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This is our fourth conversation based on the model developed by Peter Block in Community: The Structure of Belonging, building on the "Dissent", "Possibility" and "Ownership" conversations we hosted in May, June and July respectively. Once again, we are delighted to welcome back co-hosts Eric and Elaine Hansen, who have worked extensively with Block, and are masters of this form.
The invitation conversation is considered to be the most important of the Six Conversations in this approach. Unlike the other five, it is not one that is engaged in once the group has convened. Rather, it is quite literally the invitation to join the gathering itself, as well as a concept that can extend into our lives more generally as a way of engaging with one another.
We explore this concept of "invitation as a way of being" by inviting YOU to join us as a fellow "steward" of Occupy Cafe. You can think of this as both an actual invitation (it is!) and as an opportunity for experiential learning regarding this set of concepts in general.
There are five elements to this form of invitation, two of which relate to its content and three of which concern the way in which it is extended. We offer the content elements--which consist of naming the possibility around which we are gathering and the hurdle (or price) that is required should you choose to accept the invitation-- for your consideration below [please note that this is a "working draft," and part of our goal here is to explore ways to refine it together]:
We wish to invite you to expand your participation into "stewardship" of the Cafe. It is perfectly fine to say "no," of course (we won't hold it against you!). Know, however, that you, and the unique gifts you have to offer this community, will be missed if you decline. We would also like to extend this invitation in a more personal manner, so if you have any interest in exploring this possibility with us, please let us know and we will arrange for a one-one conversation.
We are weaving a community of people aligned around a shared belief in the possibility that we can and must co-create a world that works for all. The community co-creates and stewards hospitable space in which we invite the world to engage in compassionate and appreciative dialogue to:
- Learn more about the various dimensions of systemic transformation that might be possible
- Foster meaningful connections that enhance the resilience and functionality of the broader network of change agents and those who wish to support them
- Provide a laboratory for innovation that supports our ability to work together and to "be the change we wish to see in the world," including experimentation with new models of economic exchange, governance.
The Hurdle (required price/exchange):
- Listen deeply and seek to understand before we react or respond
- Tend to relationships, paying as much attention to how we engage with others as to what it is we engage about, with a core commitment to practicing nonviolence
- Offer an exchange (of money, services, or both) in return for the value we receive and in support of the growth of this work.
As always, we invite you to begin the conversation right now on this forum, and to continue it here once our call is complete. We would like to start our discussion of "invitation as a way of being" by considering the core distinction it offers with approaches based on "mandate" or "persuasion:"
Photo by Maria Guimares via GroupWorksDeck.org
This sounds more like a recipe for excluding rather than including. I have to say that such a society would have no appeal for me. It sounds very much like the one we are living in right now, - incarcerating the ones that don't fit in, (may be arranging to dispose of others when it is too expensive to keep them?)
There is still the question of who decides who is unfit.
It's complex to talk about this, and I suspect I'm not very good at explaining my thoughts using only words.
No matter what it sounds like, it isn't my intention to exclude anyone who doesn't want to be excluded... and even then its hard to imaging how anyone can be truly excluded because, by proximity and utility, we are all included on this shared earth.
I guess the incongruity alludes to those not wanting to live among others (or those who can't live among others without being harmful to them) but still sharing in products and resources. And besides, even if they are harmful we must still find ways to coexist.
Questions are the best reaction to have, when in a situation that has plenty of problems. My sense of inquiry is that it works best in an atmosphere of friendship, and when being tentative about what I know, and seeking the right question.
I attempted to be the scribe for a group I was monitoring. I did not take notes on the first conversation -- Why was it important for you to be here. Here are my notes from the conversation around the question. what do you find compelling about the invitation.
Circularity can be confusing. Americans like linearity. Also - It’s not easy to be vulnerable.
Can be myself and contribute – group that is safe and I can be myself.
I am not sure about the hurdle for being non-violent. May want to be excluded.
What does non-violence mean?
Doing no harm – can agree to. Complexity of non-violence. If I promise to be non-violent, might lead to being a coward – not where I want to head.
Love the idea of co-creation. Find it exciting.
Inspiring – people working together to co-create future. Models are unilateral – people feel not value and hear. Co-creation values everyone. – all creativity, all contributions.
Trained to convert. Learning all over again.
Testing – can there be a group like. Can I really be accepted? Can I accept everyone else? Who can’t I accept?
Re-iterated. Can we really co-exist together? Becoming human required being present to one another.
I like the unknown, the uncertainty, and the opportunity to grow in a relational present, rather than unilaterally.
What do I find compelling and what action am I willing to take to be a steward of the new way of "being" together.
Evolution of the "Aware Ego" the mind that can hold all those parts.
Yes, Yes, Yes. I'm committed to serve OccupyCafe in whatever way I can.
We are shifting from the old world view of competition, selfish, and what's in it for me into a new space of co-creating and sharing. Very inspired because of the feeling of belonging. Yes. want to bring essence of my being into this happening.
Coming together to create community is at the essence of why I am here.
Fully committed to weaving community on the ground and contribute my experience gifts and strengths to expand the potential of OccupyCafe intention to tranforming our world.
3rd Question: What doubts and reservations do you have re: the invitation?
want to comment on statement that there's not enough happening in this conversation. A comment doesn't always have to tbe lively. I'd like permission to be as
I have reservation of wording: "Foster meaningful connections that enhance the resilience and functionality of the broader network of change agents and those who wish to support them" --- this words seems complicated-could be made in a much simpler way. It doesn't register for me. does anybody have a sense of what this means?
I also feel a bit confused by wording and concept that we're still in this old world. How do we move on to the new world? How do we do that? Is there too much in this invitation right now. Is there too much being thrown out to this group right now.
I'd like to agre with you. If the invitation was simply "come as who you are' it might be more inviting. But this invitation seems to be squashing me into a particular form. This invitation feels restrictive. It feels like more of a mandate than an invitation.
Would like to hear from you, didn't mean to silence you by my comment last week. (Magick)
Hard for me to participate freely as I'm working right now (master carpenter in a wood shop). Hard to be free to jump in and participate. Recognized old wound around relationship with women/feminine/mother. Notice paying more attention to my relationship w/ men-I notice I live mostly in a man's world.
Appreciate your desire to reach out to connect more with women.
Mankind Project focuses on initiating men. I mentor men in initiations to their feelings. Here in Boulder there's a very singular kind of culture. Lot of athletes. Wanting to influence this community positively/transformation.
Notes from the group I was monitoring on doubts and reservations.
Forming a world that is for everyone – many people don’t fit. May take a couple of hundred years.
Three categories of difficulty
I have a lot of growing to do.
More bullies than ever. Most people trying to live lives. Bullies want to control – so powerful, a revolution is coming. Exercise our right to speak out against bullies.
USA -- a bully culture.
Challenge is not to hate but to include. Part of the resistance is that they are afraid. Want to make them feel part of the process.
Shifting communicating is really, really difficult. Many have a great desire to shift. It’s not easy, even if you want to. For people who don’t – have not thought about it. We are on the front edge of the evolution. 100 years ago, crazy ideas – now accepted.
Doubt – those that hold power will need to yield to common good. Some element of equity – power holders and wielders and unwillingness to yield to common good. Psychopathology at high levels of power.
4th Question: What might also be part of this invitation?
I'd like to say what might have been included: Appreciating dynamic of a group that has its own direction. Like to see more flexibility in an invitation to come be a part of.
Struggle with taking a direction and responding to it. Don't want to stay in my head. If I want to create an invitation, how do I do that and handle my fear of being a rejection. What do I do when I pose a question and I'm met with blank stare.
Propose that you try to be yourself and not try to fit into what you think. I was probably not supposed to say that-fixing you, that is.
I don't feel you're fixing me, but that's the engagement of conversation.
I do agree that what's missin gin invitiaton: the permission to value what comes out of a conversation even if it doean't respond to the question. Want a space that's open and hospitable enough to share my feelings. Wasn't here in the beginning, feeling better now.
I think it takes time to create safety. I get a good feeling from you.
I think invitation was a bit complicated. I think there's a lot of distrust. We need to find ways to overcome that. We need to seek out strangers-we're friends, not enemies/strangers. we live in the same world-this recognition can build trust
Love that (above). Giving direction in how to trust and respond doesn't help. I like your comment about seeking out strangers -we do live in the same world.
Something I focus on - I work with men- 4 aspects of what makes a man. One of these is a magician. We live in the time of the magician. We are blessed to be living in a time when we can be so far apart and yet be so connected. Love this OC that we can connect like this.
Always surprises me that we can go so deep, just by voice. Theres so much we can pick up just be the vibe
And from the final conversation.
Awareness – challenge my assumptions.
Idea of the word choice – what if there is no choice? Spiritual domain. If I have choice, can I be objective. It colors everything. It feels more comfortable of having no choice, but life coming at me and doing what it will.
Katrina -- Choice to rebuild or choice to be devastated. Consumer psychology. Have opportunity to make a choice or not.
Believe in free will. Over-riding. Not just billiard balls. Choice is free will – deal with it.
Didn’t mean to influence and look at things without assumptions. This is my challenge.
Influenced by everything that has been said.
Add – to offer some experiences of that environment. Collaborative learning.
What if I have strong desire and the desire is the problem. It works for me --- chasing after something doesn’t’ make sense. Works the opposite.
Implies we don’t have it. I can agree. I like the idea of collaborative learning.
Sharing and gleaning from one another. Can help us bond.
Be present in ways to appreciate values and differences.
Chased and chased until she caught him. The chase might glom us on to something we shouldn’t have.
I sense affection – I don’t know how to make it into a construct. Flocks make a left turn. How can we do that. I don’t know. Sleep. Make the conditions available so that sleep – or love will come. The metaphor of birds.
We are doing it – we showed up. We are sharing the energy.
Something is emerging. There is a turning occurring – which way will we go.
scribing the final harvest of the call... reflecting on the invitation itself and the idea of invitation as a way of being
1st Harvest Responses:
Notice we're not answering questions per se. Feels like being in school. Enjoying conversations though.
I just hear yearning for community. How can we take experience of conversations pout into our daily lives, where others are so wounded and frightened?
Very fruitful call. We are afraid of each other-in droves off to work resisting connection. Epitaph for our society 'They eat their own" However, loved expressions of heart, weaving opportunity
Seeing how community, independent of people in it, can be very useful. Way community builds is astounding-the way people respect each other. My relationship is timid with community. I tend to get thrown out of community. When I think about community, I want it to be a word that has similarity to an ideal.
This felt so good as it does so frequently in groups of good intention. Still working on my listening, remembering, taking in abilities. What about the rest of the world? I could reach out to any three neighbors, but wouldn't sit in this group. What about the power people trying to tak from me? We're teach ourselves how to love one another-this is a long road- of suffering and agony. Are we saying that we're going to interrupt this (previous statement).
Want to share how happy my heart is feeling at this moment. Woman is hosting salons and is pushing herself to be a little braver-touched my heart. Excited about possibility of having more people in the room together like at NatGat, that hybrid possibility.
Most important thing: wanting to know where we're att makes it challenging. This is a great experiment. Some people have a context--some don't. Be present in the moment with who we each are...this creates community. If you love your conversation....connect with that person outside the call.
5th Question: What is the gift you have received from another today?
I don't like using someone else's words, or being told what to say. I was very thankful to both of you for the contributions that you made.
I want to thank you for being willing to trust me in being able to trust me in sharing your honest heart-felt opinions. Want to that you for your trust in me.
Enjoyed the time. Enjoyed being in conversation with you and others.