Great Ideas for Community Gatherings
Global Community for All's gatherings are at the heart of our community. We have no required format for these community gatherings. We welcome any kind of gathering as long as it includes a commitment to the three principles upon which our global community is based. You are more than welcome to develop your own ideas and your own theme or format. We welcome and encourage diversity and variety, and would love to hear about your ideas, experiences, and anything you might develop on your own. We have a suggested format for gatherings with ideas for those just getting started. You can find it by clicking here on Gathering Format.
Main Ideas. What we have found to be best in our gatherings is to focus on these main ideas: community, inspiration, intention, and the combination of love, healing, and empowerment. We also highly recommend some kind of opening and closing for your gathering. We share with you below some possibilities on developing these themes. An easy way to start a new group based on these ideas is to start with our suggested format and then improvise and adapt to the needs and desires of your group, based on your own ideas and/or some of those listed below.
The opening brings everyone together to focus on the gathering, on the members present, and on our shared intentions. While you're waiting for people to arrive, you might sing a few songs, play games, sit in silence, or just chat freely. Once everyone is present, we recommend standing or sitting in a circle (with everyone holding hands if they are comfortable with that).
- Invite everyone
to take a few deep breaths together first, as this can help everyone
to feel more present.
- Spend five minutes or
so in silence at both the beginning and end of each gathering. This
is an opportunity for everyone to gradually let go of whatever thoughts
might be racing through their minds. As our minds become more quiet, we
silently focus in inviting in love, healing, and support from our community,
as well as on sending the same out to ourselves and to the world. The time
in silence also allows our minds to quiet down and focus, and our hearts
to open to sharing together in the joy of community.
- One person can lead the
group in singing (email for info on tune) or stating our community's three
principles: may we choose what's best for all; may we open to divine
guidance; and we commit to love, healing, and empowerment for all. You might
also invite everyone to invoke whatever else is important to those present
in the gathering.
- Invite everyone to state
in unison: Love, healing, empowerment, YES!!! Give a special emphasis to
that yes and suggest that everyone really feel these three beautiful intentions
as we state them.
- Give time for everyone to share names and a sentence or two about who they are and/or how they are doing. This helps us to know how we all are doing and helps everyone to feel included. If you have a lot of people, you might want to limit the comments to just a word or two for the sake of time.
If you have a lot of new people, you might have someone read or discuss briefly the purpose of our community and the reasons we come together. The following is a suggestion for points to mention:
- We come together
to unite energies with all in this warm community with the shared commitment
to love, healing, and empowerment for all.
- We recommend
setting aside time each day to reaffirm the three community commitments,
especially remembering to open to sending and receiving love, healing, and
empowerment to and from all in our community.
- We join our community members wherever they may be in gathering to share in community together, to support and inspire each other, to review and refine our life intentions, review and refine our intentions for the world, and to unite in supporting the best intentions of all in our community.
Community involves a sense of belonging. Simply by meeting regularly we develop a sense of community with each other. Sharing a common commitment to what's best, to divine guidance, and to loving, healing, and empowering each other creates a further sense of belonging as we share these meaningful intentions in our lives. When we regularly invoke these commitments as a group and on our own, we further strengthen our bond. And when we open to the support of all of our community members, wherever they may be, there is a sense of belonging to and contributing to something even greater.
All of the activities mentioned for the both the opening and closing are ways of fostering community. Here's a list of further ideas for deepening our sense of community at gatherings:
- Singing, especially songs that touch on the three principles.
- Games, especially those oriented towards fun and cooperation rather than competition. You can buy or order books on "New Games" which have this specific focus.
- Praying (welcoming all religions and beliefs).
- Closing our eyes and humming or singing a single note (also called toning) while focusing on sending out love, empowerment, and best wishes to each other, to our entire community, and to all.
- Talent shows.
- Sharing food through potlucks or picnics.
- Story telling–especially stories that touch on the three principles.
Inspiration gives us hope for the future and motivation to be the best we can be. Through sharing inspirational stories, especially from our own lives, we can inspire each other to make positive changes both in our own lives and in the world around us.
Here's a list of other inspiring activities:
- Break into small groups (we recommend four to seven people) and offer everyone a turn to share an inspirational story, though anyone is also free to pass.
- Have each person bring an inspiring quote to share.
- Have one person read or tell a longer inspiring story. You can choose this person at the previous meeting to give time to find a good story.
- Have one or several people act out an inspiring story.
- Develop an inspirational book list to be shared with anyone interested.
- Have everyone look for inspiring articles in newspapers and magazines each month. Bring copies for everyone to take home with them.
In larger groups, we recommend for all personal sharing a time limit of three minutes per person. You can appoint a timekeeper for each group. This helps to keep everyone focused and allows more time for personal sharing after the gathering.
By taking time at each gathering to write down and continually refine our intentions or goals for our lives and for the planet, we focus on what's most important in our lives and open to support from our community in this. We generally use the word intention rather than goal as a goal implies something fixed which we either succeed or fail in achieving. The term intention implies something more flexible, something we can feel free to change at any time if it becomes clear that is what's best in our lives.
- Invite each person on their own to develop, refine, and review our personal intentions for our lives for a few minutes.
- For first timers, the invitation is to identify your deepest intentions for life and write them down.
- For those who have written them down previously, explore if you need or want to refine these intentions, and review how you have been doing with practicing them in your lives.
- Invite each member to find a way to keep these intentions in view in our homes as a constant reminder. Some might want to print them up and leave it out on a desk or bedside table, others might want to hang them on a wall. This helps remind us on a regular basis what is most important to us in our lives.
- In small groups take turns sharing about how we are integrating our intentions into our lives past, present, and future. As always, anyone is free to pass.
- Develop, refine, and review shared intentions for our world. What do we all want for everyone? If you don't have something already written up, have someone write down the things we can all agree upon and print the list up for future gatherings. We can make changes to the list at any gathering and reprint it for the next one. Please remember to consider all people in the world with all our diverse backgrounds and beliefs in developing these intentions. This is not a list of practical things we plan to do, but rather a vision for an empowering future for our planet which we hold strongly together. If there is any unresolvable disagreement about an item, please don't place it on the list. We would like to have everyone present strongly support this shared vision.
Love, Healing, and Empowerment
Love, healing, and empowerment are essential ingredients of our community. When everyone feels loved, healed, and empowered by the community, we develop an ever-deeper bond and trust with each other. As one of our three principles, we commit to love, healing, and empowerment for all.
Sharing inspiration and intentions is one way of empowering each other. Yet the most meaningful way to share love, healing, and empowerment for many people is helping each other to make it through challenging times or situations and to focus on what's important in our lives. This kind of support opens us to receiving love, healing, and support both from others and from ourselves. When we give each person time to ask for and receive love, healing, and empowerment in difficulties they are currently facing, we open to deeper connection with each other and thus strengthen our whole community.
Here are some ways we can love, heal, and empower each other at our gatherings:
- In small groups, give each person a chance to talk about challenges or difficulties they are facing in their lives. After sharing, members can ask for love and healing in whatever way feels best to them (asking for feedback and/or verbal support, asking for prayers, supportive massage, asking others to place hands on them, or even asking to do a role play about something going on in their lives). Each person receives the love and healing of the group in whatever way feels most empowering to them.
- Healing Circle. Invite each person in the group to take a turn receiving from the others. Each person can choose to ask for love and healing in whatever way they would like. It is often most powerful when everyone else in the group gathers around the individual in the center and sends prayers of love, healing, and empowerment for this person. You can also all tone together (sing or hum a single note for an extended period). If those receiving are interested, people around them can place their hands on those requesting healing. After all have had a turn, invite everyone to close the healing circle by sending out prayers for love, healing, and empowerment to all present, to all in our community, and to all beings. A simpler, faster way to do this is to just have everyone stand in a circle with joined hands and pray silently or tone together.
- Treasure chest. Pass a hat or bag around and ask everyone to put in whatever amount of money feels right to them (can be as little as a dollar and as much as you want). You can have the whole group decide together who gets the treasure chest and award it to that person. Or you can have two or three people who agree not to get the chest to go off and decide who needs it most. Hugging and verbal support as the treasure chest is awarded also help the person receiving the chest to feel more loved and empowered in receiving this gift from the group. This is best done after the group healing process, as that is often where we find out who is in need. You might prefer to do this during the final personal sharing. We recommend not giving the treasure chest to the same person twice in a row, and giving it to them quietly may help to relieve any feeling of embarrassment.
- Take turns bringing food to the gatherings as a way of loving our stomachs and treating our taste buds.
The closing of the gathering is a special time to celebrate and give thanks for all that we've shared together. We highly recommend some time for people to share with the whole group anything significant from their experience during the gathering. After verbal sharing, spending a few minutes in silence allows everyone time to digest all that has happened, to feel the wonderful love of everyone present, and to give thanks for the healing and empowerment of our entire community. This silence is the ideal time for us to envision together the world we are creating, filled with love, healing, and empowerment. You can break this silence by singing or stating the three principles, and then end with stating three times in unison: Love, healing, empowerment, YES!!! A final thanks and open the gathering to free time sharing together.
All Ideas and Groups are Welcome Here
All of the above are ideas we have come up with which help to develop community, inspiration, intention, love, healing, and empowerment at our gatherings. If you have other ideas, we'd love to hear about them and possibly include them here in the future. You might even choose to add some principles to the three upon which we are based. We welcome this and would love to hear your ideas and share them with others in the community who might be interested.
Special Interest Groups. We also welcome groups forming around special interests. Your group might choose to focus on topics such as poetry, inspirational readings, politics, music, sports, dance, theater, prayer, peace, religion, philosophy, education, business, health, love, or any other subject important to you. You can design your group around a topic, or adapt the suggested schedule to give time to your chosen topic. Our community embraces diversity and welcomes any person and any group willing to follow the three principles upon which Global Community for All is based.
Other Groups. You might also consider bringing some of these ideas to other groups or organizations you are already involved in. Your group might be interested in incorporating some of this into their organization. They might also have interest in becoming a group member of our community. We believe that the more people and groups we have focused on love, healing, and empowerment, the better our lives and our world will be. Just imagine if every parent, friend, teacher, politician, businessman, and lawyer truly did their best to love, heal, and empower all. We would live in a pretty wonderful world!
Integration Breath. In our gatherings, whenever someone shares something particularly deep or personal, taking a deep breath and/or a moment in silence after their sharing allows everyone to fully integrate what was said and appreciate the speaker before moving on. Some groups might choose to take an integration breath after every personal sharing of any length.
Breaking into Smaller Groups and time limits. When it's time for personal sharing of inspiration, intentions, and/or love and healing, we find it's best to break into groups if you have more than seven people. Smaller groups allow more time for each person to share so that it is easier to create more depth and intimacy. We've found small group sizes of four to seven people to be ideal. Setting a time limit of three minutes or so per share can also be very helpful. We recommend appointing a timekeeper for each group. This helps to keep people focused and allows for more free time for personal sharing after the gathering.
Meeting Times. Each group can determine what are the best times for gathering. If there is interest, you might also get together for other activities or events. Think about planning a group outing together. Once your group feels a strong sense of community, inspiration, and support together, the possibilities are endless.
These Are Only Suggestions. All of the ideas here are only suggestions to help you in forming or strengthening your group. You are free to develop something completely different if that feels best to you. If fact, we'd love to hear about it if you do, as others may be interested. Our only requirement to be members of this community is that you embrace the three principles upon which we are founded. Other than that, we welcome your creativity and explorations. You can contact us with any ideas by visiting http://www.inspiringcommunity.org/contactusgca.php. You can also find more loving ideas for community gatherings on a sister website at http://www.weboflove.org/circleofloveideas.
Best Wishes. We wish you and your group all the very best! We wish you lots of love, inspiration, and rich sharing of intentions and community in your gatherings! Just let us know if there is any way we can support you more.