Vision to Action – Follow up Community Meeting

January 28th
Vision to Action is an open invitation for all interested community members to participate in creating the Denver Center’s future to 2020 and beyond. The process continues through Shambhala Day 2012 (Feb 22nd). More

Summary of Vision to Action Community Meeting,  Saturday, December 17, 2011 by Susan Skjei

Vision-to-Action (V2A) is a three month planning process the Shambhala Center of Denver is implementing to prepare itself for the growth and expansion that is anticipated over the next few years.  All community members are invited to participate whether or not you have been involved in previous meetings (please go to the V2A website for team meeting times and other details ). 


            Over 50 people attended the second Vision to Action (V2A) community meeting at the center on December 17.  The purpose of the session was to review the progress the teams had made so far, to begin to establish the three pillars governance model and to provide additional training in the 6 ways of ruling.  Shastri Jeffrey Stevens led us in sitting meditation and chants, and then I welcomed the group (Fred Jaben was unable to attend due to a family commitment) and reviewed the outcomes for the overall process:

·         Develop a clear vision and strategic priorities for the center

·         Implement a governance structure and decision making process based on the 3 pillars model

·         Select the next center director

·         Increase the capacity of the community to manifest a “culture of kindness”

Participants talked in trios about their experience of the V2A process so far and what they were learning.  During the debrief, it was clear that those who had participated in teams were learning a lot about how the center functions and what might be possible now, as well as learning about how to work in teams and resolve conflicts.  It was also expressed by several participants that the center needed some way to integrate all that was being learned and to have a place where priorities could be decided and resources could be allocated.  Much appreciation was expressed by all.  There were a handful of people present who had not been involved previously, and they were enthusiastically welcomed into the process.

Team Presentations:

            Each team gave a 10-15 minute presentation to the community that covered: 1) Their topic and the questions they were exploring, 2) What they had discovered so far, 3) How might their work benefit the center, 4) What requests they had for the larger group (please see specific team summaries and presentations on the V2A website).

Three Pillars Governance Model

            After lunch, Valéria Pasta, Jackie Roberts and Todd Pickton gave a presentation on the Three Pillars Model (as it is being recommended by Shambhala) and a proposal, which they had reviewed with Richard Reoch and Carolyn Mandelker in Halifax, for how the Denver center can begin to implement it.  Since Fred Jaben will be transitioning out of his Center Director role on Shambhala Day 2012 (Feb 22nd), they suggested that the Center select a team of 3 people who could act as the transitional Center Director until the next director can be selected.  I facilitated a process of “broad agreement” in which people asked clarifying questions to make sure they understood the proposal.  Then a “thumb vote” was taken (thumbs up means “I agree”, thumbs sideways means “I have concerns” and thumbs down means “I disagree”) and those with concerns or disagreements were invited to express them.  After all of the concerns had been heard and discussed and new suggestions made, the entire group agreed on the revised process (please see the Center Director Team notes on the V2A website for a description of the revised process).  Although the process was slow (and even tedious at times), allowing everyone who had a concern to express themselves yielded positive improvements to the proposed process and built trust among community members.  We all celebrated with tea and cookies.

The 6 Ways of Ruling

            Janet Solyntjes then presented an overview of the Six Ways of Ruling based on Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s book Ruling Your World, and engaged the group in a conversation about how and when to apply them.  The group numbered off into six groups and each group did a contemplation on one of the ways of ruling (from an exercise presented at the 2011 Governance Gatherings).  Each group then prepared a short creative offering, using poetry, movement, pantomime or dialogue to demonstrate their understanding of that way of ruling to the larger group and to engage them in a learning process.  Although we were tired by the end of the day, it was fun and inspiring to see and experience the creativity of each group.  I then closed the session with a few remarks and appreciations and Shastri Stevens led us in sitting and the closing chants.

Next Steps:

Over the next 6 weeks the teams will again meet 3 times to focus on their recommendations for action and their proposed budgets.  Everyone is invited to join a group, even if you missed the last two community meetings.  Please look at the V2A website and calendar to determine the time and location for the group you are interested in joining.  The next community meeting will be held on January 28, 2012, from 9-5.  During this meeting the teams will have an opportunity to present their recommendations and budget proposals.  The Fearless Fundraising and Finance group will also do a session on creative ways to work with money and we will announce the selection of the 3-person acting Center Director [Pillar of Government] who will be installed on Shambhala Day.  They will work with the representatives of the other Pillars–Shastri Jeffrey Stevens [Pillar of Practice & Education] and Rusung Kelly Lehmann [Pillar of Protection]–to help govern the center over the next 6 months.  Team representatives will join an operations group that will also be involved in the governance process.  The goal is for the next center director to be installed by the Harvest of Peace/Shambhala Lineage Festival in September 2012.