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From: Bruce S.
Date: Saturday, June 26, 2010, 11:22 AM
Subject: Shift Integration - The Power of Community
ID: 270251

The past two months in my world have been an extraordinary period of creativity.   During the entire time of this oil spill in the gulf, I have found myself working constantly on an array of interconnected projects, pulling the core concepts of spirituality, community and politics together, into a single integral framework, with specialized "on-ramps" for the various demographics and sectors being pulled together into the convergence.

Following a period of strict adherence to classical disciplines, as best I could manage them, with my energy in a very strong focus, in late April I found myself drawn into a conversation with some of my partners from "the divine feminine".  Certain keys regarding "oneness" and global vision and "one global heart" seemed to trigger a sudden and unanticipated burst of sustained creativity, that has led to an array of emerging new projects.

For me, the absolute breadth of inclusion -- ranging not only across the full spectrum of "right brain" and "left brain", but also across the full range of the concept of community (city block, neighborhood, city, county, state, region, nation, world, etc) -- seems to be coming together in a powerful and simple way, that can be conceptually integrated through the one simple and intuitive concept of "community".

As is stated at http://berkana.org -- "Whatever the problem, community is the answer".  This emerging new vision and perhaps astonishing claim is something we can understand in increasingly acute detail, as we clarify the specifics. 

How, for example, does the concept of community "transcend and include" just about everything known on the subject of "spirituality"?  It seems increasingly clear that this is simply true.  At its highest and most sacred level, community comes together in communion, and communion in the context of diversity (as found in real-world community) is convergently driven towards profound universal simplicity.  All of this is highly consistent with traditional metaphysics and the "Doctrine of the One".  Extended research and exploration into "interfaith" processes simply reinforce and authenticate the power of this simple integration.  We can almost simply say, "We know how this works -- let's just do it..."


The beginning of this creative cycle was initially accelerated by my contact with Carolyn Anderson, author of the Co-Creator's Handbook, and a long-time circle-developer and activist.  Carolyn has worked with Barbara Marx-Hubbard for many years, has developed and seeded hundreds or thousands of circles around the world, and was a developer and organizer of the original "Harmonic Convergence" in 1984.  Though I have been working with "circles" since 2002 or 2003, and we put our best ideas on this subject into our Global Resonance Network (http://globalresonance.net) during the sustained a sustained co-creative cycle from 2003 to 2008, I had never really "clicked" with a co-creative partner on these projects.  Something in the connection with Carolyn seemed to release a flow of power that has continued since our initial contact on the phone two months ago, which has led to the development of a core network for all of this work, which we call "Network of Circles" -- at http://networkofcircles.net

I see in this project a profound organic ontology, interconnecting a basic instinct for connection and relationship that is today being spearheaded by the international women's circle movement.  Circles are not only a profound principle for community connection, dialogue and deliberation, and democratic process -- they are also a profound principle for integral network design -- perhaps somewhat along the lines suggested by the "Flower of Life" as described by Drunvalo Melchizedek.  We are continuing the development of the Network of Circles project in a co-creative way, bringing in multiple voices and developing a framework for a broad alliance of circle-related projects and organizations.  For me, this project is at the core of the most profound spiritual vision.  This is how, it seems to me, that we can accomplish the "shift integration" -- pulling 10,000 visions and organizations and agencies and forces into a common integral resonance at the highest level of collective intelligence.  For me, it has been true for a long time that "the path to spiritual realization" is no longer a voyage any of us can meaningfully undertake on our own.  We ARE interconnected, and our spiritual evolution and realization is controlled by and guided by collective spiritual evolution.  We must unfold our unique personal spirituality through co-creative relationships that honor the depths of who we are and why we are on this planet at this time...

So, under the spell of this magic vision, I found myself being drawn into multiple related conversations dealing with other aspects of this larger integration.  The circle-vision is profoundly intuitive and "right brain".  It is "absolutely integral", and includes everything and everybody -- but how does it become real?  How does it deal with specific issues?  How do we bring it down to earth?  How does it relate to hundreds or thousands of projects and visions emerging around the world, that take on some aspect of this profound central vision of "shift"?

I have been involved with "The Spirit of Democracy" for several years, and have built a number of projects concerned with an emerging new democracy.  Beginning in January of this year, I created a project called The Purple Alliance, which was intended to gather and collate this vision  http://purplealliance.us

Because I am convinced that a new understanding of democracy is critically important, and can be most powerfully and authentically organized over the internet, and using other methods of electronic communications, I have been joining various networks and projects having to do with "e-Democracy" -- including projects at http://www.e-democracy.org   Though my connections with that network, I made some new contacts, and refreshed some old ones, and several new projects having to do with "community" began to emerge.

One important connection is Cheryl Honey, "Master Community Weaver", with her websites http://www.communityweaving.org/ and the Family Support Network, at http://www.goodneighbors.net/  Cheryl has been "connecting" people in service to strong community for many years -- and, in fact, is scheduled to work with the Mayor of Nevada City, California, developing a community project beginning in just a few days.  Cheryl understands interconnectivity and "people helping people" -- a core idea of community, and at the heart of the "We are One" vision.  Cheryl has taken this abstract ideal and turned it into a series of applied methods and processes that work in the context of established community institutions.

Another connection is Richard Flyer, who also calls himself a "community weaver", and who has been building projects in the Reno area for a number of years.  Richard's website is http://www.startwhereyoulive.com -- "Start Where You Live -- Weaving Conscious Community"  Richard has a profound and simple spiritual vision that drives his work, that I put into the blog on the Purple Alliance, "Overcoming What Ails Us" -- http://purplealliance.us/blog.cfm?tbp=100070

Cheryl and Richard are both on the e-Democracy.org network, and about 6 weeks ago, we began to come together and form a little development consortium that has been meeting regularly over the phone.  Other members include Carline Lubin, a lady computer engineer from Haiti who lives in Florida, and has built a community development and support network with national capacity, at http://www.toolzdo.com   And we were also joined by Leo Romero, a community organizer originally from the Philippines who now works in affordable housing in Oakland California, and is in a position to develop strong community projects in the East Bay area.

Leo led us to begin developing "survey" projects, and we started working together by adopting a "survey monkey" project he had developed, into a web/network/database project that I developed, to support and expand this work.  As we have continued to work together, this collaboration has led to the creation of two new web projects:

http://collaborativealliance.us/ -- which contains a continuingly evolving framework for our "survey" process, and is intended to gather and bring together community organizers and activists of every stripe, from anywhere, bringing their ideas and insights and skills regarding tools and capabilities into a single shared environment, intended to support collaborative work.  Among other things, we are looking for ways to bridge open source software projects with proprietary approaches.

And working with Leo Romero, we have developed http://neighborhoodcommunities.net -- which is a simple direct project intended for intimately local ("hyper-local", as some are calling it today) community organizing and development.  This project is essentially a survey that contains a series of "interests" and "skills and needs", as taken from some well-established sociological research in community development (influenced by Harvard University, etc.), and is intended as a tool to help people find each other in a local community area.  People click options in this survey interface, and become immediately connected through our electronic integration.  Leo Romero is well-connected in professional and academic circles in the East Bay, and is currently organizing a big block party project for West Oakland, and we expect to introduce this project there.  He is linked to the CraigsList Foundation, interested in and funding community projects in the East Bay.


As this community organizing work has continued to unfold, I have been strongly drawn into the emerging new political organizing potentials inherent in the "Coffee Party" movement -- http://coffeepartyusa.com

I had first heard of Annabel Park when she began appearing on national television in early March, and I immediately joined and became involved with her emerging project.  I wrote about it repeatedly on the Purple Alliance, and have continued to be inspired by its possibilities.  In the last month or so, through a connection from Cheryl Honey, I started working with Ben Roberts, who is a Coffee Party "point person" in Connecticut.  Ben has been organizing a series of conference calls on the Maestro Conference telephone system, and I began connecting with Ben by joining some of his calls.

We continued to talk, and I began building some web projects to support these emerging new potentials.  Telephone conference calls are a powerful new aspect of our electronic network capacity, and Maestro Conference seems to be spearheading the option to do "breakout groups" within the call.  Ben is following a model for group process based on "World Cafe" -- http://theworldcafe.com -- and it turns out that Ben has a direct connection with Tom Atlee, who is (if I got this right) a family friend.  Ben has been bringing in Amy Lenzo, the network coordinator for World Cafe, and we have had a continuing series of calls, the most recent one being last Thursday, where we discussed "The Gulf Oil Spill".

Because I believe in this project, and want to build better integration between processes, I worked with Ben to create a way for groups to register conference calls on the Maestro Conference framework.  We now have a pretty strong system for organizing a series of calls that are directly linked to internet follow-up.  The registration system operates at http://sharedpurpose.net/maestro/index.cfm  This framework enables us to manage a series of calls, send broadcast emails to participants, and organize conference details.

This project is currently dedicated and framed in a way that is based on the Coffee Party, but Ben and I are exploring the rather simple design questions that emerge if we wanted to offer this same system of registration to other groups.  Ben is talking to a few groups, and we are interested to see where this goes.  There are many groups out there that could benefit from the Maestro Conference approach to conference calls, and our system provides strong integration for continuing the conversation in an online framework (i.e. we have the conference registrants name, email address, password and phone number in our system, and can build "social networking" applications based on that information).  Based on the World Cafe model we are following, we have built a network for posting "Sticky Notes" -- which are the response and comments of people involved in the phone calls, gathered up through a "harvest" process at the conclusion of the call.  Our "Sticky Board" is online at http://sharedpurpose.net/cafe/board.cfm

Based on my evolving and emerging relationship with the Coffee Party, in the last week or so I have been connected with Coffee Party founder Annabel Park, and have developed a "polling interface" for the CP "national vote on money in politics", which is currently underway at this moment.  This interface runs under the same integration as other CP projects on http://sharedpurpose.net and we are continuing to gather not only the brief tabular responses to our series of 9 questions, but also some substantial text-based comments in the 10th question.  Our voting interface is online at http://sharedpurpose.net/cpvote/index.cfm


For me, all of this is about "the power of community".

Clarifying this vision, and simplifying it, seems essential.

Any of these topics -- "spirituality" or "politics" -- or the tangled relationship between them -- can and does immediately become confusing and controversial.

But we are pulling these things together, across the entire spectrum of the meaning of community -- from the global scale implicit in our "Network of Circles" project, to the intimately local and "dining-room table" approach of http://neighborhoodcommunities.net

We are gathering up everything known on the intervening bridge-work technologies at http://collaborativealliance.us

And we are building core political integration for the entire process through our emerging concepts on SharedPurpose.Net

Spirituality meets Politics to integrate and heal Community-- it's a long-time dream -- something made powerful and significant in the 20th century by Mahatma Gandhi -- and described so well in the book Spiritual Politics by members of this network Corinne and Gordon Davidson.  What is emerging now is "shift integration" -- it's the clear simple connection across levels -- from "profoundly right-brain and intuitive and abstract" to "the immediately empirical and local, where the rubber meets the road".

This is a very powerful integration. It's amazing.  It "transcends and includes" just about everything....

The Dalai Lama is famously quoted as having stated in Vancouver last year that "the world will be saved by western women".  I tend to resonate with that vision, supposing that the way this can happen is that western women will be able to organize an amazingly synchronous "network of circles" process, that breathes the universal fire of Oneness and innocence and beauty into the public dialogue and collective process of deliberation that we call "democratic self-governance".  I expect we will continue to unfold this central vision at all levels of community organization, bringing this core power directly into civic space at the local ("all politics is local") level.

We are continuing to pull these things together.  The energy is very encouraging.  Thanks to each of you for the profound and important contributions you are making to this process.

- Bruce



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