As we circle back from our week at the Occupy National Gathering, our plan is to invite people to direct some of the new energy that is flowing towards the co-creation of the next iteration of the Cafe itself.  We have a wiki here where many of the ideas that have emerged to date are being compiled.  Our process will play out over the next month or so.  It will include sharing what is working well, visioning what we want to emerge and designing what is needed to get there.  

"Connect 2012"

1-2p PDT | 4-6p EDT | 8-10p GMT
Click here to register  

On our July 24th call, we want to invite you into a "design conversation."   We invite you to collaborate with us to create a new Cafe Call focused on connecting with one another in a relaxed,  regenerative and "Cafe-like" context.  We want to host a conversation space where you can meet friends and strangers, share stories of inspiration and frustration, tell jokes, and maybe even sing songs and read poems.  Think of it as "happy hour" meets "networking heaven" meets "burning man."  

You are invited to help us create this new opportunity!  Step into ownership... What would you like to see happen on these calls?  What needs of yours, of the movement, and of the world might we help to meet in this way?

(Image from Ezra Magazine)

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Inspiration for the 7/10 call, drawn at random from the GroupWorks card deck:

Sam is mentioning Ken Wilbur's Integral Theory and the "four quadrants model."  Here are graphics that illustrate this model:

Scribing from our 7/10 conversation:

What might the job of this Cafe be?

  • A place where people get to know one another and share what they are up to
    • ... and not worry about what others might think of us.  No judgment.
    • humor, lightness, not taking ourselves too seriously
  • A place where we experience being part of one collective/community without sacrificing our individuality
  • NOT...
    • doing things in the old paradigm way--hierarchy, power over.
  • A place where I can act in the way I want things to be and connect with others who share this desire:
    • kindness
    • non-judgment
    • just being that way as the main "job" and out of that our external work can flow (e.g. politics, economics, etc.).
    • A space that is ALIVE!
    • A space that supports emergence
    • A generosity of spirit towards all participants
  • Conversations that have coherence, where ideas are built upon (piggy-backing)
  • Creativity (Pigasus for President!)

I really want this site (or some site) to connect folks across regions, share stories, plan actions, post minutes, and provide resources that don't make sense to duplicate at the local level.

First and foremost, I think the discussion forum is vital, but most forums are old technology and not up to the job.  This one here is nice, but will be difficult to navigate and follow if a lot of people start using it.  PHPBB and similar ones are just not good enough.  So far nobody has taken the lessons learned from social networking sites, and applied it to discussion forums to make them user-friendly.  Maybe that's asking too much, but we have a lot of tech-savvy folks here, so...

And if we can create such a forum, it should allow local Occupies to have their own areas of control over local discussions.  For example there could be a Sacramento sub-forum, where we can discuss local stuff, post minutes, etc, and our web team could moderate it, create new sub-forums, etc.  But larger concepts and ideas could be diccussed on a nation-wide level, in those forums. 

If OccupyCafe can achieve something like this, then we'd be happy to ditch our local discussion board, and direct our members here!


I totally agree about the limits of current forum tech, and of asynch platforms in general (asynchronous= text based modes of communicating including email, texts, forums, comment threads, etc. where you don't have to be interracting at the exact same time as the other participants).

I have some thoughts about what a better way to organize asynch dialogue might look like, if and when there is a group of people with the skills and funding to build something new.  Meanwhile, I think we can go a long ways by adding some more intentional process energy to our conversations.  We can all learn how to do this in ways that serve us better both in terms of useful exchanges of information and the relationships we are building with one another as we engage.

I think we might do well to form a circle of Cafe Stewards who want to focus on the asynch space and help all participants to use it more generatively.  Are you game to play, Nathan?

As far as your vision of a set of forums for the movement, this site does have the groups feature, and each group has its own forum space as well as the ability to create "pages" where more permanent content can be posted.  That said, I wonder if your vision might not be more aligned with the mission of InterOccupy?  Here at OC, we are probably evolving into more of an internally coherent community with its own particular culture, and one that reaches beyond "Occupy proper," while IO seeks to be a neutral connector of groups within the movement.  They have a new collaborative space up as well that you might check out:

Ben Roberts

Ben you rock!! Thanks for pointing me to interoccupy, this is exactly what I've been looking for:

And yes I'm interested in helping with that, let me know where we start...

Nathan--thank you for offering to work with us on this.  In time, I expect that we will have a circle to work on this, as I noted above.  We're not quite there yet, but perhaps we could create an asynch space--either a forum thread or a group, where ideas can be exchanged on what we might do to make our asynch dialogue richer and better integrated with the synchronous conversations we host.

I agree with asyncrhonistic approach with multi-media harvesting. I’m very interested in figuring out where to plug in here. This conversation seems to be the most fitting for the impulse I’m sensing for cultivating caring relationships. OccupyCafe is a treasure trove of conscientious people who are doing something to create a better future for all. I’ve connected with Heather Teishbein who lives a couple of hours from me. What a sweet spirit she is. We look forward to meeting in Long Beach (WA) where we’ll experience paradise and take deep breaths and create memorable moments. Ben, Jitendra and Suzanne have joined in the conversations on tools, techniques and technologies to weave more cohesive communities. 

I’m not able to participate in these design calls, however I'm open to exploring ways to blend our work and enhance the experience of the OccupyCafé through weaving relationships and conversations in a reciprocal partnering.  Our objective is to awaken Good Neighbors in our network to new ideas and engagement opportunities. I suspect many Good Neighbors would be interested in learning how to facilitate dialogues among friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. I envision doing this by posting inquiry questions on this site that they can use to guide their discussions and then harvest their insights.  This may show patterns and trends that will guide the Occupy Cafe and weave the fabric of community as a vibrant patchwork of relationships are interwoven together. 

This has been my experience on the calls I’ve participated in. I feel like I’m becoming part of a global family of caring souls who are opening my eyes to so much goodness in the world.

Topics to explore that I'm available to co-facilitate with OC Stewards and experts in the field include: 

- “Community Organizing: Past, Present and Future”
- “Awakening the Good Neighbor within”
- “Riding the wave of Change”
- “Honoring all Life”
- “Weaving a new world”
- “Creating a Village Effect in our lives and communities”
- “Dynamics of Transformative Community building”
- “Tools, Techniques and Technologies for Community Weaving”
- “We are the Ones We’ve Been Waiting for”
- “Our unique contributions to the common good”
- “Converting our dreams into reality”
- “Strategies to grow a Good Neighbors Network”

I look forward to your thoughts and ideas. 

--Cheryl, Community Weaver

Inspiration for the 7/24 call from the GroupWorks deck (drawn at random):

7/24 Design Call:

"What needs do you have that might be met in a Connect 2012 Cafe Call like the one we are imagining?"

  • Space to make requests
  • Looking for community
    • finding out what everyone else is doing, then building and sharing ideas.  A tangible/topical focus.
    • and also like a more ethereal flavor as well.
    • to feel like we're not alone any more
    • empathy without "advice" and "reassurance"
  • Gifts, in addition to needs
  • Open Space Technology approach, so people can find/host topics that appeal to them
  • Vulnerable expressions of needs--something authentic, without expectation that it will necessarily be met
  • Imagining many rooms with a simple description of each one.  Someone in each that holds space and takes notes.  Reports back to the whole.
  • Need to read poems!
    • and offer/do art in general
  • Cafe Gratitude--sacred commerce model.  Human beings are all equal and all we want is love.  Ten minute clearing for employees (listen and feedback, but not "answer") that builds/grounds community right away:
    • "What is distracting you from being present today?"
    • "What do you love about your life?"
  • An experience of being invited in, as a person
  • Recognizing the suffering that is happening in the 99%/1% economy
  • Something more than "just talk," e.g. tangibly helping one another
  • Calls are feeling and connection based, versus action based.  "I like that!"  It's a different realm of the Occupy Movement.  A move spiritual level of connecting.
  • ...slowing down...
  • "insouciance:" a need for joyfullness, play.  other calls can be "heavy".
  • think about cross-appropriating other community building strategies that have been successful
  • ultimately, there is need for a political change.  liberating us from angst, creating solidarity.
  • a place to cry, and be accepted, not shamed
    • everybody's heart is breaking right now, and we need a space for that to happen.
  • A space for "link leadership" to emerge as a core "job" for the OC community.  Both strengthening the connections within the OC "hub" and creating space where links can emerge between various hubs as represented by participants in the C2012 conversations.
  • Creating a fractal of The Commons, grounded in love
  • An NVC "consciousness" as opposed to a set of rules

"What do we need to learn together about this possibility for a new Connect 2012 Cafe Call design?"

Rolling Stone piece by Bill McKibbon referred to by Mushin:

Double inspiration for the 7/31 call, drawn at random from the GroupWorks card deck:


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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