Reverb10 Day 07
Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010?
What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
For four years, now, I’ve taught a course at Stanford Continuing Studies on Creativity and Leadership. I teach the Creativity part, and my colleague teaches the Leadership portion. The two topics intertwine throughout the ten weeks.
The course is based on a course from Stanford Business School called Creativity in Business. It’s highly experiential, as a course in creativity needs to be. Creativity can’t be taught. Yet, it can be facilitated. Exercises, guided visualizations, and great theory all combine to open students to their deepest creative resource within. This course helps guide students to begin to trust their creativity.
Community of Students
What really deepens this trust, though, is the community that’s created over the ten weeks. It’s created because students are willing to share about themselves, about their experiences with the material, and about how they are changing as the course progresses.
Each week we do experiential exercises. After the exercises, the students share with each other, and then share with the entire class. Not everyone is comfortable sharing, but many are, and the class is richer for it.
In addition, each week the students have a ‘live-with’, which is a practice for the week that helps them bring the course to their daily lives, both personal and professional. The ‘live-withs’ are ways to be in the world. For an example, the first week the live-with is “Have No Expectations.” They spend the week living the practice, then come back to class and share their experiences.
Last night, the ninth class out of ten, we covered the topic of Prosperity and Self-Worth. In our class, we see Self as Essence, as the source of one’s creativity. This Self is perfectly ordinary, not special at all. We each have a unique essence that is ordinary, and at the same time, totally extraordinary.
In this particular class, we do an exercise that allows each student to really be seen, seen for who they are rather than the person they think others want to see. You know what I mean there, right? That person you pretend to be, the one that you think others want to see.
An important part of this exercise is to see others with your heart, rather than simply with your eyes or your mind. Seeing with the heart awakens compassion and soul.
Last night, as this exercise was taking place, I could feel the energy in the room grow more vibrant, more alive. As each person was being heard and seen, their own unique qualities were being reflected back to them, and their inner light began to radiate out. It was very palpable and completely amazing to behold.
The students left happy and joyful. Some even sat around talking to each other for quite a while, even after my colleague and I left the room.
We need to connect.
This is what community does. True community, where each person is seen through the heart of the other, allows for connection, for remembering Self. Community creates a place where fragmentation can heal, both collectively and individually.
We are meant to be in community, to be in relationship. We need community to know ourselves, by way of the reflection through another who is open, attuned and present to us.
We need to be connected. Our souls wither when we’re not.
As humans, we suffer from the illusion that we are separate beings. Living in a culture where we’ve been taught to do it on our own, to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, to ‘man-up’, we’ve suffered greatly. We’re vulnerable in life. We’re vulnerable in our human state. We need each other. And, we women truly need each other right now to re-discover our true nature and the gifts we’re here to give.
In 2011, I long to create a community of women to teach this same curriculum to. I envision combining the creativity work with discovering the wisdom of the body. It will be a community of women gathered together to discover this true nature as souls in female bodies.