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Thank you for visiting SpiritsNextMove.net, a spot which has been the home of the Center for World Spirituality’s new blog for the past several months. As part of our organization’s web presence reorganization, we have moved the contents of this blog and will no longer be posting here.

You can find the new Spirit’s Next Move daily blog, better than ever, on the Center for World Spirituality’s main site at www.iEvolve.org. You can find new daily material on the left sidebar of the site. Thanks once again for sticking with us … we look forward to seeing you on the new site!

Notes from the Venwoude community days event (part 2)

Holland

By Chahat Corten

Hello friends,

First pardon my English. I will do my best to share with you what wonders happened here in the last two weeks at Venwoude, our world spirituality community and center in Holland.

The visioning process at Venwoude Integral Practice Community at first presented itself as an impossible and complex painful challenge, which we really did not think we could meet. This was a key moment in our community in which things might have begun to go down and the community would begin a slow downward process or maybe just maybe a miracle would happen. But no one knew how it would happen. It truly did not seem possible.

And it happened!!! Wow did it happen!!! These last two weeks have been an enormous succes! What Grace how all of our paths came together in this way. The miracle has many parts to it but at the center of it all it had a name: spiritual teacher and artist Marc Gafni.

To many of us it occurred that it had to be precisely Marc that wove the magic of these days. When Marc walked in it seemed that there was really no way out. The complexity of the personal issues, and financial issues and emotional structural issues just did not seem workable. We had worked with other people and tried ourselves to work this and it just seemed impossible to come to a major breakthrough. But we were sure ready for one.

What happened here with Marc in a period of two weeks is really difficult to describe but I think it is fair to say that he almost worked a miracle. His tools were a brilliant clear mind, what he called loving outrageously, deep skills at facilitation, beautiful dharma talks and many individual meetings and deep listening. All of that was woven together in a kind of magic weave that — truly and absolutely transformed the community at some very deep levels in these two weeks.

A structural breakthrough was set in a legal form: a board and wisdom council were created, working for a committed period of three years. And it is now clear in a way that was totally unclear two weeks ago that this will be able to sustain this community to be here another 25 years.

In the first night Marc had everyone state their intention and what special medicine had to be given to the process. Everybody’s intention and medicine was hung on the wall. And all gave their commitment in the first evening to holding this intention during the proces.

It seemed like a simple start, but many times my commitment, to submit and serve, to stay on track those days was of staggering importance. The amount of goodness in the room allowed for blunt criticism of all leaders, which is of course in the end is always quite relaxing :)

In day two Marc led a four hour process  in which the room would talk and he would listen to all the voices and then from the voices he would express a core value with each time woven perfectly all the voices in the room, each time he wove the voices into a core value and it happened almost twenty times the whole room would just sit back and say Wow!! Yes Yes Yes!! The Core values are formulated!

A miraculous process in depth and subtleties, like clear, clear, clear … in one extended morning session! This usually takes places weeks or days but it was like Marc has brought a clarity, light and transmission to the process that just opened everyone’s heart and mind.

A lot of old issues appeared, were touched and fell off the table, right in the heart to be held in the process, where each contribution appeared to be exactly the right one…..! There was a lot of grace available at the time.

And Marc in his obvious and clear mediating role between the worlds, picked up the expression of all necessary contributions, no matter how covert and we phrased it accurately and precisely in words that reflect the depth, the heart and the clarity that we looked for. So we formulated the most wondrous core values, both in English and in Dutch. Then the very next day — in a two hour process that Marc created we chose a board of directors who would be responsible to those core values.

So just to see the whole trajectory. Marc did two days of deep teaching with the whole community, then one day of individual meetings with communal leaders and then four hours of core values and then two hour of elections and it was done. There is a sense of deep breakthrough and elation in the community now. What is so amazing is that Marc did it in a way which increased the autonomy of the community. He poured deep love and light and wisdom into the community without in any way moving to take it over. If I never believed in second-tier consciousness I do now. Marc was deploying, as it seemed in a very relaxed way, a range of intelligences — from emotional intelligence to social intelligence, to dharma intelligence, to systems intelligence — all woven like an art form. I guess this is what people mean by second-tier. When you really see it in action it is quite amazing.

deep deep bow

Then we concluded last night with a festive and ecstatic evening with the wider community in wich the Wisdom Counsel was initiated and held by the whole community. From there the wisdom council invested the board members and they gave there commiment for three years.

Marc in his awesome dharma talk and story telling-mode invited us to create a community of ‘Messiahs’ or ‘9-cow-girls’. It was a beautiful talk on what it means to create an evolutionary WE space based on wisdom and outrageous loving. He talked about the Unique Self of the Venwoude community and how our work with sexuality gave us special gifts and special respsonsilbity and special ability and how this will probably become THE major and important technology in evolutionary WE-space development in the next age on this planet :)

An invitation to LOVE each other outrageously! There is magic, pure magic on the threshold of Venwoude’s 25th year of existence!

Thank you, thanks to our founder Ted Wilson, thanks to all patriarchs and matriarchs, thanks our world spirituality teacher in residence Marc Gafni, thank you all loving supporters, thanks all participants.

Thank you beloved friends,

Chahat

A Place where everybody knows your Original Face?

Starbucks Olive Way

By Joe Perez

There’s a recently redesigned and expanded Starbucks Coffee within walking distance from my home in Seattle. I used to go in there quite a bit, but gradually the place has become so busy and noisy that it’s impossible to find a good seat (sometimes it’s even been standing room only), so I’ve found alternatives.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say the Starbucks was ever a “home away from home,” but it was the spot where I first attended a Seattle Integral meet-up, and where I met many business clients for a while. Now I’ve come across an article in Forbes claiming that Starbucks may be making their coffee shops intentionally a bit uncomfortable so that they drive away people who linger too long in one spot and bump up the customer churn rate.

A Starbucks company spokesperson isn’t exactly denying the claim, so it looks like there’s some truth to it. And it ought not surprise anyone. Starbucks is a publicly held company with an obligation to increase profits. But what does it say about Starbucks customers — which is just about everyone in Seattle and hundreds of millions of people throughout the world — that it matters so much to us?

Alice Walton, writing in Forbes:

The new “let’s make it slightly uncomfortable” model has a larger effect on the psyches of the customers – those who come to work or to play – than we might think at first. This is because the coffee house plays the central role of “Third Place” in our lives – home being the first and work being the second – and Starbucks has always been vocal about its desire to be this third place for its customer. What’s interesting is that humans actually really need this place, and we’ve needed if for practically our whole existence, according to some.

About 20 years ago, Ray Oldenburg, PhD, who wrote a book called The Great Good Place, argued that there are a number of attributes that make a third place a third place: It has to be convenient, inviting, serve something, and have some good regulars (which, he says, is actually more important than having a good host). People have had third places throughout history, and they’ve ranged from taverns to coffee houses to barbershops. They’re definitely better than street corners. Third places are different from first or second ones because we go to them in our in-between time – their voluntariness is what makes them so special and unique.

For millions of people who are not regular church attendees, the coffeehouse is increasingly playing a social role similar to that which churches used to play. We go there to meet people who we know and like. We go there to read a book and listen to soft music. We go there to break bread and drink beverages that alter our state of consciousness. Nobody forces us to go, and we can walk out at any time.

With nearly 20,000 Starbucks locations throughout the world (according to Wikipedia), the coffee giant is not in danger of eclipsing organized religion anytime soon (comparing to about 271,000 physical Catholic churches alone). But I wager that in modern countries Starbucks is adding coffee shops much faster than the Roman Catholic Church is adding new churches, and the Roman Church has had a bit of a headstart.

The world is thirsty for spirituality, and for many of us our heart longs to have Third Places that transcend the boundaries of any one particular organized religion. Coffee shops are substituting for churches at a time when religions have floundered at articulating an earthy, embodied, Fullness-loving vision of spirituality that makes them better places to go to hang out.

It’s a pity that it takes the profit-driven behavior of companies like Starbucks — making seats more uncomfortable, pumping up the volume of the music so it becomes more difficult to study and hold a conversation — to remind us that a beverage retail store cannot truly substitute for a House of Worship. Is it too much to ask that one day we might all walk down the street to our favorite neighborhood spiritual center to hang out with friends and meet new people in love with Life and Love, a place where it is not only okay to Be Yourself, but an expectation and obligation?