A group of people with values and ideals find that they talk a lot, but can't seem to get past talk into action. "Why do we always talk?", they ask. "How can we get into action?"
Shift the social context from people just talking, to people talking around an activity.
- Cementing action/activity as the social context.
- Making a space where action comes from within -- from the creativity within the people.
- To have something interesting at the end of the exchange.
- To learn.
- To do all of this socially, with other people.
- Start with an open forum, an open invitation to action.
- This way, activities aren't coming from "the great leader." Nobody wants to feel like they're doing something because they're being told to do it. But they also need help in getting their wishes outside of themselves. Hence, an invitation.
- It really really helps to have materials on hand, all kinds of different materials that people might be called to, to get active.
Crayons, paints, paper, board, saw, hammer, whatever.
That way, there's no, "But we'd have to get..." You want to close as many gaps before action as possible.
Bucketworks has taken this to extreme levels, with great results.
- It really really helps if someone in the audience demonstrates volunteering. I'm not going to say one should plant people, but I will suggest that it might help..! Once someone starts moving, other people feel much more comfortable about joining in. Others will feel more inspired to put forth a project, seeing that the process works.
- Art projects are doubly great because it is something that people can both express, and inquire into themselves in, and also that people can share the sense of the group itself as well. (There is something further here that I do not understand yet, but am inquiring into. --Lion) Also, it's easy to talk around. (It's not like you're writing a computer program, or crafting an essay, which is hard to talk around.) And then it's photogenic, so people can take pictures of it, and put it on the webpage, or in the email, or whatever, which then attracts people more.
- Another great thing about activities, is that people don't feel like they have to know the other people in order to participate. The moment you get an activity that lots of people can do at once, and that spans a stretch of time, you can publish about the activity, and people can feel like its something that they can do, without already knowing the others, and understanding the tangible thing that would come out of it.
- Bucketworks -- Indeed, it's at Bucketworks where James Carleson explained this to me.
- Damanhur -- I visited Damanhur with the explicit #1 question in my mind being, "How do you get into action?" While the main answer I received was much more profound than this technique (having to do with much more fundamental questions about life,) I did recognize this technique in application, after James Carleson explained the method to me. For the Damanhurians, there is a very strong ethic of "ideas need to be applied in reality," of "things must come to form." It is not sufficient to merely wish or say, "Wouldn't it be great if." Spirituality must meet the real world, otherwise it is stillborn.
First exercises in their path involve selecting art materials that you feel called to, and representing yourself, your dreams, your ideals, who you are or who you would like to be, in material, manifest form. I was surprised when, half a year later, James Carleson explained exactly the same exercises to me, in use at Bucketworks, completely unaware of Damanhurian application.