* What does it take to create sustainable movements for lasting social change?
* How can we engage with practices of liberation that enable us to cultivate wisdom, build authentic relationships, and be successful in our work?
* How do we speak, act, and live across spiritual lines of difference, while also claiming the particularities of our experiences?
the irreplaceable value of training
We believe social change work can greatly increase in capacity and effectiveness by integrating spiritual and transformational practice into organizational culture and movement-building work – transforming everything from how programs are designed and delivered to how coalitions are built. Using over 20 years of experience, our training helps practitioners work with groups for maximum engagement and productivity. Participants explore how think about goals and design, create a strong container, use transformational practice, and sharpen facilitation skills. We look at challenges that arise in groups, using various reflective and interactive tools, reading groups through a variety of lenses and fine-tuning yourself as an instrument.
specific trainings include:
deeper practices of transformative social change
This “training of trainers” is designed for individuals who already have a spiritual path, good facilitation skills, and a social justice framework. It provides participants with a new set of skills, access to particular tools, practice time, confidence, and support to implement. It is a highly experiential format that capitalizes on the value of real life and real time. Specific elements of the curriculum include:
- Creating container for self-inquiry and work with limiting beliefs
- Facilitating transformational practice through head, body, heart, breath and ritual
- Embodying sustainability, strength and curiosity
- Facilitating with compassion and rigor across significant lines of difference
- Designing for impact
- Building wisdom of groups – their entry points, teachable moments, and conflicts
- Understanding the nature of change
- Identifying and working with realities of power and oppression
The next Deeper Practices training will be December 8-11, 2011. Please check our events calendar for registration information.
trainings for specific constituencies
We are also beginning to offer trainings tailored for specific constituencies doing movement-building work. The first of these will take place in November 2011 with a training specifically for food justice activists and organizers in the Piedmont.
As time permits and when we feel we can be of use, stone circles offers tailored assistance to social change organizations. After initial dialogue and assessment, we can provide help in uncovering blocks to success in areas such as managing change, communication, leadership and resource development.
Transformational experiences create revelations of mind, body, and spirit that allow people to break patterns of suffering and dissatisfaction. Together, groups create the conditions that allow for new wisdom, new solutions, and new strategies. Powerful group experiences move us beyond intention to the realm of action. They engage the life force and liberate us from old, limiting beliefs. These revelations are integrated into daily life in ways that are sustainable, slight, or insignificant.
Sometimes experiences are not powerful or timely enough to create significant change. In the case of insignificant integration, another experience is required. It may be that the level of initial frustration was not high enough to warrant acceptance of the revelation. Intermittent or slight change is probably the most common result of transformational experiences. More is required to nurture budding changes, such as ongoing reminders, support from peers and mentors, and continued experience. Finally, sustainable change is both immediate and long-lasting. It leads to a change of environment and the implementation of new habits.
Our training is aimed at helping people develop the following capacities:
presence: Understand both the energetic and intellectual dimensions of a group field, and how to hold and transform it. Recognize that this entails deep listening, moving from a place of faith and understanding the role of spirit time. Strive for a balance between product and process.
honoring difference: Orientation, capacity and skill set to work across multiple lines of difference. Commitment to consciousness and an ongoing depth of analysis around appropriation, oppression, and cultural discourse. Sharing and integrating different practices and traditions with integrity, awareness and clear protocol when necessary.
spiritual maturity: Have a clear articulation of our own values and beliefs and commit to a depth of practice, learning on our spiritual path, and strengthening our own emotional container. Mastery in our own tradition accelerates learning and enhances our ability to experience the gifts of other traditions.
leadership: Willingness to model competency and strength for others; we can hold onto a seat of authority when appropriate. Build from and with a positive base and hold a vision of transformation for both individuals and collectives.
comfort with discomfort: Embrace conflict as a powerful tool for learning and growth. Capacity to manage complexity, hold paradox and maneuver through tension and fear. Times of challenge and struggle are an opportunity to go deeper.
ongoing development: Strive to stay aware of the projection that comes along with being a space-holder, leader, or facilitator. Value the spiritual friends, or peers, in our lives that hold us accountable. Learn what kind of training and skills are required for this work.
communication: Honor the power of sharing, receiving and crafting stories as a means to strengthen spirit and social justice. The more specific the frame, the more narrow the audience and the deeper they can go. Conversely, a big tent approach welcomes a broader group and may not dig as deeply. Similarly, language can be too neutral (open to broad interpretation and not so useful) or too specific (potentially too alienating).