Monday's Vital Conversation

8-10a PDT | 11a-1p EDT | 3-5p GMT

Link to register

We had a rich and fabulous time at the Occupy National Gathering.  Thanks to the gracious invitation we received from the gathering's organizers and the generous donation by the Friends' Center of their state-of-the-art conference room, the Cafe landed on the ground for the first (and surely not the last) time.

Join us for a conversation on what we all, collectively, learned as a result of this gathering.  All are welcome, whether you were there in person, participated virtually, or want to  connect up with the energy you missed.

Members of the core team of the Cafe (which is expanding!) will seed the conversation with reflections on what we learned, stories about what moved us, and inspirations we received for what might be next.

As always, we invite you to join our 
discussion thread on the Occupy Cafe Forum as well.  Please post your thoughts in advance of (or following) our Cafe Call.  The NatGat organizers have also now released their report on the output from the main visioning exercise on July 4th, which is available here.

We are starting NOW with this question: what is your major learning, insight or question coming out of the Occupy National Gathering?


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Here's a Flickr photo set with some of the tablecloths people doodled on and also Pia's scribing of the Occupy Authority and the Middle East conversation harvests:

Sorry, I got pulled off the call for work.  But this is the main message I wanted to convey...

I think that Ben, Jitendra, Pia and Ron did a very nice job on managing these conversations, and they seemed to be genuinely meaningful for remote participants, and at least some of the in-person participants.  But the Occupy Cafe seemed totally disconnected from the National Gathering.  It had virtually no internal promotion.  I subscribed to the Celly-based text message service for NatGat, receiving dozens of messages per day, about all sorts of major or minor events happening, but NOT ONE message about Occupy Cafe. 

Perhaps the NatGat leadership was overwhelmed with details, or maybe they didn't understand what Occupy Cafe was about.  Or, maybe there was some internal political struggle with rival events or activities.  But, for whatever reason, as good as it was, I feel like a tremendous opportunity was squandered.

I hear you Seth.  In some ways, I was disappointed about this as well.  And yet ultimately, I was totally satisfied by the way things went. Indeed, much larger numbers, especially in the beginning, would have been overwhelming.  

In the end, we made lots of great connections and added some great people to our Occupy Cafe family,  Including YOU!  And we contributed meaningfully to the overall NatGat conversation. Those two things were our main goals.

Scribing tidbits from the Cafe Call:

  • The importance of sharing our stories
  • Buzzed up about the Declaration of Interdependence--couldn't get a word in!
  • Occupy Cafe has given me a place where I DO feel included, versus apathy in my local area, or exclusion for not having lived in this place as long as many others
  • Is something happening?  It's hard to see if that is the case or not.  Maybe we need a really beautiful idea or vision--a real solution and path to meaningful change in how/why we act
    • visioning document from NatGat 
  • "I can't believe all my online friends are real!
  • Lots of things emerging from NatGat--stay tuned!  Ways to be together that build connection, maybe not in opposition to police anymore.
  • Appreciative inquiry and dialogue
  • mentality we all have of "our groups and their group" that is totally unhelpful.  reverence for life and experience as the alternative.
    • met my teachers at NatGat--added a big element for me
  • Seeing a spiritual intention in Occupy Cafe.  I'm on a spiritual journey as well.  Disturbed but tolerating something though... speaking in ways that people are listening but not understanding what I'm saying because they are not coming from a spiritual place.  Wanted a [spiritual] goal included in the movement and it was denied in my local group.  NatGat was not like that--I was SO plugged in there.
    • thank you for the spiritual respite OC is giving me.  being understood.
  • Occupy also means "busy."  Showing up fully is my vision right now.  If we could all do that, and own the collective possibility, that is all that might be needed
  • "Is there an effective process?"  This might be what is holding the movt back. The Cafe does allow us to feel heard.  Where do we go with all the diverse voices?

Here are two pieces about NatGat in the press:

Scribing final harvest

  • Book: James O'Dea, Cultivating Peace.  Very powerful
  • A "hologram:" we live as spiritual beings in a material world where we do politics as our way of making decisions as a community. Fear can often dominate in that material mode.  Surrendering to love can happen when we are in our spiritual mode.  And we can choose love at any moment.  Love is the strange attractor/life force.  Vs. fear/survival mode.  Don't want this to be a polarity or continuum.  Tend to live in fear mode, as a mammal with basic programming.  And I can choose to be a mystic and step beyond the polarity.
    • "Fear=absence of love"
    • fear is a loving signal that you're not on the right path and you could be more creative about your choices.
    • "choice" has bothered me.  I don't feel that I can choose between fear and love.  I don't have a "control panel."  It's more like sleep.  I can bring about the conditions that attract it.  [No guarantee you get it].  It doesn't matter what we're talking about--it's the connections we're making, the tone we are creating.
  • Satellite gp experience.  excitement and energy around the opportunity to participate in a conversation beyond our local area.  amazing to jump through technical hoops in order to become connected.  yes, we want change.  and we're still working at it.
    • visions and declarations are easy.  finding a process [that brings it forth] is what is difficult.  OC has come closest to doing this thus far.  includes and values people.
    • process requires us to DO something OUT THERE.  Inner oriented conversations are not enough.  We must manifest something.
    • The Cafe process fits into spiral dynamics.  Inner experience of wholeness.  Solid fertile ground ehre.  These things take time.  Be patient and compassionate with one another. NVC-->opening for our sacred wounds. Need a listening for suffering.  I'm in joyful concern in the Cafe.  "Margaret Mead:" never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the on;ly thing that ever has."  Appreciation and gratitude.

I just posted this comment of fear and love to the Occupy Heart Self Empathy thread, and see that it also belongs here...

One of the most dramatic moments in the Cafe @ NatGat occurred when Heather described a vision she had of "blind lady justice," only to learn after the fact that a woman dressed exactly as she described--blindfold, white robe, scales--was sitting silently at the same table with the people she had been conversing with!  On her scales were the words "fear" and "love."

My sense of this polarity is not so much that we replace fear with love as that we choose to give power to the love within us and not to the fear.  The fear is still there--"fearless" doesn't mean we never experience fear.  That's denial!  I've seen how people behave when they are "afraid to be afraid."  It created a kind of dictatorial pressure that stifles creativity and openness.

By feeding the love, we can learn to let go of the fear and not to allow it to guide our actions.  As in the wonderful Cherokee story of the two wolves.

I loved Dyck's "sleep" analogy above too.  The idea that we "choose" love the way we choose sleep, by creating the conditions for it to emerge, as opposed to flipping the switch on some sort of emotional control panel.

The OccupyCafe in my view is a nexus of change. The spiritual impulse of the group aligns with the vision of Community Weaving to "freely give and fearlessly receive deeds of love."  The Golden Rule transcents the 21 faith philosophies and underpins the notion of being Good Neighbors by committing our lives and actions for the common good.  We are a community that cares...we care about ourselves, each other, our families, our communities and our world.  Community Weaving is the manifestation of the gift economy which is a core value of the OccupyCafe. Caring and sharing our human, tangible and experiential resources in a manner that benefits not just the Occupy movement, but all of humanity and our planet that sustains us all.  

Please consider being a part of our Community Weaving Occupy Cafe experiment. We are weaving the fabric of community and a resilient grassroots safety net. We do this by interconnecting our collective intelligence and resources together. Our goal is to tap innovation and creativity by giving everyone who participates free and immediate access to all members and their resources at your fingertips by conducting simple searches on .  For example, you can connect with members who have experience organizing non-violent direct actions toward banks, or locate tangible resources such as water, food and blankets, or legal advise.  Other ways people use the network is to organize food coops, start gift economies, or organize workshops and social/recreational activities fun for all ages. There are so many ways this network to connect with people from around the world who share common interests or live nearby. All these interconnections function as the mycilia to hold the movement and iultimately society together throught the great turning.

The reason we are starting our Community Weaving initiative with OccupyCafe is because the majority of the members of OccupyCafe have demonstrated they are "ready to BE THE CHANGE". We are creative beings and there is a sense of urgency brewing up in many of us. Many sense a cognitive dissonance among those who focus on "DOING CHANGE" VS. focus on "BEING CHANGE".  We are weaving a resilient network that adapts to change and our co-creative responses to change will offer insights and foster innovative solutions to address the problems ahead.

Please join this great experiment and be a Good Neighbor in the Occupy Cafe. We are beta testing a technology we developed to weave people together. The Occupy Cafe Group ID:  CWOC stands for Community Weaving Occupy Cafe.  Volunteers developed a web tool at that makes it easy to sign up as a Good Neighbor and pool resources. It's free and we do our utmost to protect everyone's privacy.

Those who sign up will receive information on how to grow this effort throught your own networks. Growing networks translates into growing conversations, deepening relationships and fostering change.

We are on the verge of a tipping point in our society. We can live into it disconnected or co-create our future together. I'm tired of going it alone. I'm gonna be with my friends and neighbors.

Takes just a few minutes to sign up as a Good Neighbor at and enter Group ID: CWOC (all caps). 

For more information on Community Weaving, please visit Feel free to email me with your questions or comments to or call 206.240.2241.

Appreciate your willingness to consider this request to be a part of this great experiment to Community Weaving Occupy Cafe.

In the spirit of community...Cheryl



I enjoyed listening to the voices of folks from different places.  Thank you for the time and energy put into Nat Gat Occupy Cafe and Occupy Cafe in general!

THANK YOU for posting this!!  This is the first I've seen of it.  A little surprised about some of the rankings, but at least it's a starting point... is someone going to post these online for a wider swath of Occupiers to vote on?

Again thank you for helping to get info out, I've been surprised how hard it is to get coherent reports back from NatGat.  And the navigation on their web site is all screwy (at least for my broswer?) so I wasn't finding much there.

Somehow we neglected to link here to the Declaration of Interdependence that was collaboratively crafted in the Cafe on July 4th at NatGat:

Declaration of Interdependence /“We”


We are an interdependent world community. Recognizing we are unique and whole as individuals, yet part of a greater whole as members of human society we seek to create a society that heals the social cancers that so infect our cultures today.  Every piece is essential, every pain is shared, as we are a living organism.   

Accepting the responsibility as authors of our society:        

-we declare that everyone must have an opportunity to participate.  All voices are heard and considered.  My neighbors’ needs are my needs and my neighbors’ are global;  therefore everyone’s needs must be met in order to thrive as a global society.

-we declare trust in our universal humanity and recognition of our capability to transcend fear, and function from compassion and love.  

-we declare our commitment to respect and steward the interdependent web of all existence.  We evolve processes and structures for higher awareness and wisdom of our Earth, people and other animals, ecosystems, and the entire universe, now and into the future. 

Final Statement/ Postamble: 
We support the inalienable rights of all beings, which cannot be given or taken, bought or sold.  We declare our commitment to these points by working together in solidarity for a thriving sustainable Earth.


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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