M L King Weekend, January 2014

By Brenda Crawford, Facilitator and Council Member

On my way to the Community Building Workshop in Chicago, I was reminded of many wonderful childhood memories and adventures that only required me to believe, to be myself; and to trust that I would be enough. In the past, when I facilitated, I often had anxiety beforehand; but this time I had a strong sense of calm, openness and faith.  I'd met the co-facilitators Joe DeMars and Kathy Flipiak previously, and was excited to join together with them to do this work. I was relaxed and expected that together, we would be able to build community with each other, be adequate guides; and hold safe a space for the group to do its work. 

In short order, we three began to prepare and ready ourselves by building community with each other.  We shared our intentions, fears and gratitude for the experience. We emptied ourselves of blocks to being fully involved. Trust came easily as we took care of the logistics of preparing the room. We hung out together, getting more acquainted, laughing, and even shedding a few tears. Lastly we assigned responsibilities for beginning the workshop. This was our process to build community with each other

Each of us participated in the welcome and introduction of the session. I was asked to read "The Rabbi's Gift"  As I read the names, I found myself identifying with each of the old monks -- the reliable one, the crotchety one, the “nobody”, and the Abbot.  I had a deep sense of relating personally to each one of them; and for an instant, I did wonder if I could be enough in this experience.

On day one, Kathy, Joe and I sat through periods of pseudo community and silence and struggled not to be pulled into doing the group’s work.  On day two, the pseudo community was challenged; when someone in the group criticized the merits of the experience. They labeled the activity superficial.  This comment incited prolonged chaos, and anger among some participants. After a while of fixing and healing; silence broke through, and brought with it self-reflection and group reflections. Emptiness ensued as individuals dared to go deeper and allowed themselves to be included, as well, to include others.  

Then a very subtle awareness happened to me.  I noticed that it was no longer just Joe, Kathy and me holding the safe space – there were others in the group doing the same; and the numbers increased as silence and emptiness allowed, in a spirit of calm, forgiveness and acceptance that wasn’t there before.  I was encouraged and reminded as I looked at the faces in the circle, of what it means to “hang in there”, and I discovered again what it means “to stay in the tension”, and “to tolerate the ambiguity”. The softer eyes and ears permitted participants to open their minds and hearts and put down their armor. As I recall, there was no discussion about reaching Community. Instead there seemed to be merely a quiet deference to the moment, and a palpable shared compassion and care between these individuals – for each other; and each for themselves. Without naming it, we seemed to know what we’d done together and that collectively each of us had forged and created this sweetness.

It's been weeks since the workshop ended and the experience still lingers within me.   Back in Wyoming I try to remember to hold on to my deep desire and intention to believe, to be myself and to trust that this indeed is enough, and I am enough; and to never forget that the miracle of Community is still possible.        

3 March 2014.

Showing 6 reactions

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  • Elizabeth Wiley
    commented 2019-04-29 12:38:21 -0400
    I must have learned at least some of the community building aspects while a member of the Native American Committee of The Friends Service Committee in the Los Angeles area in the sixties. I also must have learned at least some while getting my Masters Degree in Bicultural Development Specialty in the late eighties for a project in Racial Tension and Gang Abatement they had heard I was doing and asked me at Pacific Oaks if I wanted a Fellowship to complete my original work. I surely think this is the time for both community building, in our homes, cities, counties, states, and nations of the world…………..as the old song says, LET PEACE BEGIN WITH ME. A mediator, and a training mediator for community mediation projects as part of my work………it has been a single focus of my work with families and neighborhoods, businesses, etc.
  • Fred Weiersmueller
    commented 2018-08-22 21:01:07 -0400
    Community Gathering Homes (CGH) in each block of distressed neighborhoods might be a good alliance with FCE. I am new to the web page and If interested I can email the two-page MS Word document detailing my CGH proposal and how it would work. Maybe some elements of CGH would work inside of FCE. Thanks, Fred Weiersmueller Florissant, Missouri.
  • Sasi Hada
    commented 2018-06-03 08:22:01 -0400
    An Aadhar card is issued so that all details of a person are inscribed on it and one could use it for various benefits. These benefits can be in the form of subsidy that on various goods and services as well as the schemes that the government comes up with from time to time.

    This project was introduced in 2009, by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI). This program wants each and every citizen to have a unique number which involves issuing an Aadhar number as well as one Aadhar card. here you get E aadhar http://www.aadharuid.in/
  • About Creativity
    commented 2016-08-20 23:06:44 -0400
    1. mass,usa 2. canada
  • About Creativity
    commented 2016-08-20 23:05:21 -0400
    Very good workshops.
  • Stephen Alish Tasen
    commented 2015-11-18 05:42:20 -0500
    by Stephen Alish Tasen

    I attended a FCE workshop in 1986 in San Clemente, CA.

    The experience which led to our collective inner peace and silence was encouraging. The only frame of reference I had to describe it was that of what I had read in the bible about the Holy Spirit. The thought occurred to me, “Wow, if we can hold onto this unity, this spirit, this energy – there is nothing we can’t do together.” Our workshop ended and we all went back to our own lives gradually drifting away from the experience of True Community that Dr. Scott Peck wrote about in The Different Drum. But I never gave up hope and here I am now living in a vibrant community with true friends encouraging one another daily as was the normal response to the love we received…We have given up everything else – emptied ourselves – and now we have each other eternally.

    Please read about A BRAND NEW CULTURE we have co-created since 1972.

    [email protected]