We continue our C2012 focus on Occupy Cafe itself with this 

Our inquiry is around ways that Occupy Cafe can evolve to better serve and expand the movement and perhaps even to more fully embody our own brand of "Occupying." 

We are continuing to collect answers to the following questions:

  • What have your best experiences with Occupy Cafe been so far?  Is there a particular story you might share with us?
  • If you had three wishes for OC, what would they be?  

We invite you to share your answers here on our forum as one way of participating in this inquiry, and also to help us to find patterns and core insights in the responses.

You might also take a look at this list of possible topics that might serve as more specific areas of focus for the inquiry.  If there are some that call more particularly to you, please share that as well.

Image from Ezra Magazine

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i can be found on twitter as @WrittenOffUSA and on WGRNradio.com in my series "15 Minutes of Fact"

Thanks, Jerry!

Oh yes, not to forget, please join LinkedIn and then the largest Occupy Group there - OccupyEverywhere.


This is a general call to connect with other like-minded people on LinkedIn.

Contact me there:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/jerryashton


Greg Pettingill was on our call today (5/22) and described work he is doing in FL on low power FM radio as a possible tool for Occupy.  This is also something that the group Color of Change is involved with--perhaps some collaboration might be in order?

The Institute for General Semantics was also mentioned by Greg, who is a member, in response to this OTC topic:  

  • Incorporation of a face-to-face component to our dialogue, and integration of our conversation f2f, online and on calls into a coherent and integrated set of conversations.

Greg suggested that the body of thought this organization supports might be a valuable tool for the process we wish to explore.  Here's a page from their website on Basic Understandings.

From Greg: GS has concept that "all things are related."  "A map is not the territory and the territory is not the map."

Blaming the system is easy, but it's really about the people within the system.  Ben R.: and the people are us!  Ben L: Consumerism is at the heart of what is supporting "the system."

It's about the people within the system, but those people are often undervalued and under- empowered....

On the May 22 C2012 Call, cont:

Echoes of our call yesterday on the magnitude of the change we seek ("No Demand is Big Enough") and the challenge of getting into action when the new world we want to create is still emergent and not entirely clear or visible.

What is inspiring you about what you see taking place now?

Our "Occupy THIS Cafe" conversation today focused on the topic of the C2012 process as a core offering of the Cafe going forward, inspired in part by the interest we are getting around an inquiry into sustainability/new economy.  The idea of this process of inquiry being applied to a series of topics as a core activity of the Cafe is part of the list of ideas we have collected on the new "Occupy THIS Cafe" wiki page here.

We shared stories of our own experiences of powerful collective processes/group experiences, and distilled a "positive core" of ideas for what the C2012 process might offer in order to be compelling, engaging and powerful:

  • A process that taps collective intelligence, or the "group mind"
  • An aligning sense of purpose to the inquiry so that participants experience a sense of being "one organism" and part of something greater than ourselves
  • Emergence, spontaneity, an organic and self-correcting dynamic
  • A warm, welcoming and fun energy that allows those on the margins to feel comfortable, mixes strangers together, and makes it safe for people to be vulnerable
  • Grounding in the heart--a sense that we are coming together in a spirit of caring and love, for ourselves,for one another and for the wider world
  • An embrace of our own spiritual growth as essential to our effectiveness as change agents

There was a sense that the "Occupy New Economy" change agenda could provide the terrain for an an inquiry that meets these criteria.  At the same time, this group seemed to feel that the process was in some ways more important than the subject toward which it is directed.

This conversation brought us through an iteration of the "discovery" and "dream" phases of the (appreciative) inquiry process.  Design is the next phase, and we had time to take suggestions for design conversations we might host going forward:

  • How do we bring "the feeling of a  warm cup of coffee" into our Cafe Calls, i.e. make them more like being in a cafe?
  • How do we find balance between the values of personal freedom and collective conscience/caring for the well being of the whole?
  • How will C2012 handle the implementation, or "destiny" phase of the appreciative inquiry process on which it is based?  Will we act like a "think tank" and issue recommendations or "white papers?"  The consensus was that this would not be sufficient.  Would we plan for the process to launch "spin-offs," with the design work being done as part of the inquiry, but the destiny piece taking place outside the context of the Cafe?  Or, would the Cafe provide the backbone infrastructure for Destiny as well?

Thanks to Sam, Phil and Daniel for your thoughts and inspiration on this call!  I believe the summary above captures the key elements of our conversation, but please feel free to add your own additional ideas!

Scribing some of 6/12 session:

Reflecting on yesterday's Possibility conversation....


  • Heard deep appreciation for what we are doing in the Cafe
  • Offer to explore partnership- from Cheryl Honey of www.communityweaving.org, who said that this call was one of the most powerful conversations she had participated in.
  • challenge of being able to hold our personal projects in conjunction with the energy it takes to synergize in a space like the Cafe.  Possibility: there is a way to generate a field/system/structure in which we can flow seamlessly with our own work/expressions in wholeness and integrity and also weave synergistically so we don't feel split in our attention when we work in the Cafe environment.  this seems like a fractal of the evolutionary impulse, leaving the gravity of the old system and not yet fully into the new one.  Cafe as a cauldron for this mystical reorganization process (to a higher level).
    • How to infuse and imbue Jitendra's current work on Em-body the Change and Holorising with the Cafe?


  • Declaration of possibility: involved in 3-4 groups on the ground that are all "groping in the dark" and trying to find each other.  not knowing where or how to connect or what the next step is.  will extend invitations to them to connect in Occupy Cafe in a way that anchors them all.  a supplement to what they are doing now.  to improve a process of connecting with each other via better quality conversation.
    • two members of groups phil is in were on the call yesterday and in the same breakout.  felt time was well spent.  initial reluctance to be on a long call was overcome and it was valuable.  especially the Gifts conversation.  how do groups on the ground get the resource of quality convo that can be replicated in the groups.  sees this pattern over and over of groups forming and then breaking down around process and behavioral challenges, lack of deep listening, etc.
  • It seems people have a primary need to simply be heard.  Simply providing a place to connect provides a tremendous service to movement by facilitating community.
  • Weekly networking meeting with aim of exchanging/building social capital.  We're isolated, in deficit of connection=difficulty in coming together re: issues, politics, etc
  • CAn aims anchor the organization that we're building here?  I; U & Me; We aims; how might we/ can we align these various
  • I feel can create a stronger social network in our associative lives, we can solve the problem of dissociative government 


  • comment: groups are previously called "think tanks" and "brain trusts."  now it isn't so much a head-level inquiry we need.  groups (versus individuals) trying to find each other and mate and produce offspring.  more vital groups then emerge.
  • People have been meeting in bars forever without productive consequence.  
  • Building block of aims is to be creative; each has form of creativity; can see value to meeting spaces; is it useful?
  • The Hive Mind - we're all one mind; but individuals have to make decisions; individual <==> collective


  • we run through extremes of possibility, so it often implies "something more."  can we let go of that and choose something very specific. might relate to choices... a task we choose that represents the Cafe.  pick one thing that is specific.  doesn't have to be the most amazing of powerful thing.
  • i can contribute just being a witness to others.  
  • We often don't accept or own the authority others give us


  • a micro-version of the global challenge.  old moorings/attachments (trusting the system(s) to reward our work and good intentions) are gone and we are drifting.  World 5.0 and OC are both creating "connective tissue" and finding a new ground.
  • hold the space of this new world grounded in life and this moment, putting our best foot forward for our species and planet as a whole.  measure success by personal fulfillment and a sense of being in peace and in love.  that's where we find ourselves.
  • Difficult to see very far out when we're in this transitional phase when searching for ground to stand on,; are we far enough along to structure things?
  • Interested in evolution of OC's organization; espec. in relationship to NatGat; building structure which will serve next iteration of OC


Weekly Cafe Calls

Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

"Vital Conversations" 

8-10a PDT | 11a-1p EDT | 3-5p GMT 

Tuesdays (except 10/16)
"Connect 2012"

1-3p PDT | 4-6p EDT | 8-10p GMT

"Occupy Heart" 

3-5p PDT | 6-8p EDT | 10p-12a GMT

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