Origins of Local Groups

The text description below I pulled from correspondence sent to potential meeting host organizations.  It more complexly explains the origins of the idea and the meeting framework I’m working to develop.   I’m sharing this here to provide greater context for those interested in learning more.

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This idea has emerged over the last couple years and I’m calling it CPR rEvolution.  CPR stands for Creating Positive Ripples.  rEvolution I chose because if we ever want to usher in a positive revolution of change, we each must to commit to and embrace our personal or individual evolution. Most days the vision is bigger than words and the communication skills I currently possess.  It often feels as though every attempt I put out there to talk about it on my website or another venue is like throwing this rope over the top of this massive balloon. All in hopes of a point I’ll have enough ropes in all the right angles to finally have a more tangible hold on it for people to see and understand it.

In all honesty, it’s a simple idea. However, through personal life experiences I’ve had, I know the potential of this could be profound.

My journey to the idea of these groups first started with the simple idea that every thought, action and word we engage in, put a ripple into the world. Through the stream of consciousness I’ve had the last couple years about this idea, I began to understand better some of the infinite and complex challenges people face at times doing the smallest of “right” things in the moments most needed.  So many factors whether it be fear, anger, insecurity, anxiety or just not knowing how, can impact the process negatively.  I began to realize how hard that is to do alone, especially if one has no baseline for comparison or mentored to live in the world this way.  It led me to the question and my life’s work going forward; what if we could co-create a support network of people seeking to raise each other up?

In my previous role as an Executive Director of a non-profit, it was an incredible opportunity to work with people from every corner of the community.  Daily I got to see and engage with people as they sought to be the best versions of themselves.  Whether that be a community member, a client, a volunteer or a donor seeking to make a tangible difference.  I consistently met folks from different communities, passionate about different issues, but all working hard to create change in an incredibly unique way, their words and actions demonstrated a commitment to engaging from a framework of love and compassion. 

I began to wonder to myself, what might their life experience be like if each of those people had space, a sacred space that spans all lines of identity, to seek support or community with similarly committed people?  What ripples might begin if these amazing people had a sense of safety and freedom to be vulnerable, share and be heard, have a space to practice listening to hear and understand, and not to respond?  How might this kind of space help in with the individual’s self-care, personal development, healing or just boosting the baseline for their energy reserves for the positive ripples they seek to put into the world?  Not to mention strengthening the muscles of compassion, empathy, understanding, respect and hopefully, love to carry into the world. What kinds of trust and bridge building might be possible if this space existed and how would each town or city as a whole benefit from those ripples?   Ultimately, I wanted to create a way to find support and strength in one another. 

 I began trying to find words for talking about this in November 2016 a week after the election.  I was exacerbated and frustrated, still searching for ways to talk about this idea without minimizing it’s potential.  I quickly learned more about public discourse and the myriad of breakdowns we regularly deal with when it comes to basic communication.  Quickly the idea I was sharing began to take on a life of its own and go in a direction that was not positive.  In part, it was an idea I was still trying to understand, so I took time to step back and regroup to find a better energetic baseline. I realized I had to set a high bar for energetic expectations of the group and individual participation.  And in turn, start a new series of deep personal healing to further seek to walk this vision with integrity. Taking the lead from our non-violence thought leaders of past and present, I’ve worked to begin seeking language and energy that would resonate with their teachings and life paths.  A path framed from love seems the only path to a comprehensive, deeply sought after, fundamental change in the issues, problems and injustices created and perpetuated for millennia. 

It isn't until we do the work to strengthen those internal “muscles” that hold compassion, empathy, understanding, respect or love will we find our way to collectively investing in seeking solutions to eliminate the problems and injustices we’ve created and perpetuated. It became the only path that felt right, to raise the conversation above politics, religion, identity, etc. and set a clear understanding of a baseline we all commit to value when gathered together.

I’m embracing a framework to introduce physical meeting spaces focused on creating short windows of unconditional love.  I’m pivoting off a very specific experience I had with a meditation group that existed in the 1990’s in Salt Lake City. Each week they met to meditate and engage in incredibly organic, self-reflexive and regularly vulnerable conversations.  I made a video trying to explain the energy of the group I’m trying to create and few life experiences that lead to this idea for the group. I hoped it would also help explain the energy I’m seeking to foster a bit better.   You can find the Youtube video on my website page describing the local communities here:  https://www.cprrevolution.org/creating-local-community/  I know is this has the potential to positively impact and create long-term ripples both for individuals and our collective community.

I’d like to provide more context as to the meeting structure and the nature of the partnership I’m seeking with host organizations. However, before I go any further please forgive me if any of this or what you find on my website feels culturally like an overshare.  I have embraced an ongoing commitment to expressing own my vulnerability, both interpersonally and publicly, in a desire to nurture conditions for others to feel safe to share their vulnerability. It is with that energy, I share the following. 

My idea at the most basic level is to build a weekly 2-hour meeting to welcome individuals who desire to co-create this space and energy.  I’m working to start a couple of meetings I will personally facilitate across San Diego County.  My ultimate desire and dream is to create a network of support for individuals who would like to create these in their neighborhoods, towns, or cities.  These groups started as an idea for friends in a small town, but I know once people have a more tangible understanding of what this experience can look like, this can be adopted on a much wider scale.

To start, I’m using the model of the original meditation group.  I am not sure why they started with this model, but I’ll try to explain why I’m choosing to keep it.  I began testing the idea last February or March when I started a CPR rEvolution group in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  I learned a lot from it that informs the perspective below. 

Meeting Framework:

20 Minute Meditation – This was a self-guided meditation, a moment of internal silence or prayer.  I want to keep the language open to welcome all, regardless of relationship to a faith tradition or nuanced orientation to spirituality.  The original meditation group had music playing in the background that I think helped those of us who were new to meditating for the first time.  I’ve realized how critical the element of meditation is to get people out of their heads and into their heart-spaces; so they can be less guarded and more present in the conversation.  I learned what happens when you welcome in people who are late or are not interested in sitting quietly or meditating.  It served as a serious disrespect to the group and completely changed the tone of the meeting, also leading to an imbalance of vulnerability among participants. 

The last 1h & 30-40m Organic Conversation – The original meditation circle used a version of “wisdom” cards as a way to get incredible organic conversations going.  It was people reflecting on their limitations, their growth, their failures and successes as they each sought the next step on their paths.  It was a vulnerability not naturally occurring in any version of real life I have/was experiencing.  Ultimately, it’s ripples in my perceptions and understanding of the world were profound. 

 It's my desire to partner with organizations who resonate with this idea and already embody this ethos.  As I move forward with this, I’m using the partnerships relationship to help develop a template to help others build these groups from scratch without having had previous organizing experience.  Due to that, I’m interested in setting a high bar and standard to maintain best the energy and integrity of the idea, the group itself and any partnerships with host organizations providing meeting space.  I want to not only provide facilitators a framework for creating a respectful relationship with the organization they reach out to, but more importantly to create a mutually supportive reciprocal flow between the CPR group and partner organization.  

 Although we do not want to create a financial barrier for anyone who wants to join a meeting, we will build an attitude of gratitude within each group.  At every meeting, each CPR rEvolution group will set up a “gratitude box” and ask participants who can contribute a few dollars or what they feel called to contribute as a demonstration of their gratitude for both our group and the space willing to host us.  100% of the meeting donations will go directly to the host organization.  It is my hope over time that each group would create a weekly funding stream that could become a solid contributor to the host organizations sustainability.   

I’m uncertain if this sounds like it might be something that resonates with you and your organization.  It is understandable if you need to vet me or this idea further.  I’m willing to meet with you at your convenience to answer any questions you might have, explain the idea more complexly or just fill in gaps where needed.

If this does resonate with you, it’s important to me that you feel there is a positive balance in investment from the beginning.  I know I’m asking your organization to invest in this idea by providing free access to your space as a host.  It may take a few weeks to get the word out and get this off the ground and build a solid donation level.  If it would help, I’d love to offset this disparity by personally volunteering with your organization for a few weeks until we reach a sustainable level.  I also know new volunteers require time and training, so if that’s an issue, I’m happy to tackle projects that serve the organization but don’t require training, such as cleaning, organizing or even a to-do list of admin or operational needs.  I’m confident I have a solid set of skills designed for service that could be useful. 

 If this isn’t a good fit for your organization, but you can recommend other organizations who might connect with this, I would appreciate your perspective.  I'll provide a few links below to my website for you to investigate me further if you are inclined to dive deeper.  My apologies for the length of this email.  I recognize how valuable your time and attention are and appreciate that investment in learning more about this idea. 

Website Home:  

www.CPRrEvolution.com

Local Community (This whole section is a work in progress):  

https://www.cprrevolution.org/creating-local-community/

Jackson's Corner, This is my personal space on the website.  I'm developing it so people can get a clear sense as to who I am and working to be in the world.  This is also where I’m hoping to explore harder topics and ideas.

Here you'll find three sections, 

Meet the Founder

https://www.cprrevolution.org/meet-the-founder/

Mission Vision and Personal Values for Being Human 

https://www.cprrevolution.org/mission-vision-and-personal-values-for-being-human/

…and lastly my "blog" Reflections from the Path.  Here I’ve placed the different videos and blog post I’ve created over the last 15 months as I worked to find language for this evolving idea. Scrolling down allows you to see that history going back all the way to the first video from November 2016.  I also wanted to remain honest or transparent about the thought and personal growth evolution that has happened along the way.  This blog will serve as a holding area for that history and evolution.

 https://www.cprrevolution.org/reflections-from-the-path/