I am back in New Hampshire two days now (just missed the storm!), enjoying some calm and quiet after a very exciting and transformational 6-week road trip. I tell some stories about that below, ending with some exciting news: I am probably moving to Baltimore in March! Planning on spending a lot of time in Philadelphia as well, building a Circling and Authentic Relating community in both places. There is talk of an intentional community in Baltimore as well, which is (of course) my dream.
It would be impossible to communicate all the events, connections and internal shifts of the last 6 weeks, even if I wanted to. I can give a few highlights however:
- Connecting with my new spiritual teacher in Fredonia, New York. His name is Anatole and I could write a novel about that alone. Check out his new book, Abandoning Exile. It is wonderful!
- A lovely visit to Philadelphia, where I connected with a lot of people and led my first on-the-ground circle (as opposed to online). It filled immediately with no advertising (God Bless you Elissa Klein for producing it) and was very fun. I look forward to many more!
- Attending the Authentic Leadership and Facilitation Training in Washington DC, where I met the A/R community in DC and got trained to lead A/R Games. Unfortunately during the training (located in a not-so-savory area of DC) my car window was smashed. Fortunately they took only a back-pack full of old T-shirts and underwear, LOL. Karmic justice. I just taped up my window with cardboard and duct tape and proceeded on my way.
- Three weeks in Mount Storm, West Virginia, as a “New Culture intern”, at the Allegheny Crest Intentional Village, which is an initiative of the New Culture East movement. I was mostly building shelves and moving boxes there (an opportunity to stop thinking and get my head out of my ass), while enjoying the gorgeous weather and scenery. This ended with their New Year’s gathering, which was one of the best transformational retreats that I have ever attended in my life. Especially given the price point and the fact that is led by amateurs (i.e. not professional psychologists). New Culture represents to me some of the very best “community-based healing” (peer-led) I have ever witnessed. I have now joined the cult, proud to be a card-carrying member. They don’t fully get Circling and A/R as a movement, but it doesn’t matter, because I can do both! More on this below.
- Finally (best news of all): meeting people at the New Year’s gathering who were moving into community in Baltimore, reminding me of my old friend Mary Hall who lives there now, and with whom I have been plotting community schemes for many years, ever since she lived with us in Philadelphia (she likes to talk as much as I do). Leading to now actually taking action on this. Significant parts of Baltimore are very poor, which in many ways makes it an ideal place for me to start leading A/R on-the-ground. It’s also a virgin market (Philadelphia has some A/R activity but not much).
I am pinching myself to make sure all this is real…
So, it looks like a great adventure beginning in another few months (this is what I live for, of course, relational adventures), and maybe a permanent adventure, which is even better. I can’t leave New Hampshire before March as I need to take care of my mother (hip replacement surgery in February). And this actually suits me fine, as I have had enough excitement to last me a while. I actually need to try and calm down, “chop wood / carry water”. Or, as Anatole puts it: “Relax, Enjoy, Do Something Useful”.
That’s about all I want to say. One of the big issues that has come up and getting cleared in the last few months (also alluded to in previous post) is the topic of my leadership, specifically my qualifications and skills to lead Circling and A/R. I wrote a full article at Circling, leadership development, and facing shadow (if you are interested). The issue came up quite strong at New Culture again, as there is virtually no interest in Circling at the organizational level (there is a fair amount of interest from the membership). This is no longer an issue for me, like I say; but I continue to find it puzzling how so many of these transformational organizations operate in virtual isolation. The A/R movement has 3-5 times the reach of the entire New Culture movement (and 10x the New Culture East group), in every category: membership size, geographic distribution, cash flow, global community, and research activity. Like New Culture, it is an open-source (not brand-controlled) movement with distributed management (New Culture currently has one group on the East coast and four on the West Coast). New Culture does their version of A/R games, of course. You would think, however, they would be interested in exploring collaboration and shared practice with one of the largest and most rapidly-growing authenticity and connection movements in the world, would you not? But No. People are strange. Or maybe it’s just because I am strange (well, that is a fact, I will own it). I have my work cut-out, in any case.
Stay in touch! I will email again when I land in Baltimore, of course.