We know that at this point in time, the community is shapeshifting. We are seeing that HOW people connect has changed. We are witnessing WHY they connect has shifted. We also recognize that the amount of intention with which they connect has heightened. This is the by-product of limited time and resources, as we manage family life at home, change in the nature of our work perhaps, and many more aspects of life that have adjusted as per circumstances. This is also the by-product of a very clear pivot in our evolution as a humanity. And so, we took a leap, as we evolve with you. We created Rising Together, a virtual group where we started opening conversation about connection in community spaces. We speak about HOW it is that we are connecting as we do, and WHY we take the approach we find ourselves taking.
We challenged the notion of ‘authentic’ or ‘unconditional’ love, by offering members a space to be fully seen and heard. Quite bold for a ‘new’ community, wouldn’t you say? But this concept was not derived by a brief reflection in time. Rather, nearly 40 years of Ashley’s own life experiences that led her to leave her original ‘village’ – or the safety of her cultural and social context, in search of one that would embrace all parts of her. So she could learn to love those parts of herself that she had so strategically hidden away for most of her life. Believing that they were unwanted, or unwelcomed, by those who knew her.
Through honest and open conversations, supporting those that were ready began to share. Everything from past personal hardships to doubts to fears they have about their own children carrying the wounding of the lineage forward. What this taught us is that the world is very hungry to connect in rich, meaningful ways but simply does not have enough access to such spaces. Unless they are a part of very select groups, or perhaps have had the deep privilege of finding this early on for themselves.
You see, the first step of growth is gaining awareness of how we are actually living our lives. And without a community to reflect this back to you, and help you see where the blinders may be, it can be difficult to stay committed to the path of growth and possibility. Most often, we draw immediate conclusions about ourselves when in isolation – “No one else has experienced what I have.” “My situation is so much worse off than anyone else’s – no one understands me.” “I got myself into this so I have to get myself out, alone.”
What happens in such self isolation is we tend to go deeper into our own patterns, which are typically driven by the mind’s process. Wanting to keep us where we have always been, as it feels safe and familiar. Even if it’s in the pain. With recent news, we decided to jump. Yes, the leap was completely unplanned. The team came together with 12 hours notice and began creating what we felt was what humanity most needed in the moment – safe spaces to connect. Spaces where they would be seen, heard, held, loved and supported through whatever they were moving through.
Facilitators from around the world graciously agreed to donate their time and share their wisdom in what became a 2-week forum, with recorded conversations on emerging paradigm shifts, hands-on guidance through activities and processes for families, children, and adults alone, and a plethora of resources to support those in need. Yes, we committed to Rising Together during these times, despite not knowing where we were headed or how it would look – and this is exactly what we have witnessed. An opportunity for many facilitators to step out and be recognized in their gifts, while those ready to receive the support have come forward, to also rise, as leaders of their families, and communities.
We are honoured to be on this journey with you, where communities shine in their uniqueness. What we have humbly witnessed in our spaces is it is actually our differences are what that hold us together. Such differences are what creates enough resistance to propel us into questioning our ways, be inspired to take chances on ourselves and continue moving into growth. Reclaiming our humanness and being able to embrace all parts of ourselves – dark, light and everything in between – is a critical part of our model. Where no one is left out for where they may find themselves. Consider Ubuntu, where upon wrongdoing, the ‘wrongdoer’ is placed in the middle of the village circle and all that is good about them is spoken into them for days. So they can reconnect with their innate goodness.
That is what our commUNITY is about: remembrance of who we truly emerge, and it is from there that we rise together. Let’s trust the process and lean into the hearts that connect us all.
Join us, as we redefine commUNITY. For ourselves, and for those to come.