Community building has lost one of its great advocates and facilitators.
Bonnie’s contributions to the Foundation for Community Encouragement (FCE) and community building were significant, varied, and frequent. She was a facilitator, Board member, Council member, volunteer and friend. Over many decades, Bonnie touched a multitude of people through formal and informal community building practices.
The following excerpts from emails that Bonnie wrote seem a poignant way to illustrate how exceptional Bonnie was, to draw from her wisdom, and to celebrate her essence and belief in community.
Let me say just another word about my experience with the Foundation for Community Encouragement. I am now a volunteer, as is everyone who works for FCE at this point in our history. I help answer inquiries from our web site. In the mid 80’s, I was trained by Scotty to facilitate Community Building Workshops. I have worked from coast to coast and border to border in the US. I have worked in Canada and Taiwan. I served as the Chair of the Board of Directors of FCE. I have also sponsored workshops for specific groups to tackle big issues like reducing infant mortality here in NC.
…I tell you this to let you know that I am familiar with both the CB model and the Foundation.
I know of no better set of learnings to become more fully human and have the capacity to sustain relationships over time than the ones offered by Dr. Peck through his Foundation for Community Encouragement Community Building Workshops.
For those of us who worked with the Foundation for the 20 years of its existence our mantra, which not adequate but the only words we have is: “It changed my life.”’
I think that those of us who find our way to FCE are almost always in deep need of love and are scared by various life histories that make our behavior more paradoxical than for folks who – either aren’t as needy – or who never look deep enough inside themselves to discover their needs. The preceding is not an “I” statement, but for me, is nonetheless true. I long since gave up believing that community building was a panacea for helping me with my emotional, psychological needs. It just gives me tools to make life more understandable and helps me help others, all of who are in need of discovering what CB has to teach – respect for one another through emptiness and deep listening.
…while we get lots of inquiries about the model and there continues to be more and more need throughout the world for the skills learned in CBE and Ws, we have not solved, to date, the dilemma about how to sell our Elixir of Love that has made my life immeasurably easier, happier and more worthwhile.
I can tell you that many folks will be very resistant to participating in the circle. I can remember the first time I sat down in a CB circle I was scared to the point of nausea. If it hadn’t been for a greater pain dealing with a personnel issue at my job at the time, I would likely never have submitted to the process. I am telling you this so you won’t be surprised, disappointed or deterred by folks reaction to your suggestion of using this model to begin your project.
The learnings gained in participating in the model are for many of us life changing. That certainly includes the bettering of our relationship with our family.
In my search for intimacy and the alleviation of human loneliness, I have assigned unrealistic expectations to the CB model, and thus, in times past, have been disappointed when it falls short of being all things for all people.
I think what we have to offer is some powerful experiential learning about how to communicate. In an intentional community it would seem to me that having some specific tools to be able to "hear" each other at the deepest level possible for we humans would be an important skill. That is what the model has taught me and others. It is life changing to be able to empty one's self of one's own agenda in order to hear another.
The length of a CBW is three days.
…People resist the three days as too long. I say to them – Three days to change your life is not a long time. (That is not hyperbole. This model has changed many lives, Including mine.)
It is my less than humble belief that Scotty's Community Building model can be applied to many, many different issues. As long as human beings are involved there is the opportunity to teach them to put aside their own agenda, open their heart, mind and ears and listen to understand another's point of view.
On M Scott Peck
Back in the day, when Scotty was alive and on the lecture circuit, FCE was busy and successful. When Scotty stopped lecturing around the world, our business stopped too. So, it has been about 12 years since we have had a staff. If folks haven’t heard of Dr. Peck and Community Building, the best book for them to read is “A Different Drum”, which describes the Community Building process.
I was trained by Scotty to facilitate the Community Building model in the mid 1980s. He was a VERY smart and caring man.
Bonnie on Bonnie
I used to sing in public, now just the shower. J
Looking back at 73 years of living, one of my great learnings is that in order to eventually get the life you want you have to do extremely hard things and be willing to walk through great pain to the other side – which is the life you desire.
Rusty and I were brilliant as usual (tee-hee) in our role as facilitators for the Guelph CBW. (Well, maybe not brilliant, but certainly very experienced and caring.)
I think most people have written FCE off as a lost cause and moved on with other things. I have certainly tried to do that myself, but I am forever grateful and indebted to the model for “changing my life”, so I keep coming back.
I am getting old and sarcastic (or maybe the sarcasm has nothing to do with age)…
I have as much need for love and caring as the next person - maybe more. Community building is hard work, but it feeds my need to be cared about at a level seldom found in our pseudo-world.
Bonnie on Facilitating
“It is not about you” is, for me, not helpful because when it is happening and the group chooses to focus on killing YOU rather than doing their work, it really is about you. I’m just sayin………………………… If you compare the killing to that of Christ’s crucifixion, it really is about the person being killed. Nit picky, I know, but what it takes from the facilitator is discernment, courage and emptiness. It is, for me, necessary that it be about ME doing the emptying, discerning and having the courage to offer myself up to die. That’s enough.
There are still a few Scotty trained facilitators that love to do the work, I being one.
January 5, 2015.