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Another brainstorming / visioning about the group

Where we might go next-- after "nothing?" and related visions.

Added by colin #442 on 2006-05-08. Last modified 2006-05-08 01:01. Originally created 2006-05-08. F0 License: Attribution
Location: World, United States, California, San Diego, SDSU
Topics: Ishmael (Daniel Quinn), personal, philosophy-integral, Vision
: Ishmael, vision

A post to sd ishmael.


More on Personal Visions

After all I wrote below, I took a nap. And got in a sort of vision state. I got thinking about the principle of "nothing?" again, and how the vision I describe below is very rooted in near realities of the group existing in "San Diego." So (hearing Brad's words yet again), what happens if we go further?

What are our personal dreams if "anything" were possible? What ideas do we have, if any, about how to achieve them? Or do we just avoid that sort of question and be content where we are?

By thinking about those, and hearing about those dreams from each other, we can get a better idea of how we can work together in our group. The idea is to work from a vision of abundance rather than scarcity.

So I thought about my vision: To be some place warm. Without cars. With a library. As part of a community. My current ideas about how to do this: (not think about it), (1) get an TESL certificate, (2) go some place where they pay well and teach English. (3) Save money. (4) Go some place where that money is worth more and where it is warm, and live and help start that library. I might want an MA in applied linguistics eventually to get a better job.

But that doesn't feel terribly exciting to me. . . but that is how I direct my general life plan I guess.

I also jotted down that maybe we should have some wrestling in our meetings . . . or some Tai Chi Push Hands, or some contact improv, or all of that.

We could also have someone plan a game as part of our meetings . . . just to mix things up. I like the wrestling idea best. . . perhaps modified in some way so we don't hurt each other (like a Tai Chi push hands variation).

Then, that over, I came to where I had internet access and checked some email, visiting the new Ken Wilber site as a result. I love the picture of him on his 51st birthday, nicely muscled. He and his crew appear to be living on a different level than many of the rest of us. And can inspire us in at least a few ways.

His Integral Spirituality book should be out on August 8th for under $16 at Amazon.

First Brainstorm

Asunto: Future of our group?

I've been feeling my enthusiasm for the Ishmael meetings fade a bit. But, recently, I've been reading some of Stephen Covey's _8th habit_ and this has helped me think about how I might increase my passion.

Here are some notes from that reading:

(1) NEED that we address

(2) Trust, shared vision

   (a) discipline, passion


So-- here's a proposal for what we might do at our next meeting and in the future. . . Maybe you'll agree with some of this. I don't know if I'll like the plan when I finish it, but I feel like thinking about it now and this is how I do it.

(1) It seems we have a fairly committed core group: Brad, Laura, Mike, Colin, and some others depending on the meeting time/ date.

(2) We should structure our meeting around certain needs. I see at least the following:

 (a) Spiritual / personal development: Brad, Laura, Colin. We're trying to change and grow and we want to help each other and others not yet in our group do the same.

 (b) Community development, economy, family: Mike, Colin, Laura, Eric, many others--a traditional focus of Ishmael groups.

 (c) Openness and encouragment of new ideas: All of us.

(3) With those needs in mind I propose the following structure for our meetings:

     o 15 minutes of no schedule;
     o 5-10 minutes of silence/ centering;
     o 45 minutes or more of openspace-style small group agendas;

     o 45 minutes or less of committee-style work on particular needs.

     o Some sort of closing silence/ centering.

     That's it.

(4) Longer term vision for our group:

    (4.1) We are here to support individual and community development. I don't think we need a more complex mission statement than that.

    (4.2) Needs we address:

      (4.2.1) personal growth via community involvement.

      (.2) Basic needs: Housing, employment, family/love relations, economy.
      (.3) Growth and increasing localization of the group: eventually there will be multiple local smaller "Ishmael"-type groups growing and forming.

(5) Some concrete manifestations of these ideas:

  (5.1) Welcoming others: Our meetings have a plan for newcomers to help them feel welcome and to understand what is going on. There will be at least one person each meeting whose job it is to answer any of their questions as best they can--without the energies of the rest of the group being taken up in this process. Everyone, especially newcomers, will be encouraged to propose ideas to be discussed during the openspace part of the meeting.

  (5.2) Housing, employment, economy: As dispersed as we are, we begin to think of ourselves as tribe and as family to the extent possible. We help each other with our personal economies. We consider establishing housing co-ops.
  (How many do we have renting? How much does our group spend collectively on housing? Can we work together to leverage those resources to help the group grow? What other community houses are we aware of (Shakti Rising, Activist San Diego, Organic Collective)? What do we have to offer that Craig's List does not?

  (5.3) Mutual Freedom: Group members vary in their freedom from work, freedom from money, transportation, etc. . . Some of us have a lot of luxury in some ways. How can we help each other achieve the degrees of freedom that we want?

  (5.4) I'm willing to bet a lot of us are not motivated by the nuclear family and the nuclear household--we would rather dedicate our time, effort and love to establishing something like a tribal/intentional/communal family / community. How can we work with that interest? How can we also work with those who do have traditional families (None of us at this point? Is that the way it should be?)

  (5.5) Regarding "Nothing?": I think it is apparent to many of us that a sole focus on "Nothing?" may very well mean *Status Quo* and loss of interest in the group for those who are looking to it for *something*. The power of the "Nothing?" idea is in its use for individual and group spiritual/ personal development. We should incorporate it in that way (as part of a focus on helping communication in our group improve, and in helping us grow as individuals)--it should not be the sole focus of a group which needs to help its members solve all the problems of living.

"To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, . . . it is to solve some of the problems of life, not only theoretically, but practically."  -Henry Thoreau

(6) Therefore, in our next meeting, and _ON THIS LIST_ let us collect the needs of our community that we may be able to help each other with: Who's moving? Who wants a better job? Who wants to change/ improve their shelter situation? Who wants to spend less time working for others and more time doing their own/community work? What other community activities do we want?

(6.1) Who's going to be responsible for greeting and explaining things to newcomers? What is our strategy for growing the group? Should we each talk to 5 new people about the group for the next meeting? What should we do with people attracted by the "Nothing?" advertising? What about those attracted by the Quinn books?

(6.2) How can we get our group growing in increasingly local ways? Our future should *not* involve having people drive to the one monthly or bi-weekly group meeting from hours away. We should come up with Bioregional-style names for the following regions and foster groups there: "City Heights", "Ocean Beach/other beaches", "SDSU/la Mesa", "UCSD", "North County" and so on.

(6.3) How do we contrast with other groups--clearly we are not Activist San Diego or Organic Collective people, though we have things in common with them. I also imagine there is a community around People's Co-op in OB (we had some of them at the last meeting). To what extent is what we're doing different? We may be better off pointing to other communities and ways of building community than in developing our own multiple new ones.

(6.4) What parts of our group development do individual members want to take responsibility for? In the long run, those are the things most likely to get done? What do you want to see happen in/with the group? What are you prepared to do to make that real?

Ok. So that is my brainstorm for the moment. What are your thoughts on this?

. . .

After re-reading it, here are some my reactions and statements of personal interest:

(a) I'd like to help make a group, probably car-free, camp out/ hike happen. I have so many cool memories of boyscout-type trips-- just being together in the wilderness somewhere with not much else to do but cook a meal or two (and perhaps study plants/ practice primitive skills / meditate) can be very cool.

(b) I'd like to help the SDSU-area Ish group grow--there's a lot happening here that we can leverage-- the Kroc center (where Bill came from), the enchanted garden (where Caroline may live and Mike may work), the campus (and the students), the trolley station.

(c) I'd like to discuss strategies for helping each other's personal development--does Wilber's integral approach make sense to people?

   (c.1) What about those who are more trapped in jobs, financially, etc--how can we help them? Or is our group mostly of those people who've had it all and found it lacking (malcontent bourgeois)?

(d) I'd like to develop strategies for establishing a network of growing localized groups--- Break up the large group-- help the single outliers (Temecula, Vista) move or grow a local group.

  (d.1) Can we develop a vision of various magnitudes of growth? Would the biggest be a full-on ecovillage/ eco-city/ eco-country / eco-world?  A step on the way be an eco-ish-housing coop? The embryonic group be a simple discussion meeting?

  (d.2) In other words, can we create a franchise--a structure that can tap into the demonstrated *energy* of the ishmael-based network and help it grow into things? and help it get beyond the discussion group stage?

  (d.3) or is it fine as it is? Ish groups nation-wide have already been the incubator for many interesting projects and productive, lasting, loving relationships.

(e) Do I have anything else?? That's enough for now. Though it would be good to:

(f) Find ways of looking more closely at why those who keep participating in our meetings do so, and why those who don't don't. Maybe make sure to collect newcomer info so we can find why they leave, and regularly check in with members to see

   (f.1) Why they keep coming, and whether their enthusiasm for the group is staying the same, growing, or decreasing.

See some of you next Sunday, and perhaps even on Friday, and perhaps in between.

Colin Leath

1216  (Time spent 1:13).

Colin Leath <>    

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