Lately the topic of building communities is becoming very present for meâ€¦.living communities, communities of practice, online communitiesâ€¦.. I asked myself the question what is the community I envisage? Where is the borderline between professional and personal communities? What is the center/core/heart of the community I want to create? Am I creating or co-creating a community? What is my role in those communities to be created? Why do I want to (co)create communities?
It is getting difficult to put those things in wordsâ€¦.so if it is a bit hard to follow just bare with me.
During my studies in Sweden and my life journey afterwards I experienced different practices for enlivening myself, communities, organisations. Those practices are so simple and so powerful, and I was amazed that at the age of 29 I learned about them for the first time. Some of them I can practice on my own and I do, however by inviting other people to join creates a very different experience. Others are only possible in a bigger group, where the collective intelligence can be used. I will tell you more about those practices in a moment.
In the process of all those mixed thoughts I realised that actually I donâ€™t what to create a community but to create spaces and invite people to practice. Communities might form around it, however this is something which emerges. I am extremely grateful to all those people who created and keep on creating such spaces and invite me into themâ€¦THANK YOU!
Here I would like to introduce some of the practices I use. Some of them I use on a weekly basis, some once a month. It is not an attempt to provide a complete list. I continue to try and adapt new practices into my lifestyle but those are the practices which are very present for me at the moment.
Weekly reflection - for the first time I tried it during my studies in Sweden. As part of one of a course we had to write a weekly reflection essay. We got some guidelines and deadlines for submission, so there was no way around it. For 2 months, every Sunday we had to submit 1000 words essay, reflecting on what this week brought to us. It was one of the most powerful practice for me and by just taking the time to do it, I learned so much about myself.
When I came back to Frankfurt in August I felt overwhelmed by the clash of my old and new experiences, by the speed of lifeâ€¦.I had this strong need to create space to digest all those reflections, emotions and thoughts. So I decided to start again a weekly reflection practice â€ś Reflection Sunday" and invite close friends to join me whenever they like.
Here is the process around it. Every Friday I send a reminder and whoever feels like joining drops me a line. Friends can come to my place or join from wherever they are (through Skype or even in their thoughts).
16:00 - 16:30 short check-in with the question â€śWhat do you leave aside to be present in this space?â€ť.
16:30 - 18:30 solo time for reflections from this week. In this time everyone can follow their senses and do it the way, which serves him/her bestâ€¦..e.g. writing a reflection essay, going for a walk, having a nap. Important is that it is done in silenceâ€¦..no phones, no FB, no conversations...
18:30 - 19:00 check-out circle, time to come back together and say if there is something we want to share from this experience. There are two rules:
# Join on time! Start is at 16:00!
# In the solo reflection time we are in silence, so no phones, no FB, no conversations.
I remember that when I started I had this thought â€¦..3 hours every Sunday, it is a lot of timeâ€¦.but I have experienced it before and I knew how powerful it is, and that this is exactly what I need when there are so many things happening around meâ€¦. What helped me keep my dedication in the first weeks was the previous experience, the need and the fact that I was inviting other people into it.
I do it every Sunday for the last 6 months and it brings me so much clarity and lightness. If I miss it (which happened 2 times) I feel that my mind and my soul are longing for it. I have spent my Reflection Sunday at home, in a train, sitting in a Hammock â€¦..I did it alone, with another person or in a group of fiveâ€¦.diversity makes it even more interesting.
Flow writing - another way of reflectingâ€¦..yes, I love reflection:-)
This method, which I also experienced during my studies in Sweden, is as simple as taking my note book (I always have one with me) and starting to write down everything that comes to meâ€¦. just writing, writing writingâ€¦.without thinking. I use this method when I feel strong emotionsâ€¦.hhhhm difficult to give it a nameâ€¦.it can be that I am very angry, sad orâ€¦.hhhm not sure if it is mainly linked to â€śunpleasantâ€ť emotions but in a way there tends to be some issue behind, something which feels heavyâ€¦. I cannot remember that personally I used it in a moment of extreme happiness or lightnessâ€¦..
It is a way of putting on a paper what is burning inside of meâ€¦.the words are not important, important is to write them down. I donâ€™t even read it at the end. I remember that once I was sitting at a beautiful place and in the same time asking myself â€śwhat the hell am I doing here?â€ť. The question of purpose was so strong in me that even the beautiful view around me was not able to suppress itâ€¦â€¦so I simply started writing, at one point my pen run out of inkâ€¦.. I continued writing without ink â€¦it was a powerful moment.
Flow writing gives me lightness on the spot, and once I am calm again, I look back at the situation with different eyes.
Hhhm my first idea for this post was to make a summary of my main practices but now I realise that the post will get too long. So I will introduce them step by step in my next posts.
Invitation to everyone - feel free to share your practices as well.
I had an aha moment while writing thisâ€¦.even though I learned so many new practices in the last two years, I had some personal practices before as wellâ€¦. like writing a diary for example. I will look into them again. What were they and how they helped me to go on my journey?
Do I need a lot of practices? â€¦..good questionâ€¦..I feel that those practices are like tools (sorry, I donâ€™t have a better non-mechanic term)â€¦..I have them in my toolbox and I can use them whenever needed. I see the mastery in figuring out if I need something and what is it that can support me best in a specific situationâ€¦..The good think is that even if I have to KNOW and understand how to use the different practices (which I love doing), in many cases I simply FEEL which one I need.
Ok I am getting philosophic, time to say goodbye. Write to you next week:-)