The Bottom Line: Community Building
The village is no more. That reality in which people were born, worked, and died within the same twenty mile radius may no longer be relied upon to create a feeling of connection, make meaning together, and deepen the experience of being human.
Now we change place and people as often as we like and, with the constant shifting of context, no literal or metaphorical place remains to accrete its own sacredness and psycic weight, unless that space is set aside on purpose.
Today, in a world where entire cultures are created simply to sell a non-essential product, we must build community on purpose in order to set the stage of our lives so that the dramas we live may find some context in which meaning arises. I need you to matter to me and my family to matter to yours so my children can know there is a place to go where people value them, simply because they are beloved, beyond any achievement they may acquire and distribute.
Our default practice has always involved sitting in a circle where everyone can see and hear everyone else and:
- Taking a bit of silence
- Waiting to be "moved to speak"
- Checking in with ourselves and then each other
- Proposing topics in need of shared attention for the good of the individual and group
- and processes - ways of interacting on purpose which will make Community more likely
- Making agreements about how to proceed, subject to proposed changes as we go
- Following through
- Noting how we did what we said we would do with an eye to deepening our understanding and capacity to relate, conflict, and work together well.
- Checking out with ourselves and then each other
Community building is what began Beamish Process Arts, the community which incorporated and then became Association Building Community. Most of us were involved, at one point or another, with an ongoing group participating in and following up on Community Building Workshops (CBW) supported by the Foundation for Community Encouragement co-founded by M. Scott Peck.