Putting In Claritas Principles in Practice

Putting In Claritas Principles in Practice

by Anne Stadler.

Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing…there’s a field.  I’ll meet you there.

 – Rumi

During the month of November, 2012, two circles gathered to co-create a deep well of thriving for evolving the whole of the Salish Sea basin. Two of us who co-facilitated are InClaritas members: Rhea Miller, and Anne Stadler.

Geography and background:

The Salish Sea basin includes the mainland and beaches of the western slope of the Cascade mountains, from Olympia to north of Vancouver BC, Canada; the Eastern slope of the Olympic peninsula; plus many U.S and Canadian islands; and the rivers, watersheds, and salt waters of Puget Sound.

In this ecosystem, some of us humans have a network of thriving community initiatives: www.Thrivingcommunities.org. The initiatives are very local, and entrepreneurial.

Our collective intention: supporting thriving communities, is housed in a networked ecosystem of organizations:  the Whidbey Institute, New Stories, The Compassionate Action Network, the Happiness Initiative, and local groups from all over the area. This year, 2012, has been our birthing year.

Our facilitation:

Rhea Miller and Anne Stadler co-facilitated the circles, using the methodology and principles of InClaritas. The facilitation team also included our Hosts, Gretchen Krampf, in whose home/retreat center, Heartwood, we assembled; and Jerry Millhon, director of the Whidbey Institute, the location of our other circle, and one of the prime movers of the Thriving Communities network.  Our time together began on Friday night at dinner and ended Sunday just before lunch.

In each case, we had a fairly diverse circle: drawn from the islands and mainland cities of the basin. One circle was all women.  The other was men and women. All of us are active in one or more ways in the thriving communities network. We agreed to share food costs, and help with set up and housekeeping when appropriate.

We found that three roles: Host, Spiritual taproot, and practical Work focaliser, helped the circles dive deeply into the well of sourcing whatever was needed to bring life and practical value to our work.

We encouraged people to take responsibility for what has heart and meaning. Our co-creative facilitation opened space for the gift exchange that wanted to come into practical form: from inner space, collective space, planetary and cosmic space. We welcomed whatever emerged via the patterns of self-organizing used in InClaritas gatherings. Tools and encouragement invited everyone to use all intelligences: visual, kinesthetic, auditory, sound, to express ourselves and embody our individual and collective presence.


Friday night we opened the circle with the Host welcoming the group and providing logistical information; sharing a meal; a meditation; each person introducing our selves by sharing a gift, and some songs and music.

On Saturday I invited three people (arranged in advance) to each present a case, encouraging the group to notice the layers of their own responses as they arose:  “We’ll hear the stories of practical initiatives that are carried out in consensus reality.  Each of them has resonance at other levels of our awareness: transpersonal, transformational, transmutational.  Please notice the stories arising in you as you listen to the presentation.”  The cases addressed: Why is this work happening? What is happening? What does it mean to you? What is needed now to help it thrive?

After each case, the circle offered our reflections and stories in dialogic fashion (as in a Quaker meeting); no discussion, simply offerings arising from silence. The presenter listened and took in what was being offered.

After lunch on Saturday, we self-organized to meet in smaller groups with each presenter, choosing according to what had heart and meaning for each of us.

Then we came back together in a whole circle to hear the presenters’ reflections and offer our own.  In each case, people reported beautiful depth of learning, conversation, opening to what the work needs.  A body/heart/mind sacred circle was alive.  Rumi’s field, “Out…beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing” was present and palpable.

Saturday evening was again an occasion to gather around a delicious meal, some songs, conversation and hilarity.

To conclude on Sunday, we meditated; reflected on what had emerged overnight; then invited everyone to draw a picture answering two questions: What does “the work” need to thrive?  What do you need?  We choose a partner to talk with for about a half hour, then took about 20 minutes to draw our pictures.  Then each of us presented our answers to the questions.

In the aftermath, our email lists buzzed with thanks, ideas, and offerings.  After about a week that conversation died down.  But the undercurrents are very alive and active.  They show up from time to time in postings on the Thriving Communities Facebook group. Some of them are appended at the end of this reflection, with pictures.

I believe I speak for all who facilitated: our co-facilitation was “easy”, joyful, and very productive.  We experienced delight, intellectual stimulation and personal renewal—as did everyone else, according to their own telling. And our work was dramatically opened up–in specific ways as well as attracting new support, connections and synchronicities.


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