This is chapter 8 of the SolSeed book.
Take One Step
- It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.
- ~ Winston Churchill
The Destiny of SolSeed is to take root amongst the stars. Getting involved with a movement that has such far ranging goals can seem daunting at first. Especially if you don't already have skills pointed directly at The Destiny. But then, none of the movement's original founders had such skills either... So what is the first step? What is the first link in the chain of this grand destiny? The first step is to incorporate SolSeed into your experience in small ways that Bring Life to you and your family.
Create associations between the core concepts of SolSeed and created value. For example, one of the core concepts in SolSeed is Bringing Life. Make a donation to an existing cause or organization that Brings Life, but make it on behalf of SolSeed. This creates an association in your mind between the cause and the values of SolSeed, and between SolSeed and the donation that adds value to the cause. Another core concept of SolSeed is mindfulness. When you notice that you are bolting down your food as you multi-task with cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, create a SolSeed Practice of always sitting down while eating. The mindfulness and connection with your life that get created will again be associated with SolSeed in your mind.
The regular association of life bringing actions and practices creates a positive feedback loop. SolSeed as your Spiritual Tradition gets invested becomes more solid each time you associate it with a life bringing action or practice you perform. As SolSeed gains solidity and sacredness from these associations, the meaning and purpose it can imbue in a new activity also increases. This is a very natural way of creating time and space for your spiritual tradition in your life.
Fun is one of the most important associations to connect with SolSeed. Create your SolSeed Practice in a spirit of playfulness rather than heavy gravitas. When things are serious and significant they weigh on your mind when you aren't working on them and create stress and attachment when you are. This is not a life bringing recipe.
Tell the World Who You Are
- By associating with wise people you will become wise yourself.
- ~ Menander
Write a bit about who you are and what about SolSeed inspires you on your page on the wiki. This is very much in line with the notion of being a Starfarer now. It recognizes the power in declaration and the wisdom that comes from introspection. Work on your own personal vision statement of what you can contribute now, what you'd like to contribute in the future, and who you would like to be. This includes an assessment of where you have the Lesser Gift and the Greater Gift. Then share this purpose statement with others. Ask them how you occur to them. Ask for their honest feedback and start to create a program of study that will help move you toward being recognized by others as the person you intend to be. When you share your aspirations with others, ask them to help connect you to people who are already further along your path that can serve as mentors for you.
Attend our events
There are limits to how much we can learn about each other merely with words on a website. Our in-person events give you a chance to get a real sense for the type of people who are involved in the SolSeed Movement, as well as giving us a chance to learn more about you. There are three types of event to consider: our celebrations of Sabbath, Solstices, and Equinoxes; our three-day unconference retreats, which involve more in-depth discussion; and events held by other groups where SolSeed Movement members participate in various ways.
Our Sabbath services, which can be joined using videoconferencing software, are typically around half an hour in length and follow a ritual pattern. Before we begin this ritual, we have a brief "check-in" period where the participants can talk about how their lives are going. The leader of the service, a position that rotates among the participants, then moves into the recitation of the Universe story; participants use symbolic elements like a candle to represent the Sun, a plate of soil to stand for the Earth, a cup of water for the oceans, and deep breaths to celebrate the air. This is followed by a reading chosen by the leader, a seven-minute meditation, and a discussion period where everyone is asked to share their thoughts. We conclude with a group recitation of the SolSeed Creed, which is subject to revision like the rest of our wiki-based scripture.
Our Solstice and Equinox celebrations, while also encompassing a spiritual element, are somewhat more freeform. There is typically an event located in Portland, Oregon and another in Ottawa, Ontario. Each event features a festive meal and various activities somehow connected to the time of year, such as planting seeds on the Spring Equinox or an evening hike on the Winter Solstice. We also map the Universe story onto the year, with winter representing the earliest epochs of star and galaxy formation; spring standing for the early history of life on Earth; summer representing the rise of complex organisms including humans, bringing us up to the present day; and autumn standing for the hoped-for future in which life spreads across the stars.
Our three-day unconference retreats are more irregularly scheduled; for example, we held three such events in 2009, but the next one didn't take place until early 2011. Usually located in some remote and beautiful corner of Oregon State, these events use Open Space Technology as their organizing method, which means there is no agenda until the participants arrive and create one on the morning of the first day (hence the term "unconference.") The only thing decided in advance is a short list of focus questions, which range from abstract and philosophical ("Who are we as Life? As individuals on a spiritual journey? As members and friends of the SolSeed Movement?") to somewhat more concrete and practical ("Who are we becoming? What are we doing next?") In addition to the discussion sessions created by the participants, there are games and other fun activities, as well as meals prepared on-site by rotating subsets of the group. Participation is free, and we can even provide some assistance with travel costs.
You can also join us at various space conferences, science-fiction conventions, and environmentalist festivals and rallies, where we connect and chat with members of the various identity groups (e.g. space enthusiasts, environmental activists, and members of intentional communities) whose intersection forms the likely candidate pool for new members of the SolSeed Movement. Both SolSeed and our SpaceWiki project have been registered exhibitors at some of these events, and we've even begun to add SolSeed-related talks to the agendas of some conferences.
Join the work bee calls
One of the simplest ways to get involved is also one of the most profound. The SolSeed Movement has a heartbeat of sorts, a weekly rhythm that helps its core contributing members motivate each other. The heart of this rhythm is the weekly work bee. It's usually held online, to ensure members living in more than one city have a chance to participate. We do our best to limit the meeting to one hour, both to conserve our precious supply of motivation and to help fit it into people's schedules. We also do our best to get some concrete work done during the calls, like editing a newsletter or writing a book chapter together.
During each work bee, we make an important record known as the "WWWs," a list of tasks indicating Who will do What by When, essentially giving ourselves homework assignments for the following week. After a friendly "check-in" like the one at the services, where we tell each other how we're doing with life in general, the second task for any work bee is to review last week's WWWs and see how we did. We usually have at least one or two tasks that didn't get done for one reason or another, but that's okay, as long as we keep motivating each other to do our best.
With all the various projects we juggle -- books, videos, newsletters, keeping in touch with kindred topical communities (see below), and all the events we host or attend -- it can often feel like we didn't accomplish enough at a given work bee. Part of the answer to that is prioritization; some projects don't need to be worked on constantly, and "we'll get back to it next time, or in a couple of months," is often an acceptable answer.
Another part of the answer is you. Cheesy, but true. Both because many hands make light work, and because we're eager to meet people who share our values and vision and want to get involved, we really hope you'll join us on our work bees. Try one and see how it feels.
Cultivate a Topical Community
- “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”
- ~ Chinese Proverb
Pick an area of topical interest to you and get involved in the communities that discuss and write about that topic. First, select 3-5 kindred news sites/blogs/forums that are authoritative on the topic. As you are making your selection, create a page on the wiki describing the cluster of blogs/news sites/forums you've chosen and why you think they are important for the topic. Next, subscribe to the sites so that you can keep up with the reading of them every day. Make it a goal to write a couple of comments every week spread across the sites. Finally, watch for opportunities for those sites to mention content or projects that SolSeed is working on.
Alternatively, you might select social media as the venue for your topical interest. Ideally you will create an identity that searchers interested in the topic will find and subscribe to. This goes well with the effort to read blogs/news sites/forums described above. Reading these sites will give you a source of interesting articles and discussions to tweet about. This in turn gives back to the communities that you tweet about by increasing the amount of attention they receive.
Cultivating a Topical Community is slow growing. It would be nice if you had already been cultivating your expertise in the topic for 20 years, but if you haven't, today is the next best time to start. It can help to think about it like planting a tree. The growth is too slow to observe directly, but before long you've created something strong and beautiful that can be tapped as needed.
Give Life its Due
Automatically set aside a percentage of your gross for 'Bringing Life'. Create a bank account into which the funds are automatically deposited.