Magic In The Community & Stone Soup

Yesterday I met for the first time with a core team beginning to plan a three day gathering in September 2017. There were seven of us. We have plenty of time to plan the actual gathering — the times, the teachings, the methods used, etc. — that was not the focus for yesterday. What I liked in yesterday’s meeting is that we began to say hello to each other in this context. Lead by a friend, the committee chair, it was well-hosted with a simple starting question — What is it that excites you about being part of this team?

I find that a team gets formed when we start sharing desires. There is the making a list of who will be involved part and some key roles. That’s good and needed. But it really gets juicy when we give ourselves permission to wander a bit together about what is going on, what is exciting, what is challenging, and get a glimpse of connection between what individual people care about and how that relates to what we can do collectively (at this meeting there will be 150 or so participating). Each person spoke a bit about excitement. One person spoke about enjoying the 2016 gathering so much and wanting to know what was the “special sauce.” His intuition told him it was about people in deliberate forms of turning to one another.

I have found this insight about community to be true, with of course a bit of nuancing that is about turning to one another in stories, and questions, and sadnesses, and play. The community itself, in the act of getting curious together, is the special sauce.

Another friend and colleague traveling in Mumbai recently sent me an invitation to a community gathering there, along with this version of Stone Soup.

Stone Soup: A popular folktale tells of a visitor to a village who notices that the villagers seldom do anything together. On his travels he has picked up an unusual looking small pebble. He points to this “magic”stone and invites everyone to share in a magical meal prepared with the power of this stone: “stonesoup“’. But, each one would need to bring something to add to the soup. So all the villagers arrive with carrots, tomatoes, beans and so forth, and soon there is a delicious soup which they all enjoy together. They are delighted at coming back together and sharing and realize the magic of community is not in the stone.
The special sauce is the community. The magic is the community. Animating and grounding each other. And this is true at the core team level, just starting a journey together. And for the imagining of 150 people together when the time comes.