Laddership Retreat: Building Local Spaces
Posted by Bela Shah on Jun 22, 2012
A couple of questions sprang up in response:
- How can we bring the love of service into our local, physical environment
- How can we support people who we have never met, but have been inspired by our online content and want to start chapters in their own communities?
Yuka created a diagram as the questions arose:
Here’s what we heart-stormed...
When you bring ServiceSpace into your local community, what challenges crop up?
Anchors Move: Yoo-mi reflected that one key issue is not having enough anchors to sustain a chapter, especially when core anchors move away.
Differing Values: How do you keep clarity and alignment of values when you bring new people together who have never experienced ServiceSpace? Many of us who have and are currently trying to bring this space into a local community are met with the challenge of keeping the space pure in its values and intentions. But how do we do that when we ourselves are still learning and growing along the path?
RSVP Template for Local Events: We already have a template for members to create an RSVP invitation form for local events. We can also think about adding a link that will invite members to join Wednesdays in Santa Clara via Skype or live stream. By having an opportunity to experience a Wednesday online, members might feel a stronger connection to the ServiceSpace community and have a deeper understanding of its values.
Volunteer Map: Similar to these maps of smiles cards around the world, George suggested that perhaps we could create a mapping tool for those of us looking to connect with other ServiceSpace members near us.
Principles of Laddership
With no agenda, no 5-year plan or visions of the future, we all agreed that creating these spaces is ultimately about manifesting ServiceSpace values, not projects.
What we do is not nearly as valuable as how we do it. So once we have clarity on the values behind our actions, the local service space can naturally emerge.
What are these values? Simply put, they are Love and Trust, the seeds for our inner transformation. Love and Trust are like two pillars of a service-oriented space, and these values seem to blossom naturally when we practice three Principles of Laddership.
Be Relationship and Process Oriented (Think Small):
Lahar reminded us of a recurring theme: first, build a relationship, and then create a project. We’re not about cloning and remember this helps us from getting caught up in the results. Rather, we exist to tap into core values of service and to support the emergence of these values in any form they may manifest, whether it’s Karma Kitchen, Wednesdays, a Lemonade Stand, or having lunch with the homeless.
Reflecting on her experiences at Seva Café India, she shared a story of how a space of trust and love naturally blossoms.
The Karma Kitchen team in Japan had several meetings and heart-storming sessions in order to give everyone space and time to discuss the core values and contribute their ideas for creating a sustainable gift economy space. When they decided to launch Karma Kitchen, it was very intentional and occurred only after everyone’s hearts were aligned. The collective contribution of creative ideas infused the Karma Kitchen space with both tangible and intangible forms of love and trust, from origami thank you cards on each table to the infectious enthusiasm that inspired newcomers to want to start their own gift economy space. Environment is key in gift economy spaces and the team co-created this. The key point is that before launching Karma Kitchen, Yuka and the team devoted their time to listening to each other. This listening, sharing, and learning cultivated the soil that nourishes the core roots of love and trust. They always ask themselves, “Am I coming from an intention of love?”
When we focus on the small "i" instead of the big "I", “me” transforms into “We”:
Sheetal and Khushmita described their unique home/community space in Pune, India, a place called the Urban Ashram. Anyone is invited to be a part of this physical space. But in the beginning, Khushmita shared how they separated their home (private space) from the ashram (public space), and the result often was that people didn’t feel a heart connection to the ashram. Khushmita had many ideas for activities and projects but this was not enough to create the welcoming, community environment that they desired. When they realized that their private space in the ashram belonged to the community just as much as it belonged to them, the entire space naturally opened up and there were no walls or barriers. The entire ashram became a place for the collective to creatively contribute. Even when they are away for weeks at a time, every activity continues without them and their ashram/home is tenderly cared for because it belongs to the community.
By staying firm in these three root principles, we create a space of trust and love in which service can blossom wherever we are.