CULTIVATING COMMUNITY ~ Chap. 17 ~ Unlocking Our Superpowers
2. The Keys to Community Organizing
3. The Spheres of Interaction, Influence, and Interconnection
4. Asking for Support
5. The Magic of Gatherings
6. Community Building Activities
a. The Coalescence
b. Additional Ideas / Guidelines for a Circle
c. The Gift Circle
Teamwork makes the dream work! I truly believe this with all my heart. I have seen so many amazing projects, events, and healing happen when a group of like-minded / hearted people work together towards a common goal. To paraphrase a quote from Rob Hopkins, leader of the “Transition Town Movement” : “If we wait for Government to make change, it will be too late. If we try to make change only as individuals, it will be too little. But if we make changes as unified Communities, it will be just enough, just in time!”
Ever since I returned from the bike trip in late 2010, I decided to dedicate myself to “Cultivating Community” in my hometown of Peaceburgh, and anywhere else I have traveled. I’ve led hundreds of circles, workshops, and activities geared towards bringing together a group for a common goal. My heart and mind have been amazed at the incredible connections, friendships, and practical projects that have been birthed through this process. I will forever support the Superpowers involved with Building Community. Here are a few key insights I’ve gathered in my 6 or so years of practicing and studying this area :
The Keys To Community Organizing
1. Make Friends First
If you are networking with people in your area, or a new zone, it’s important to connect with people on a friendly, human level before trying to build a business or project together. You can still share your mission or vision, but if you bypass the basics of human connection, then I doubt many people will want to work with you. I recommend taking it slow and developing friendships with people in your community, rather than rushing into trying to transform things at a rapid rate. The best projects I’ve co-created have come from a group of people who are very comfortable with each other and carry a deep sense of love and trust.
2. Fake It Til' You Make It
Nobody gave me official permission - nor did I take any official training - to become a “Community Organizer.” I simply saw that there was a desire within my group of friends to have regular community-building events, so I began organizing them. I contacted a local church that was open to letting groups use their space, and started scheduling “Gift Circles”, which are an amazing tool for connecting people and developing practical forms of giving and receiving. (More on Gift Circles later in this chapter.)
3. Facilitate What Wants To Happen, Connect The Dots
Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, it is important to research what projects, venues, and types of people are ALREADY in action in your community. I recommend spending a few weeks visiting “hot spots” and attending a variety of events in order to take stock of what projects are already in motion. As you visit these different places, you are assisting in weaving the web / connecting the dots of the “conscious tribe.”
Then, you can get a sense of what “wants to happen” and you can facilitate that process in your area. For example, you may discover that there are already 4 Community Gardens in your city, but there is no common way for those 4 groups to connect, so you could create a monthly Potluck (where everyone brings a dish or food to share and eat together). Or you could host a Film Screening and invite people from all 4 gardens.
4. Remind, Remind, Remind
When you are hosting or creating an event, it is very important to remind people several times. Although you may be afraid of annoying people with more than 1 email, I’ve always found that people are grateful to receive reminders. Personal calls are most effective if you want a specific person to show up. Text messages are most effective for reaching a group of people. Group emails are also very beneficial. Facebook Events are great, especially for drawing in new people and friends you’ve recently made. It’s key to remember that not everyone checks Facebook invites, so sending a personal message can be a good addition. I recommend sending one final reminder the day before the event, because most people are quite busy nowadays and appreciate the extra mental note :)
5. Empower Others to Give Their Gifts
The best way to build a strong community is to find ways for everyone to give what they are most passionate about / skilled at. It is an amazing gift to help people develop their gifts and find ways to put them into action. The Gift Circle is a great tool for this (explained in next section).
6. Everyone Is A Participant
I believe the new paradigm of events is to have interactive settings where everyone participates. Rather than a crowd of people listening to one or two people give a lecture, I recommend finding activities that empower everyone to use their Heads, Hands, and Hearts. Sitting in a circle is a great first step, and doing a group stretching warm-up engages people in a dynamic, embodied way. Allowing everyone to share their voice and perspective taps into the “Collective Genius,” which states that the group is always smarter than any one person is individually.
7. Remember Why You Do The Work You Do
It is important to remember the “Why” of the project or work you are doing. This will keep you motivated and focused, while helping you to get through challenging times. If you are having Weekly Potlucks at your home, it’s good to remember the time when you heard the heartfelt gratitude from one of the participants who said it was the highlight of her entire week. These little pieces of feedback are priceless and can keep you inspired to continue hosting events.
8. Keep Telling The New Story, and Brainstorming How to Keep it Growing
As you Cultivate Community in your area, you can use the power of speech to “Speak things into Being,” which means that by telling the story of what’s happening you are literally making it more real, concrete, and tangible. By going to other events and saying “Yeah, we are hosting weekly Potlucks to unify all the Community Gardens,” you create a buzz in your area, which leads to more people talking about the event and ultimately more people attending the Potlucks.
It is beneficial to be an optimist, and tell the “New Story” of what is happening in your town. Rather than focusing on the status quo, or the way things have gone in the past, you can be a storyteller with a new vision of how the future can look. This “New Story” represents the “Thriving Tree” from the “Tale of the Two Trees,” that I shared in an earlier chapter. The roots of the tree represent the new, holistic Cultural Beliefs, and the trees / branches represent the incredible projects and manifestations that you co-create as a community. By living and telling this story, you can be a beacon of hope and inspiration for many. This also includes doing your best to cultivate a personal lifestyle that matches this “Thriving Tree / New Story.”
I invite you to engage others in brainstorming a “Best Case Scenario” for how your town could transform in one year, five years, and ten years. In 5 years of Community Building in Peaceburgh, I have seen absolutely astonishing transformation in the forms of friendships, projects, businesses, and much more. Many people doubted my efforts in the beginning, but I remained persistent, and was fueled by both my inner dedication and all the little pieces of feedback and gratitude I witnessed along the way.
9. Amplify Impact With Pictures, Videos, Social Media
To assist in telling the New Story, I recommend finding someone with a high-quality camera to take photos / videos at your events / gatherings. The precious moments and connections can be both preserved and amplified through this process. Social Media is an amazing tool for increasing the impact of your efforts. Even if only 5 people show up to an event, hundreds or even thousands can experience a taste of it if you utilize these tools properly. In a few months of Cultivating Community, I co-created around 50 YouTube videos and hundreds of photographs, which I shared regularly via Facebook and email. These photos and videos demonstrated that a group of people were “Living a New Story” and inspired many people who hadn’t previously heard of what we were doing. I can’t tell you how many times people came up to me and said, “I saw your video on YouTube, or photos on Facebook, and that led me to show up today!”
10. Trust The Process and Don't Get Discouraged
It is important to trust in the larger process of Cultivating Community. Sometimes I would get overwhelmed and stressed while trying to pull a big event together. In these times, I had to simply surrender and trust that everything would figure itself out. Ultimately, I believe Humanity is one super-organism, and we are each cells within this larger body. Thus, it is helpful to trust that there are larger forces at play, and that Pachamama and Great Spirit are guiding the process. We don’t have to do all the work! This also helps me remember not to rush, and to savor all the subtleties and mini-miracles along the way. By trusting the process, I am able to relax into the Present Moment, and make eye contact with each person I engage with, rather than being flustered or overwhelmed.
Tying in with trust, I invite you to keep the faith. Don’t get discouraged! If you step into a role as a Community Organizer, your faith will be tested time and time again. I’ve hosted many events where only a handful of people showed up when I expected a large group. I’ve also had many people upset at me for a zillion reasons, simply because I assumed a role of leadership. These things can be extremely disheartening, especially when you put a lot of time and energy into serving the community. The key is to keep your heart and mind open during challenging situations and do your best to find solutions.
12. There Are No Mis-takes, only Takes, and Non-Takes
If things don’t go as planned, I can guarantee you will learn something beneficial to put in your “Community Building Tool Belt.” Therefore, I say there are no Mis-takes, only Takes and Non-Takes. So often, people won’t take action, or hesitate to organize an event, because they are afraid that it won’t turn out “perfectly.” I encourage you to break through “perfectionism” and simply put your energy towards serving the community, and trust that some good will come as a result.
There are 4 Principles related to this, which are derived from a Community Building Activity that I learned during the Transition Town Training back in 2011 :
1. Whoever shows up are the right people for the event.
2. Whatever time it starts, it starts.
3. Whatever time it ends, it ends.
4. Whatever happens is good :)
These may seem like principles for a lazy person, but they are very helpful if you tend to beat yourself up for not reaching high-expectations. Also, these 4 principles are great to apply at social events like Potlucks, Gift Circles, and Networking Events. I recommend giving organizing an event your full effort, but don’t be attached to specific results. Usually, I find that the quality of the event and personal connections are more important than the quantity of people in attendance.
13. Always Seek Balance
Burnout is all too common amongst Community Organizers. Many people “bite off more than they can chew” and try to change a whole system in a short amount of time. With this in mind, it is paramount to cultivate self-care and holistic health practices so that you stay balanced in body, mind, and spirit. I recommend seeking balance in all areas of life. The inner transformation goes hand in hand with the outer transformation. I see them as a feedback loop / infinity sign, where by changing yourself, you change your community and vice-versa. Both sides are equally important.
It is also important to balance work and play while organizing events, etc. I like to say “Work + Play = the Way.” Make sure your planning “coalescences” aren’t overly serious, or everyone will become too stressed out. It’s also key not to get too silly and lose sight of the practical, grounded action steps necessary to accomplish your goals. In all things, seek balance :)
---- For more Keys to Cultivating Community, I recommend researching the Transition Town Movement. Here are some of the Guiding Principles : www.transitionnetwork.org/about/principles
I also invite you to watch the Mini-Documentary I co-created about Cultivating Community in my hometown of Peaceburgh : Search “Cultivating Community Official Film” on YouTube :)
The spheres of Interaction, Influence, and Interconnection
As you interact with your Community, it is beneficial to have awareness of the various different spheres that you are completely interconnected with. Ultimately the goal is to have a harmonious relationship with each aspect of these spheres. For example, if you focus too much on transforming your outer community, you can neglect your personal or close family sphere. If you are too uptight about having your direct personal life in perfect order, then you may forget about the joy and freedom of interacting with your tribe! The main keys to remember are Awareness and Balance :) Here is how I like to visualize the spheres of Interaction, Influence, and Interconnection :
Asking for Support
I wrote this with 4 days left in my Crowdfunding Campaign for the New Eyes Tour :
October 25th, 2014 @ 7:55pm : I’m gonna be perfectly honest here... My life is dedicated to the service of humanity. Ever since I was hit by a car in 2010, and my life flashed before my eyes in a Near Death Experience, the only thing that has made sense is to contribute all my energy towards the upliftment of our planet.
Every day I am grateful and humbled by the feedback I receive from people who are profoundly impacted by what I share. I can no longer shrug off the sacred responsibility and path that comes with letting the Universe work through me.
I don't need any awards, trophies, or special treatments. I am simply asking you and the Universe at large to support my basic needs so I can keep growing and walking my path. The work I do is not easily quantified in the mainstream economic system, and so it has been challenging to figure out a sustainable model of financial support.
I created the New Eyes Tour campaign to crowdfund the next phase of my journey. It has 4 days left, and I am sincerely asking for your support. Every little bit helps, and adds to the momentum. Please share the New Eyes Album as well. Even if we've never met in person, please know that I appreciate you, and I'm asking for your help too.
I felt fairly vulnerable putting myself out to the world and requesting support for this project. It was a bit like climbing out on a skinny limb of a tree. I didn’t know if the tribe would support my vision, but I decided to have faith, and so I “went out on a limb.” After a month of campaigning I received contributions from around 80 people from all over the world. I didn’t meet my original goal, though I raised enough to complete the New Eyes Album and go on tour. Most importantly I let myself be vulnerable by asking for support, and my prayers were answered. Asking for Support is key in Building Community, because it dissolves the illusions of separation and brings the tribe together for a common purpose.
3 Questions on Asking for Support :
1. When have you received support after becoming vulnerable and asking?
2. Did the support come in the way you expected?
3. What would have been different had you not asked?
The Magic of Gatherings
September 23rd, 2013 @ 11:25pm : Wowza! I just returned from the festival called Symbiosis. Nestled on a gorgeous peninsula in Northern California, thousands of beings of all ages coalesced for a truly transformative sharing of music, knowledge, outrageous foods, visionary artwork, ceremony, Permaculture, stories, and infinite inspiration!
Experiencing the live performances of "Medicine for the People" and "Rising Appalachia" amidst the glowing yellow moon were two of the most jaw dropping, consciousness raising hours of my entire life…
The entire audience sang along, moved in unison, and synergistically fueled the musicians on stage... My mind was blown, heart expanded, and my spirit overflowed with inspiration!
I had already loved both bands' music from listening online, but seeing them live was like a blind person regaining their perception of color :) Seriously, their music is medicine for the soul.
...Many more lessons, blessings, and inspiring information to come from this epic gathering...I love you all and it’s time to take our sacred activism to the next level :)
Satnam namaste om shanti om
Here is a quote about Transformational Festivals from a friend who inspires me tremendously, Maraya Karena :
“I came to festivals from an activist background, burned out and questioning whether peace was even possible. What I saw at festivals was a way of living with others and the planet in a loving, creative, and sustainable way. Almost as if the festival was a space for enacting possibilities of what that world would look like. I saw peace, I felt peace, I was peace.
Those experiences completely shifted my motivation from reacting to the horrors of the world to becoming inspired by a vision of what could be and what already was. It made me realize that this vision, the world I had in mind, includes all of these elements that are present at festivals. Yoga, organic food, stretch fabric architecture, communication workshops. And that it could be - simply - people going forward with their lives, trusting their transformation and following their excitement that brings this world into being…”
Here is another Facebook post inspired by the magic of gatherings from December 9th, 2014 @ 9:38pm : I often ponder what is the purpose of humans being on this planet. We build big skyscrapers, we get married, we go on vacation, but why are we really here?
It is not easy to make sense of the Great Mystery of life on Planet Earth. I've been a seeker for many years, and once and awhile I feel like I'm close to an "answer." Usually this happens, when I am sitting out in the wilderness around a fire with a bunch of friends.
All the distractions of the modern age melt away as we sing songs and stare at the "ancient television" called a Bonfire. One experience where I felt true communion with the Web of Life and a deep sense of purpose was at a gathering in North Carolina this summer.
A group of 30 of us sat around a bonfire, and two phenomenal songwriters, Alokananda and Eila Scott Rafkin led heartsongs, freestyles, and jams. Everyone in the circle was singing or drumming along, and the feeling of "tribe" was palpable.
3 Questions on the Magic of Gatherings :
1. What vivid memories come to you from a special gathering or event?
2. What was so special about this moment of connection with community?
3. What types of gatherings / events do you feel inspired to co-create?
COMMUNITY BUILDING ACTIVITIES
Here are a few practical and super-powerful tools / activities, which I have personally experienced and explored extensively in my 6 years of Community Building. These tools and activities have facilitated more friendships, smiles, and amazing projects than I could possibly keep track of. I am honored to be able to share what has worked so well in the communities I’ve been a part of, and I’m excited for you to begin implementing them in your area :)
Rather than a “Meeting,” a Coalescence serves a very similar purpose, but has a slightly different energy and intention. The word “Meeting” often carries a certain connotation of heaviness and seriousness, whereas the word “Coalescence” is fresh and is therefore open to become something new. A Coalescence is essentially a group of people (usually between 3 and 15) coming together for a common purpose. Each Coalescence can have a unique intention, and depending on the group, they can decide what guidelines they would like to follow. This tool can be used to plan / organize an event, to discuss a conflict happening in your community, or for a variety of other intentions.
Here is an overview of the basic Coalescence Steps / Guidelines that we usually follow :
1. Designate Specific Roles : Facilitator, Scribe, Timekeeper
2. Set up the Space
3. Open the Circle / Introductions / Check-In’s
4. Create the Playlist
5. Delegate Time for each Playlist item
6. Go into each Playlist item
7. Closing : Intentions / Action Steps
8. Clean - Up
Here is a bit more info on each of these Steps / Guidelines :
1. Designate Specific Roles : Facilitator, Scribe, Timekeeper :
The Facilitator’s job is to have a “Bird’s Eye View” over the entire Coalescence. This includes having a sense of each participant’s mood / energy that they are emanating throughout the Coalescence. If someone is clearly burrowing a powerful emotion, it may be necessary for the facilitator to ask him or her to share what’s up for them.
The Scribe writes down all of the Playlist items, and takes notes throughout the Coalescence, emailing them to everyone afterwards. The Timekeeper keeps track of the time throughout the Coalescence. This includes a 1-3 minute check-in at the beginning, and the time delegated to each Playlist item. The Timekeeper can have a bell or chime to ding in order to gently notify people if their time is up. Generally, we like to be flexible with time, though we also like to honor that some people may have other engagements planned. We usually aim for a 1-2 hr. Coalescence.
2. Set up the Space :
We always sit in a circle, usually on the ground, preferably on Pachamama if it is relatively warm outside. We usually create a mini-altar and put sacred items like crystals, necklaces, or other art in the center. This helps to keep a strong center and clear intention for the Coalescence. We often share food beforehand, though we usually set it aside once the Coalescence begins.
3. Open the Circle / Introductions / Check-In’s :
We put our hands out and thumbs to the left, for a “Moment of Being” where we simply join energies and feel present together. Putting left hand up and right hand down allows for energy to flow around the circle. This enables us to “drop into” the space, and literally allow the magnetic field of our hearts to begin to synchronize with one another. The “Moment of Being” is usually between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. When the Facilitator feels it is over, he / she can invite everyone to raise their hands and exclaim something fun like “Happy Tuesday!”
Next, we pass around a “Speaking / Listening Object” such as a feather, stone, or stick. This object designates that whomever holding it is speaking, and everyone else is asked to give them their full attention. Each person shares their name and does a 1-3 minute “Check-In.” The Check-In can answer any or all of these questions : Why are you here today? How are you feeling mentally / physically / emotionally / spiritually? What is your intention for today’s Coalescence?
4. Create the Playlist :
The Playlist is an alternative term for “Agenda.” The Playlist covers all the topics that we want to discuss in the Coalescence, which the Scribe writes down.
5. Delegate Time for each Playlist item :
First, the group decides how long they want the entire Coalescence to last. Then, they prioritize which Playlist items are most important to cover, and how much time to spend on each one. Some Playlist items can be put on a back burner until a future Coalescence, or they can be discussed by group members outside of the Coalescence.
6. Go into each Playlist item :
The Facilitator guides the process of exploring and discussing each of the Playlist items. The Speaking / Listening Object is passed around to support everyone sharing their voice. It also ensures that everyone else is listening intently so they can hear other perspectives. It is so beautiful to witness the Collective Genius at play during a Coalescence. The Collective Genius states that we are always smarter as a group than any one individual is. It is also referred to as the “Hivemind.” Often, one person’s idea will build off another, which sparks a synchronistic group realization, which leads to a burst of hysterical laughter! This happened a lot when we were planning our 5th annual Peaceful Gathering of Hands in 2015. Our Collective Genius kept empowering us to co-create the most amazing event possible.
The Scribe takes notes of the key insights for each Playlist item as the Facilitator guides the overall process of allowing everyone to speak. If multiple people all want to speak, the Facilitator can create a “Stack,” where he / she keeps track of and tells the people which order they can individually speak in.
7. Closing : Intentions / Action Steps :
After the main Playlist items are covered, it is good for the Facilitator or Scribe to give a brief recap of what the group expressed / decided. After this, the Speaking / Listening Object is passed around, as each group member does a “Check-Out.” This usually includes their Intentions moving forward until the next Coalescence. It is beneficial to share specific Action Steps that you plan to take as a way to turn the Ideal into the Real Deal and make yourself accountable in front of the group. Lastly, we put our thumbs to the left again and join hands for a final “Moment of Being.” This seals the Coalescence in the same way we opened it : in sacred silence and simplicity.
8. Clean - Up :
It is important to “leave the space better than we found it.” We make sure that everyone reclaims any items that were placed in the center. We clean up any trash / recycling / compost that was created at the Coalescence. If there is a simple way to give back to the space where we gathered, we usually do that. This way, we maintain a good relationship with any venue offering their space to us. Yay! Coalescences are so freaking awesome, because we get shit done and have fun :)
Additional Ideas / Guidelines for a circle
The Coalescence and The Gift Circle (explained next in this chapter) are 2 fabulous Community Building Tools that I’ve experienced great success with. Both of those 2 Circles hold many of the core Guidelines that I find important, such as beginning with Check-In’s and ending with Check-Outs, and using a Speaking / Listening Object. There are many other groups with tried and true techniques. I will share a few that resonate with me. These are inspired and adapted from the PeerSpirit Inc., the Millionth Circle, and the Center for Restorative Process.
1. Speak From Your Heart : The primary teaching here is to speak from your own personal experience. Rather than offering others advice, you can share what has or hasn’t worked well for you.
2. Listen From Your Heart : Do your best to let go of judgments and assumptions, so that you can empathize with each person and hear their unique perspective. You are encouraged to still have your own personal preferences and perspective, but to use “discernment” rather than an emotionally charged judgment. When you practice this, it allows for the possibility of making new discoveries and connections with fellow group members. This also ties in with the next key of “No Need to Rehearse,” because when you are planning out what to say next, you are usually missing out on hearing what another group member is saying.
3. No Need To Rehearse : This is a practice of trusting the moment. Rather than planning everything in advance, non-rehearsal allows you to speak from your heart. It also assists you in not getting overly analytical.
4. Without Feeling Rushed, Say Just Enough : This practice invites you to be concise, direct, and precise with what you share. This usually makes what you share more impactful, rather than a drawn-out, watered down version.
5. Use The Power of “The Pause” : If you feel like things are getting chaotic, or overly emotionally charged, you can call a “Pause,” where everyone sits in silence for a minute or two until you say “Unpause.” This allows for everyone to remain centered, breathing deep, and present in the circle.
6. Decide as a Group What is to be Held in Confidence : Some people may want to keep what they share in the circle confidential, so it’s important to discuss this at the beginning of the circle, and make agreements so that everyone feels safe.
The Gift Circle
A powerful Community Building Tool that fosters friendships and helps cultivate the Local Economy.
Facilitator : Keeps the overall flow of the Gift Circle on track. The Facilitator can interject different insights and perspectives that will support the group in staying focused while also keeping a playful spirit.
Time Keeper : Keeps track of the start time, end time, and lets people know when their minute or so of speaking is up. It is important for the entire group to agree on a time frame for the circle, so that everyone is on the same page. Then, the Timekeeper divides that length of time between the 4 rounds, with rounds 2 and 3 being about equal in length, and rounds 1 and 4 being about equal in length. Depending on the size of the group, we usually aim for the Gift Circle duration to be between 1.5 and 2 hours.
Scribe : This person writes down the Needs, Gifts, and Offerings, as well as the emails of everyone in the Gift Circle, and emails all the notes to everyone afterwards. The Follow-Up email is very important as a way to solidify the Gift Circle. It’s also useful if you forgot to get someone’s contact info. Lastly, you may discover a few days after the Gift Circle that you actually do need a new lamp, so then you can call Dolores, who was offering 3 antique lamps!
---- It is important for each person in the circle to have a small paper and pen, so they can jot down notes of whom they want to connect with afterwards and for what reason.
Round 1 :
Everyone shares their name, and answers some sort of Icebreaker question such as “Why did you come to the Gift Circle tonight?” Another fun activity is for each person to share a random sound, which everyone in the group then repeats. This gets people relaxed, smiling, and helps people to get to know each other a bit more. If it feels right, you can utilize a “Speaking / Listening Object,” such as a feather, stick, or stone to designate who is speaking.
Round 2 :
Each person shares 1 or 2 things that they Need / Want / Would like from the Community. These can be Material or Non-Material, and Short-term or Long-term. For example, I could go to the Gift Circle looking for someone to cut my hair, or help me fix my bicycle. You can usually find someone at the Gift Circle who can directly or indirectly help you meet your Need / Want. It is truly amazing how people will show up with the most seemingly random desires and questions, and they almost always find someone to connect with about it.
Round 3 :
Each person shares 1 or 2 things they have to Offer : Gifts, Skills, Resources, or Ideas. Just like the Needs, these Offerings can be Material or Non-Material, and Short-term or Long-term. For example, some people may have their time and energy as a volunteer to offer, whereas others may have a specific gift such as cooking lessons, computer maintenance, or foot massages :)
---- Rounds 2 and 3 are often intertwined because Needs and Gifts can go hand in hand. For example if Susan has a big garden in her backyard, she may need people to help her with weeding, and she also has raspberries and tomatoes to give to anyone who assists her.
During rounds 2 and 3, the Scribe writes down each person’s name, what that person wants to Receive, and what they have to Give. The Facilitator holds the intention and flow of the Gift Circle in balance. It’s okay if some group conversations break out for a little bit, but the Facilitator should ask people to follow-up after the circle is over if the conversation lasts more than a minute or two. Everyone in the circle should keep their paper and pen handy so they know who to exchange contact info with after the circle.
Round 4 :
Each person shares intentions of who they plan to connect with and for what reason. These intentions can also pertain to day-to-day life. So, I could say, “I plan to connect with Joseph to learn about Astrology, to help Allison with her upcoming Speech, and in my daily life, I intend to exercise with more intensity!” Each person can also share 1 or 2 things they are grateful for. This centers everyone in their heart, and brings together the energy of the Gift Circle in a beautiful way. I recommend closing with a group OM, or a big group hug :)
By the end of the Gift Circle, usually everyone has fallen in love with each other. This is the time for follow-up conversations, and for people to exchange contact info so they can take action on their Needs / Gifts. If people brought snacks or other things to share, this is a great opportunity to simply hang out. It’s important to honor the venue of the Gift Circle. The Facilitator can help organize people to cleanup whatever things need to be returned to their proper place such as chairs, dishes, etc.
I’ve seen the Gift Circle work miracles time and time again! I’ve witnessed friendships blossom, deep needs be met through community, and people with amazing gifts find ways to put them into service. These are the basic guidelines, which have worked in the groups I’ve facilitated. I invite you to experiment with them, and potentially adapt them if you find it necessary. Have fun :) Also, for some great video testimonials, and more insights, check out the “Gift Circle Playlist” on my “Philo Flows Lila Rose” YouTube Channel, which shows footage from a variety of Gift Circles across the country!
From biking across America to growing an epic tribe in my Hometown of Peaceburgh, I’ve learned over and over again, that “It takes a tribe.” The times of trying to do everything alone are over. The age of Collaboration and Co-creation is upon us. Festivals, Collaborative Workspaces, Networking Events, etc. are becoming more popular every day, as we realize the power of the Collective Genius. I believe that the Golden Key to accelerate the Evolution of Humanity is “Cultivating Community.” Although sometimes I get depressed at the state of the World, I have seen and participated in the incredible Power of Community too many times to give up. I know that WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!
My vision is for a Global Village Network of Conscious Change Agents. The great news is that this Network and Movement already exists! The secret is that we go by so many different names, that we don't always collaborate or co-create in the best way.
My vision is that each town / city will have a Core Council of Leaders / Experts in a variety of fields. Community Organizers, Permaculturalists, Healers, Elders, Web Designers, Indigenous Representatives and more will make up this Core Council that will be the "steering committee" for each town.
This Network / Movement will be rooted in a foundation of New Cultural Beliefs and Values. We will still honor the richness and diversity of local cultures, while prioritizing key common values of Interconnectedness, Co-Creation, Ecological Balance, Non-Violence, and Indigenous Wisdom throughout our global network.
Each town / city will have a Directory (both online and in print) that lists all the Groups, Leaders, Businesses, Projects, and Events that embody the New Cultural Values. This way, each town will have a unified sense of "THIS IS REAL. THIS IS HAPPENING. WE ARE ACTUALLY DOING THIS." This way, College Students, Filmmakers, Philanthropists, Traveling Musicians, etc. can easily plug into the Network of each town, and lend their unique skills towards this collaborative mission.
There will also be a connected network of Intentional Communities, Retreat Centers, and Permaculture Farms all around the world, for people of all ages to lend their gifts and skills to. This is already in action and continuing to develop through an amazing group called “Project Nuevo Mundo.” ( www.numundo.org )
I sincerely invite and encourage you to link up with like-minded people and groups in your area. ( Check out the list of Movements / Groups in the last chapter of this book “Web of Infinite Inspiration” ) If you can’t find very many people in your town, then perhaps you are meant to be the Web-Weaver! It is such a blessing to weave community, and I hope that the tools in this chapter can be of service to you and your tribe!
To get your own personal copy of "Unlocking Our Superpowers," here is the link to Amazon : https://tinyurl.com/y8oj7zov