in utrumque partes
representing both sides of an issue "on either side".
A potential friend wrote:
I came across your website a while back and was wondering if you could tell me a little bit more about your organization?
Here are some words we use to describe our work. They do not fit precisely for everybody involved, as we are defined by the similarities in our individual work, our work together, and dedicaton to a core idea rather than a central authority.
ABC, Association Building Community, is an intentional, distributed community based in Berkeley, California, that exists to 1) support people 2) working together 3) to develop the process arts 4) for the building of communities 5) that practice peace.
Guardians of Peace is a developing community of conflict facilitators
- formed into a training partnership
- in order to practice the process arts in as many situations as possible
- and deal explicitly with many kinds of conflict.
In practice this looks like
- cross training between martial arts (like aikido, for instance) and group process facilitation (like mediation, Nonviolent Communication, psychotherapy, and many other process arts).
- Dedicated Guardians, apprentices, and students working together and individually
- inviting everyone they meet to redefine peace as conflict done well.
Brandon, one of our founders, offers instructions through the Free Aiki Dojo project (off campus) and Golden Bears Aikido UC Berkeley (on campus). Everyone is welcome to come practice without the usual financial or social constraints of class. Individual tutorials (not always private) are available when formal instruction is not taking place. Free Aiki meets most often at 1514 University Ave. If the details of training need to change, updates are posted on the http://freeaiki.com website via the Twitter feed embedded there.
Brandon includes in his teaching modules of his Martial Nonviolence method, which is a unique conflict facilitation practice. He also hopes to work more extensively with other people wanting to refine their conflict skills and continue to build the community of practice known as Guardians of Peace. Free-will donations are welcome but never required, and everyone is responsible for their own training and level of risk.
Everyone who responds to the surge of energy they feel when they hear that conflict itself can be an art of peace.
Everyone who contributes directly to the governance and development of the Guardians of Peace as an entity.
Everyone who chooses the public role "Guardian" and trains with others in specific physical, emotional, and intellectual process arts through which their guardianship is realized.
"Peace is conflict done well" (sm)
... is being carefully practiced, learned, and modeled in our training. Rather than sell a fantasy of Safety we guard the literal and metaphorical places where peace is a practice, lives, and thrives.
Through martial nonviolence we work to thaw the cold-hearted and fearful machinations that clutch for Security at the expense of others. Fears about attack, victimization, failure, and dying are often quite reasonable. Locating them in an abstract "enemy" or "evil" most often results in being less rather than more prepared to respond well.
There are always shadows for sale. They whispers that human beings can have relationships free of conflict by crushing literal enemies, suppressing terror and dissent, and avoiding difference. People who practice peace know that the resistance felt when the door of conflict is pushed open comes from the creative tension that can power hope, illuminate dreams for the future, and drive the adaptation necessary for our survival as a species.
We will grow into a training partnership of individuals committed to working well with conflict no matter its root or character.
Working well with conflict will reliably lead to mysterious difficulties. Often we will lack the expertise to create a useful response in a specific situation. Awareness of this certainty makes us more rather than less able to function. It can and will also lead to:
* building community on purpose to have the support we need to practice this work authentically,
* learning to tell (and speak about) the differences that makes human beings work,
* readiness to make a difference (needed departures from business as usual) to improve the felt quality of life,
* a growing awareness that best practices in all dealings need movement in the directions of sustainability that is profoundly relational (ecological, psychological, mythological)
* and much more as the popular imagination takes up the ideas involved...
For additional information please call Toll Free: (866) 236-0346 or email: brandon at abcglobal dot net