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Six Conversations: April-May 2022

Updated: May 4, 2022

"Bring forth a future distinct from the past"

Key links for participants:

  • Register. This is requested of all participants. It is also the way to to receive calendar invites, add yourself to the map, and receive the link to add harvest items from your conversations

  • Zoom info for all open calls (see schedule below--please come on time)

  • View the social system map to see participants, cohorts, and the conversation harvest, as well as connections among these elements. Watch this video for information about adding connection data to the map. If you are contributing to the map, you can retrieve your mapping link here.

  • View info about specific cohorts (more coming soon!). General info is in the post below.

The Invitation

You are invited to gather with friends and strangers who wish to co-create "cultures of restoration" to replace patterns of retribution, patriarchy, colonialism, and imperialism. We are using a series of six powerful conversations designed to do just that, offered as one of the engagement streams during the current edition of the Now What?! global gathering. This method was developed by Peter Block and is described in his book Community: The Structure of Belonging. For more about the approach, watch the video below. You can also check out these four videos by Block and this summary of his book.

A single conversation takes an hour, and you can join as many conversations as you like. Sessions are scheduled three times each week from April 27-May 26, at times designed to accommodate people around the globe. There are also ways to self-facilitate small groups you organize at any time (and in any language) that you wish. The conversations are designed to bring you into an authentic place from which to strengthen your connections with one another around what matters to you most. Consider using this engagement opportunity as a special context in which to gather with friends, and also as a way to weaving with people who do not yet know one another.

You can join as an individual, or as part of a cohort that engages in the conversations together. See the bottom of this post for more about joining or forming a cohort.

Register here

Here's a short video from the hosting team about some of the possibilities that are inspiring them to offer this engagement stream:

Open Call Schedule from April 26 - May 26

Three one-hour sessions will be offered by the hosting team during each of the five weeks of Now What?! Each week will focus on a different conversation. Here is the schedule:

  • Wednesdays at 16:00 UTC

  • Thursdays at 08:00 UTC

  • Thursdays at 22:00 UTC

Scroll through the Now What?! calendar to find your local times and to RSVP for sessions. You can also search on the word "six" in the calendar to pull up the full session list.

See below for more options for participating in addition to these scheduled sessions.

The Possibility

What if "the shift" towards a culture of restoration is already well underway? What if the most powerful aspects of this transformation remain unnoticed because of the highly diverse, distributed, and nascent forms in which they are manifesting? What if this shift is also happening within the hearts and minds of a billion or more people (as this inspiring video suggests), creating fertile soil in which new possibilities can take root? And what if the best (and perhaps the only) way to engage in this transformational "system of influence" is through community, because the reweaving of authentic, personal relationships is at its heart? If this is true, then these Six Conversations might be an especially potent form of connecting at this moment in time.

This gathering offers a pathway into deepened relationships across the personal, local, and global scales, unlocking the potential for gifts to flow in abundance towards the transformational work we each care about the most. As Block puts it in Community:

The communal possibility is that space or porous container where a collective exists for the realization of all the possibilities of its members. This is the real meaning of a restorative community. It is that place where all possibilities can come alive, and they come alive at the moment they are announced.

At the very least, we promise that engaging in one or more of these conversations will strengthen your relationships with people you know and spark meaningful connections with people you meet for the first time. If you complete all Six Conversations as an individual, you will connect with core elements of transformation in a way that will work on you over time and enhance your ability to support the groups you are a part of. If a cohort complete all six conversations, the group will experience "a culture of restoration" that will resource its capacity for bringing forth new work in the world.

Many Ways to Participate

The hosting team -- Ben Roberts, Dita Vizoso, Jyo Maan, Rama Naidu, and Tina Michel -- are extending multiple invitations to both individuals and groups:

  • Hosted sessions -- starting April 27 join one or more sessions facilitated by the host team -- see the schedule above

  • Self-organized groups -- use the VoiceVoice platform to self-facilitate live virtual sessions for small or large groups that you organize (details coming soon!)

  • "Zoomless" conversations -- combine solo reflections (ideally while walking in nature) with text-based sharing in a small group using the Sutra platform (details coming soon!)

  • A map of the whole -- Contribute to a "social system map" that supports harvesting and ongoing connection across all the various groups, sessions, and conversation venues

  • Open Space for new invitations -- build on what has taken place during Now What?! by engaging in a new round of invitation conversations emerging from our time together. Provisionally scheduled for June 8 at 14:00 UTC (details coming soon!).

There is also a special invitation for people or teams to gather cohorts that will engage in the conversations together. More on this below.

The Requests

In this methodology, an invitation always includes a "hurdle." Something is asked of you if you choose to say "yes." It also needs to be fine for you to say "no," and we avoid any effort to persuade or pressure anyone to join. We want to gather with people who are committed enough to the possibility that connects us that they are willing to extend themselves in some way in order to be there. For these sessions, we have four requests of those who wish to participate:

  1. Register here

  2. Accept that things may be messy! We are prototyping a number of elements that make this gathering a rather complex affair. These include the invitation to engage as part of a cohort, inviting cohort members to choose whether to be in breakouts with their fellows or in mixed groups, the use of platforms like VoiceVoice and Sutra, the social system map, and the addition of an Open Space for new invitations. It will be messy at times. You may get confused or overwhelmed. We ask you to accept this as part of the experiment, ask for support when you need it, and take what works for you while leaving the rest.

  3. Make this an "advice free zone." This is one of the principles of the Six Conversations process. It means that, when it comes to personal and group challenges that don't have an obvious right answer (e.g. directions to the nearest grocery store), we refrain from asking for or offering help. We don't tell others what we did in a circumstance similar to theirs or ask "have you tried X?" Instead, we listen and we get curious. We ask truly open questions such as "tell me more," or "why is that important to you?" For more on the theory behind this request, see this excerpt from Block's Community.

  4. Come on time to the calls we host. Because of the intimate nature of the space we are holding, these calls will be closed to anyone who comes after the first set of breakouts has begun.

Invitation to Join and/or Form Cohorts

Here's a short video about joining an existing cohort:

What is inspiring this cohort invitation

More and more networks are emerging in service to various dimensions of "the art of being fully human in a time of crisis." As these networks mature, each one develops its own flavor and focus. The next step is for them to learn how to interact with one another as part of a larger ecosystem--a "movement of movements" rooted in community, place, and Nature, in service to healing, regeneration, justice, peace, thriving, and resilience.

Often, our sense of urgency leads us to seek multi-group collaboration on big projects, driven by the desire for speed and scale. An ecosystemic approach, on the other hand, seeks to develop a myriad of complex relationships of mutuality, with each species finding ways to be of service to others, co-creating a nourishing a supportive whole.

We are offering this Six Conversations engagement as a way to model an ecosystemic approach. We wish to be of service to some of the many initiatives we feel aligned with, supporting them in growing the capacity for authentic community at their cores and "inoculating" them with a "culture of restoration." As more and more groups learn to operate in this way, each offering their own unique gifts, the coherence of the movement-of-movements will grow organically. Working in this way, without having prioritized speed or scale, we may suddenly find that we are far more powerful collectively than we imagined.

Invitation to Form a Cohort

If you are part of a network (or network-like organization), or simply wish to gather a group around a shared sense of possibility, we invite you to form a cohort for the Six Conversations. These groups can be as small as three people or as many as a hundred. The commitment you ask of your participants can be modest or bold.

For a cohort to join us, we ask that someone take on the role of "lead convener," ensuring that the you gather your group by having some form of the Invitation conversation that is the first of the Six in this model. The lead also commits to registering the cohort and to keeping its profile on the social system map up to date.

Register your cohort here. For more about this possibility, watch the video below or email Ben Roberts to request an invitation conversation with a member of the hosting team.

Register as a cohort convener (or individual) here

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