Why are you here?  Seriously!  Yes, we know we asked you that once already when you joined Occupy Cafe.  So if your profile answer is really juicy, by all means click "my page" above and cut and paste that sucker in over here to share it with the group.  

On the other hand, if you're like most people and you were just so darned anxious to get into the Cafe that you quickly tossed off a sentence or two and left it at that, perhaps you might want to reflect more deeply on this question, as a way of building a connection with everyone else who is here.  

And while you're considering what draws you here, you might also think about what it would take for you to decide to be "fully present" in this open space for global conversation.  In the end, it will be what we choose collectively to make of it.

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I am drawn here by twin passions.  First, I see hope in OWS for catalyzing systemic change to address the breakdown of our political, economic and social institutions.  We must find ways to "hospice the old paradigms while midwifing the new."  I believe that something powerfully positive has the potential to emerge not only from OWS but also from a myriad of other actions that are taking place around the globe--some very dramatically and many others below the radar.  

Paul Hawken used the metaphor of an immune system for the planet in his inspiring book, Blessed Unrest (and now with the Wiser Earth website).  With OWS, perhaps this until now largely unrecognized, leaderless and multi-dimensional system it is beginning to reveal itself and to embrace the mantle of a "global movement" that Hawken bestowed upon it.  

The second thing that draws me here is the joy of convening "conversation that matters," especially in ways that stretch the bounds of what we generally imagine is possible.  This led me to seize the moment provided by OWS to propose the creation of Occupy Cafe to the group of "Community Stewards" I had been meeting with since last March as part of FOUR YEARS.GO.  This campaign is based on the idea that we can ignite a conversation that has the power to shift the context from which people view the world. thereby bringing into the realm of the possible things that most people see as an unattainable dream.  In OWS, I see another vehicle for just that kind of conversation.

I am very excited to have the chance to begin unfolding some of the many ideas that have percolated in my brain (for a taste, visit my Global Agora wiki).  I hope the "Meet and Greet" group takes root and becomes one of the more interesting venues for this experiment in what my business partner Amy Lenzo referred to earlier today as "transformational social technology."  In the end, it will of course, be up to all of us to decide what it is that we want to create together.  Supporting that process is my main task here as host and co-leader.

We're just getting started, and there will no doubt be many challenges, twists and turns, both for the movement and for Occupy Cafe.  OWS began on my 50th birthday.  It's been a great way to launch me past the half century mark.  Let's see what we can do collectively to help it launch us all into a better future.  

George Lakoff suggests in his recent piece "A Framing Memo for Occupy Wall Street" that we have the power to decide what this movement might be.  Here's how he would like to see us frame it, and I couldn't agree more:

OWS is a moral and patriotic movement. It sees Democracy as flowing from citizens caring about one another as well as themselves, and acting with both personal and social responsibility. Democratic governance is about The Public, and the liberty that The Public provides for a thriving Private Sphere. From such a democracy flows fairness, which is incompatible with a hugely disproportionate distribution of wealth. And from the sense of care implicit in such a democracy flows a commitment to the preservation of nature...

I believe, and I think you believe, that most Americans care about their fellow citizens as well as themselves. Let’s find out! Shout your moral and patriotic views out loud, regularly. Put them on your signs. Repeat them to the media. Tweet them. And tell everyone you know to do the same.

In other words, let's help ignite the conversation, and not only here in the US, but all around the world.

 

There is a part of me that thinks that it is strange that I am here in this Occupy Café space (and a little strange that I am SO excited about this idea). I have not been to any of the Occupy events, marches, encampments, protests, actions. I don't live in the U.S. and the closest action that I know about is taking place in Mexico City, 6 hours away.

Then there is another part of me that knows EXACTLY why I am here and it is the synchronicty of a number of things coming together at once that makes this opportunity so ripe and juicy for me. Here are the different synchronistic threads:

1) being very excited about participative methodologies and processes like Open Space Technology, World Café, Pro-Action Café, Appreciative Inquiry, Circle, and many others (including the assembly and consensus processes).

2) beginning to really step into my roll as a full-fledged host to call and steward conversations with real skill; looking for the best places to practice hosting

3) being VERY excited to hear about what happened in Israel with the 1,000 table World Café. This enormous synchronous event that involved 10,000 people from all over the country grew out of an action organized by the Hub Tel Aviv during a protest (similar to the Occupy movements) in which they had 4 round tables built and brought them to the site of the protest. They hosted Café conversations every night for the duration of the protest (one month, I believe). So, I want to know how we bring these processes into this movement in the U.S., Mexico and everywhere

4) a conversation I am involved in with an initiative called Eleven México which will be a dialogic process of looking at the 11 strengths of individuals, communities, regions, the country and hosting World Cafés around the country based on these appreciative recognitions

5) seeing Occupy Café as a place where many of these recent sparks in my life seem to be coming together and could potentially start a nice cozy bonfire around which we can dialog, learn together and strengthen our practice, while infusing the mass mobilization with mental models, world views and practical tools and processes which I believe will strengthen and diversify these movements from the ground up.

So... that's why I'm here, and that's what I'm jazzed about.

Aerin

Hi dear Aerin...

How wonderful to see you here too!!  And I just talked with Juan Carlos Kaiten who was telling me about the Eleven Mexico efforts and the results of their first World Cafes!  We just got back from a meeting in Cincinnati with Peter Block, Toke Moller and others.  Send me your e-mail to juanita@theworldcafe.com and I'll send you some writing we're going about the Jardin Central which links all of these doorways to collective intelligence in some lovely ways.

Con un abrazote,

Juaita

I would love to see if there is a way to weave Juan Carlos work in with this.  He and I met through Ingrid Castrejon and FOUR YEARS.GO.  We talked about the idea of collaborating but it didn't quite fall into place, although he did participate in one of the calls I did starting last March with 4YG based on... Peter Block's Six Conversations!  The Occupy Cafe Stewards are actually the product of those conversations as well.

And I've also been speaking with Sheri Herndon who has mentioned the Jardin Central.  She and I are talking again tomorrow, probably while I'm paying another visit to Wall Street.

Something's happening here...

Cheers,

Ben

 

 

Ben, I've looped Juan Carlos in... he (as usual) is very busy but we're supposed to do a call with the Eleven México people soon about how we might use Maestro Conference to coordinate and weave the web of what's happening here! Let's see if I can get him to join the next call ... I'll do my best ...

A

I want you to stop complicating this.

I can understand.

Hi dearest!

Great to see you here (and hear your voice on the call today). Unfortuately, I came 45 minutes late because in Mexico our Daylight Savings time ended yesterday and I forgot that the U.S. doesn't change until next week. Duh! I'll send you an email so you can fill me in on the Jardin Central! Yeyo is also very interested in Latin America and stewarding hosts here.

besotes!

aerin

Aerin! I love you! Bestoses i mean also. There is some difference. Sally I will be conferencing class with she teachers. up. on wednesday. I don't actually know her personally enough to consider what is and is not best for her, but she and Jitendra share Muktananda's lineage. You know already. I want to talk to her. I love consolations

Thank you.

If I could talk about Israel...I was really interested. I think Judaism has a lot of information described verbally nicely. I don't know whether that has to do with the people, personally. I mean, the Nazis had no reason to be jealous. So, I probably don't care. You share a lineage.

In further desire

i explain. :o)

it should find you.

Awesome, Aerin! So glad you're here. We really want this to be a co-creative space and your process skills and inspiration are a fabulous gift. As you know, it is often a challenge to create the space and organizational bandwidth to allow everyone who wants to contribute to do so. Maybe one inquiry we might start is how to allow for that to happen here. Especially for people who want to offer hosting.

Another inquiry I am drawn to is the challenge of bringing "aliveness" and heart to our asynchronous space, i.e. this network or just this group for starters. I believe that the capabilities of the tech have advanced much faster than our process thinking. What creative process ideas can we come up with to make "Meet and Greet" really work? I think, judging from our low numbers, that a powerful invitation might be a good place to start!j

Aerin Dunford said:

There is a part of me that thinks that it is strange that I am here in this Occupy Café space (and a little strange that I am SO excited about this idea). I have not been to any of the Occupy events, marches, encampments, protests, actions. I don't live in the U.S. and the closest action that I know about is taking place in Mexico City, 6 hours away.

Then there is another part of me that knows EXACTLY why I am here and it is the synchronicty of a number of things coming together at once that makes this opportunity so ripe and juicy for me. Here are the different synchronistic threads:

1) being very excited about participative methodologies and processes like Open Space Technology, World Café, Pro-Action Café, Appreciative Inquiry, Circle, and many others (including the assembly and consensus processes).

2) beginning to really step into my roll as a full-fledged host to call and steward conversations with real skill; looking for the best places to practice hosting

3) being VERY excited to hear about what happened in Israel with the 1,000 table World Café. This enormous synchronous event that involved 10,000 people from all over the country grew out of an action organized by the Hub Tel Aviv during a protest (similar to the Occupy movements) in which they had 4 round tables built and brought them to the site of the protest. They hosted Café conversations every night for the duration of the protest (one month, I believe). So, I want to know how we bring these processes into this movement in the U.S., Mexico and everywhere

4) a conversation I am involved in with an initiative called Eleven México which will be a dialogic process of looking at the 11 strengths of individuals, communities, regions, the country and hosting World Cafés around the country based on these appreciative recognitions

5) seeing Occupy Café as a place where many of these recent sparks in my life seem to be coming together and could potentially start a nice cozy bonfire around which we can dialog, learn together and strengthen our practice, while infusing the mass mobilization with mental models, world views and practical tools and processes which I believe will strengthen and diversify these movements from the ground up.

So... that's why I'm here, and that's what I'm jazzed about.

Aerin

Ben Roberts:

I request the effective communication of personal suggestions.

I am interested in the being aspect rather than becoming aspect of enlightened mind

They can stop themselves already. This is the inner working nature of our choices faculty.

but let me be more inclusive. I am

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