So.. what is this “container” you speak of? …This is our way of talking about what it takes to hold a space well, in a way that fosters a dynamic connection between group members, feels safe to share more vulnerable aspects of ourselves, and supports us in finding room to be challenged to grow and see our own edges or shadow aspects. To do this, its necessary that we each feel deeply accepted. Of course, this often comes from a felt sense as trust is built, rather than anything that can be said or put into a formula. For now~~suffice to say, its very important to us to love each person exactly where they are in their own journey of personal unfoldment and anti-racism. We do not believe it is useful or effective for us to stand on any moral high-ground, exhibit white exceptionalism or a sense of superiority by engaging in “call out” culture. We will however, do our best to highlight and center what the impact on BIPOC may be, of all of our choices and behaviors. In order for us to move towards liberation for all people, we believe it is necessary to bring a love that is deeply accepting, compassionate — and transformative to our very way of being.
We do our best to foster and encourage this kind of fierce love as an embodied practice, and there are some basic structural pieces that ensure we serve the entire group field well in this way:
- We use a set of group agreements, and modify them with each new cohort, according to the needs and input of those present. One of these agreements is about confidentiality, to maximize our capacity for honesty, transparency and integrity.
- We spend time on culture building, deciding as a group how we want to “BE” together, and will to continue to examine the way behavioral and cultural norms of whiteness have been conditioned into us– as well as developing the antidotes.
- Extending validation, appreciation and celebration of small wins are a norm! This is not meant to be a way to give our ego’s a gold star, a cookie, or sense of inflation– but rather to shift the paradigm on some relational norms within white dominant culture, often severely lacking in emotional attunement and expressions of genuine care. Note: This doesn’t mean we are overly sappy, congratulating or commenting on every share.
- We use ritual to support each person (facilitators included!) in dropping in with presence, deep attention, connection to our bodies and to our clarity of intent. The forms of ritual that we do are relatively basic, but usually involve pausing to breathe in our own time, checking in about how we are doing, doing brief guided meditations or visualizations, and bringing something that is meaningful to us or grounds us, as we create a virtual collective altar or center.