“CaRE” stands for Communication and Relationship Empowerment. This framework is the foundation of our communal living and provides tools for us to navigate our relationships and maintain connection.
Awareness of Interdependence
One of the key ingredients of meaningful community is the recognition that we are all interdependent. Everything I do impacts you and everything you do impacts me, so it is important to develop curiosity about the impacts on myself and others of my choices and actions. We can also call this “self-responsibility.” The main contributor to awareness of impact is the practice of giving and receiving feedback.
Communication Norms and Practices
Communication can contribute either to connection or to disconnection. Communication that connects is grounded in self-responsibility and thrives in an environment of safety, trust and respect. Self-responsible communication is a dance among the qualities of Self-Connection, Receiving Others and Revealing Myself. When I communicate self-responsibly, I place my attention on the present moment and hold the intention for connection.
Cultivating a Culture of Honest Feedback
As mentioned above, the main contributor to awareness of the impact of my choices on others is the practice of giving and receiving feedback. We strive to create and maintain a culture of honest feedback, where we develop our skills in honest self-expression and empathic receiving. Feedback can be given individually or in a group setting, preferably after checking to see if the other person is open to receiving it. When we have created this culture, I am able to honestly share my experience with you and you are able to receive it as my experience rather than as a personal attack.
Circles for Connection and Feedback
Each day, staff members join for a Sharing Circle, an opportunity to share “what’s alive” in the moment and to receive the life expressed by others. Community Guests are also invited to attend these circles. Our practice of sharing circles is grounded in the Way of Council.
Periodically, staff members in identified roles (e.g. Center Focalisers, Kitchen Focaliser) gather for a Feedback Circle to receive feedback about their performance in their roles. This opportunity is also available for other staff members upon request.