Workshop Preparation

The community-building process requires self-examination from the beginning. And as the members become thoughtful about themselves they also learn to become increasingly thoughtful about the group.

M. Scott Peck, MD
The Different Drum

A Couple Things to Let Go

What We Mean by Community

Don’t get misled by our use of the word Community. In this context, we’re referring to an actual experience that people can have — but hardly ever do — when they come together in a group. It is a sort of reified authenticity that surfaces as members learn to “remove the walls and barriers of misunderstanding that unduly separate [them] one from another.” (M. Scott Peck, MD, The Different Drum.)

What We Mean by Workshop

Also, don’t get misled by our use of the word Workshop. We don’t teach about Community in the sort of workshop style you might be familiar with. There will be no PowerPoint lectures, keynote addresses, breakout sessions or networking opportunities. Instead, people learn about Community Building  by building Community — experientially. In Community Building Workshops, members discover how to move beyond what separates them in order to communicate more authentically with one another.

Pre-Workshop Exercise (Life Events)

Please take a moment before the Workshop to complete the following journal-like exercise. Its purpose is to put you in a reflective mood and to introduce you to several practices that we will build on during your Community Building experience.

  1. Prepare a still space for yourself by closing doors, shutting windows, muting audio, silencing notifications, shutting down background apps, posting do not disturb, etc. If you need to engage your senses to manage anxiety, do what works for you. Quiet music, white noise, incense, candles, tea, etc. Otherwise, all you need for this exercise is a something to write with, something to write on, and something to keep track of time.
  2. Take three minutes to search yourself for thing that might be distracting you and try your best to set it aside — just for the time being — in order to be fully present for the exercise. 
  3. When you feel unhurried by the outside world and able to be attentive to only what is in front of you, take ten minutes and start listing things that have affected you personally in your life. Big or small. Positive or negative. Recent or long gone. List as many life events as you can think of as fast as you can think of them. Don’t explain. Just list. The beginning or breakdown of a relationship. The offer or loss of a job. The birth or death of a loved one. Falling in or out of love. A friend’s backing or betrayal. Just list them as they come to mind. And stop after ten minutes. If you run out of life events to list before ten minutes, just sit and see if more come to mind.
  4. After ten minutes, take another three minutes to sit and do nothing. As thoughts come to you try to set them aside in order to be fully present to yourself.
  5. Then, complete the quick grounding below.

Note: Your list is private. It will not be collected at the Workshop. So tuck it away or throw it away. It’s up to you.

Journaling

Journaling is one of the oldest methods of self-exploration. Many people find it a useful process for clarifying relationships, negotiating new situations, overcoming obstacles, resolving past hurts, gaining insights. It can also be a powerful tool for processing and understanding the Community Building experience as it unfolds. Therefore, we encourage you to consider keeping a journal at breaks and in the evenings during the Workshop. If you plan to continue journaling during the Workshop and you’ve never kept a journal before (or it’s been a long time) here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • There is no writing while the Workshop is in session.
  • Keep it simple!
  • It’s about you — your ideas, emotions, wants, etc.
  • Don’t get caught up in whether or not you’re doing it right.
  • Keep it private and write accordingly.
  • Write from the first person perspective.
  • Stick to the present tense.
  • Don’t try to impress yourself.
  • Forget about grammar and spelling.
  • Write for quantity, not quality.

If You’ve Attended a Workshop Before

Many people say that their second Workshop is their most difficult one. But it can also be one of the most productive. If you have attended a Community Building Workshop in the past, it’s important to set aside this experience and enter the circle with a beginner’s mind, open to a fresh experience with new things to learn. For more information about your second Workshop, click here.

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