O.N.E.space Community Conversations!
Over the past few years, around the dinner and breakfast table with my closer circles of friend-family and community colleagues, I have been hosting heart to heart conversations about community.
This past Sunday, in support of the Ashland Culture of Peace Commission we started a 'twice monthly' community gathering to open the conversations up to wider circles of our fellow community members, with hopes of getting a group of people in the room who might not otherwise be in conversation together in this heart-to-heart kind of way.
We call this gathering Conversation Cafe, and declare it as an invitation: inviting heart to heart conversations about deep, emotionally charged issues in community.
Our Conversation Cafe is based on the model offered at, www.conversationcafe.org and also invites what we call Creative Communication, the full body experiencing and expressing of one's truths with the intention of sharing ALL aspects of our experience, not just those that we think are most appropriate, and not just with words, but with silence, movement, sounds, song, stillness.... This approach and term - Creative Communication - comes from the Self-Exploration Witnessing process.
All O.N.E.space Community Conversations are an invitation to share and hear what is present on the hearts and minds of the collective, to listen and learn about who our fellow community members are and what is happening with us as a collective, to come together around the challenging parts and to celebrate our capacity to do so.
Our first Conversation Cafe happened this past Sunday February 28 from 4:30 - 6pm at the Pony Expresso on Main St. We had a lovely intimate turn-out with some very welcome diversity in the areas of age, gender and socio-economic status.
The theme for the evening was a quote from Cornel West, "...justice is what love looks like in public."
We began the conversation by taking 5 minutes to silently meditate on our personal imaginings of what a culture of peace would feel like and then moved into the theme.
The conversation ranged from, the fact of rising rents and real estate costs in Ashland and what message that delivers as to the kind of city this is and who is welcome to live here; to, the deplorable elements of our society and the possibilities of how to change them that the Michael Moore movie "Where to Invade Next" brings to light.
We spoke of how we can live 'justice' each moment in our life, standing up for each other and not allowing injustices to go on in our presence.
We spoke of 'play' as a tool for change and how little playtime that American adults have the time to partake in.
We spoke of the use of comedy as a platform/tool for opening people to feel and consider the injustices that are going on and to spur important dialogue around them, and we spoke of how, on the other hand, comedy can be used as a way of appeasing, avoiding, making light of and desensitizing us to very important issues in our lives.
We spoke of homelessness and of travelers passing through Ashland and of people with jobs who are sleeping in their cars because they cannot afford the cost of living, but want to be in a safe welcoming, open-minded, loving community environment.
We spoke of personal things which were beautiful gifts, some challenging to receive, and which are to remain confidential, held compassionately in the heart-minds of all those who attended.
It was a sweet evening, a beautiful, auspicious beginning.
If you are interested, please come to the next one: Sunday March 12,
at Pony Expresso on Main St. in Ashland
and Join the Conversation!
in peace, passion and solidarity,
*weaving the Heart Warrior Compassion-Net one heart to heart conversation at a time!