Providing appreciative space

Appreciative space is a state of mind that transforms situations. This outlook sees so much good in everything that it all seems perfect. The space allows for anything and everything to happen within it without objections. This context of acceptance and appreciation has a very different effect from intolerance and control.

We cannot provide appreciative space by thinking about a situation. Our thinking is designed to deal with dangers, threats and enemies. Rather than allowing everything, thinking automatically maintains our defenses, attacks our antagonists and colludes with our apparent allies. Thinking resists what appears and has the inadvertent effect of maintaining what it finds objectionable.

Changing states of mind to provide appreciative space has been compared to changing states of H20: solid, liquid, condensed, and gaseous.

Ice: When our consciousness is like ice, we are solidly opposed to something. We are stuck on a position that cannot allow or accept contradictory evidence. Our ability to change our mind and see other viewpoints is frozen like a deer in headlights. In stories we are a blocking character that meets the protagonist with adversity at every turn.

Rivers: When our conscious runs like a river, we have a one track mind. We go after our goal with a vengeance. We stick to the straight and narrow rut, avoiding distractions and detours. We stay on course to make steady progress that opposes stagnation, stability and the status quo. Our ability to change our mind is in flight from dangers of being wrong, vulnerable or misguided. We are not stopped by ice or rocks in our way. In stories, we are the protagonist who heroically overcomes obstacles with determination and objectivity.

Clouds: When our consciousness is permeable like fog, mist or cloud banks, we allow for many points of view. We explore subjective interpretations and alternative ways of relating to the facts. We use metaphors, analogies and stories to capture the variety of perspectives coming into play. Our ability to change our mind is fighting against single-mindedness and over-confidence. We are not stopped by ice or torrents of water. In stories we are the wise counselor that drifts in and out of the plot unpredictably.

Humidity: When our conscious extends everywhere like clear air, we provide appreciative space. We include all possibilities as allowable and understandable. We see the inherent processes unfolding perfectly. We value all other states of mind as the harmless experiences they truly are. We can go anywhere and everywhere in our minds to get what we need at any moment. We give this freedom we found in abundance to others in our space.

Have a clear day!


  1. Brilliant article. I just had a freeze-thaw-evaporate experience as I allowed the content to seep into my inner being. An open mind is truly the genius of learning and growing.

  2. Herman: Thanks for reflecting back the intention of this metaphor so playfully. May more evaporation come your way today :-)