s connection deeply grounded and supported through the core of the Earth, and inspired through our unique star in the Sky.

At this point I’ve observed that every participant is more able to notice the relationship with the group being.

The picture illustrates what happens. Each individual is much more connected to the group being: there is a nourishing of the group being and in turn individual beings are nourished by the group being. Each individual has changed the perspective of the soul (the blue dot) from the middle of the body-mind (the orange circle) to the edge of the body-mind. We all are more fully occupying our body-mind, as is the group being.

As we gather momentum for the next wave in stasis and without any agenda, we effortlessly reach a new level of perceiving.

The boundary between the organization, system, other and “us” that we are observing starts to vanish. The organization, system, other was the object of our attention at the start of our journey. We now begin to see how “we” are the organization. A deepening occurs and implies the redirection of attention from the object of our attention (the organization, the system, the other) to the process. This process is the energetic constellation of the group, it is our field, the group being of our workshop, training or gathering.

Stasis is not a non-movement, it is a silence that enables the movement to shift from inward to outward or vice versa. With each moment of stasis our soul and body-mind meet, greet each other, find each other and we connect with the field of endless possibilities deep within or far out in the Universe.

At this moment, in this 3rd Breath, we have arrived at our next wave of outward movement.



“Expansion” is an outward movement towards the other, towards life. We experience life in relationship. Our energy field can be expanded or contracted depending on what is happening to us and around us. The state of our energy field does not define the phase of the Life Pulse.

Whatever happens to us and around us can affect us, trigger our defences, our patterns and dynamics.

As our States of Being reason and emotion are open at this stage of Theory U, we automatically begin to see, sense and feel in our bodies. This is the “Sensing” phase (step 3) in the table below.

Step 1: “DOWNLOADING”: viewing the world through our habits of thought, allowing our current reality to surface. Re-structuring

Step 7: “PERFORMING”: achieve results through actions, embedding the new into the larger context


OPEN MIND: Re-designing

Step 2: “SEEING”: seeing reality with fresh eyes, suspend judgements, the system being observed is separate from those who observe

Step 6: “PROTOTYPING”: explore the future by doing, prototyping, enacting the new by being in dialogue with the Universe


OPEN HEART: Re-framing

Step 3: “SENSING”: the attention shifts to the inner way of seeing, from object to process. The boundary between observer and observed collapses.

Step 5: “CRYSTALLIZING”: the attention shifts from the inner vision to exterior action. Crystallising vision and intention, envisioning the new from the future that wants to emerge


OPEN WILL: Re-generating



Step 4: “PRESENCING”: Connection to the deepest source

As the host in Guest House Facilitation it is essential to keep your reason open, your emotion open and your will open. This is how you can follow the Life Pulse in the moment within the dynamic of your group.

The expansion is profound. In Guest House Facilitation we apply different practices to allow conversations that matter to effortlessly unfold. In the third article of this series we already touched into one of the New Space Technologies: Dynamic Facilitation. Dynamic Facilitation is a method invented by the genius of Jim Rough and is extensively described in Roza Zubizarreta’ book. Roza is a creative and inspired associate of the DF society, she wrote a useful manual on the principles of Dynamic Facilitation.

Dynamic Facilitation (DF) can be a catalyst in allowing participants to share with an open reason and emotion state of being. Participants engage simultaneously from their brain and their heart.

When something intuitively feels like a major contribution and one that requires a circle checking, I temporarily weaken the DF mode and switch to Circle Practice, a powerful and ancient form of gathering brought back into modern life by Ann Linea and Christina Baldwin. As I switch practices, I continue to take notes and to reflect what is said.

sensing xWe have a new graphic representation for this step and in Guest House Facilitation this refers to the dance between the soul and body-mind. The energy body of our soul now extends outside of the body-mind boundaries. You see the body-mind as an orange circle and the soul as the blue dots moving out of the safe container of the body-mind.

We move outwards in this expansion and deeply connect with each other. We experience in our body and at the same time the “sensing” happens from the whole field through the group being.



We are most definitely reaching out to a deeper sense of connectedness at the end of this expansion phase. And again we find ourselves at the outer edge of our U.

We perceive in a different way, we are part of a bigger whole, and this is no longer an observation, we really become part of this bigger whole. There is no longer objectification, we are one with all living beings.

Stasis is always a moment of gathering momentum for the next wave to come. We are charging the group being and we charge our own energy field.

We prepare to dive deep into our personal processes in the 4th Breath.


A real 3rd Breath experience

The picture shows you a real third breath, which took place during a Guest House Facilitation Training in Berlin, in November 2014.

3rd breathYou can see that walking is part of our inward movement. This helps us to deeply integrate and assimilate all that has already unfolded through the steps of “processing the Self” and “seeing”.

Guest House Facilitation includes the activities of daily life as part of the experience. This enables you to have an even deeper awareness of the Life Pulse.

In this deep, inward stasis, participants are invited to check where they are in their own Life Pulse.



This 3r Breath brings us already deep within the U.

We observe, observe and observe. We go to the places with the most potential and we listen with our reason and emotion open.

We are unfolding the capacity for ‘experiencing’. We use this tool of ‘experiencing’ to understand what we do with what happens to us and around us. It is an active sensing as a group and it is experiencing as an individual. Where are you, what is happening in this precious body you inhabit? We still hold a Listening Space and our ability for Curious Asking. We are approaching the reconnection with our soul’s purpose at the bottom of the U.

We recognize what we see and we begin to be able to put words on what we see. There is an intelligence emerging from our heart and we begin to acknowledge this intelligence. We see with our heart. And so far there is still a split between what we do and what we say and think. How can we walk our talk?

In order to establish this we move on to the 4th breath and we sink into the “groan zone”.

Sam Kaner and his colleagues first introduced the term “groan zone” in 1998. They define the “groan zone” as a natural period of confusion in the process of participatory decision-making when difficult issues are on the agenda.


Much more is to come in the fifth article of this series next week.

If you like this series, please share it with your friends and colleagues.

Comments and stories are very welcome.

With love and appreciation


GHF V in action 1



This series of nine articles could only arise with the amazing assistance of all those magnificent people who attended a Guest House Facilitation workshop or training. They provided me with wonderful experiences that contribute to our dance through the U. One of the participants, Elaine McGoogan co-created in a delightful way through her excellent and fluid editing work!

VEERLE DE BOCK is a social entrepreneur, a change-maker, physician, healer, facilitator, trainer, coach and author of the trilogy, Becoming What is Changing. She spent nearly three decades of her life as a physician specializing in geriatric care, including a 21-year career as department head in an Antwerp regional hospital. In 2003, she began her study as an energetic healer, teacher, process facilitator and supervisor at the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, and since 2007 has been leading many other trainees to master these same skills. In 2010 she was trained in the practice of Dynamic Facilitation by Jim Rough, which she now incorporates into her workshops and training sessions. In 2012 she decided to devote her work exclusively to writing, facilitation and coaching. That same year, she devised a new integrative practice of facilitation she calls ‘Guest House Facilitation’, that helps teams learn how to listen and utilise both the inner and outer processes within their organisation, to see it as a dynamic and living organism, and to reconnect to its intrinsic purpose and intention. Her book, Becoming What is Changing: Exposition, is the first part of a trilogy aimed at managers, team leaders and responsible employees who wish to bring this kind of transformation into the workplace, so they can create an environment where people are happy, satisfied and continuously growing.