Vision Workshop

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The purpose of the Memorial Day Weekend 2011 Vision Workshop was to begin to craft a Vision for SolSeed, in part as a first step toward building an eco-village.

The initial workshop took two days, although the book we're working from, Creating a Life Together, recommends possibly extending the process over weeks or months. We may not need to do this, since a lot of our previous Group Experiences have been oriented around developing the SolSeed Movement's vision.


Planned agenda

Part 1: Values (1 hour)

  • Read marked quotes in Creating a Life Together so that everyone knows what is a vision, mission, and values
  • "sacred space" and process; select and rotate facilitator
  • Read our prepared community stories
  • Write values on 4x6 post-it notes
  • Cluster values
  • 2 Red dots for clusters
  • 3 Green dots for values within the clusters
  • Assess where dots are clustered. Are we aligned? Are we divergent? Do we share values and interests?
  • Photograph the process

Break (15 min)

Part 2: Non-negotiables (45 min)

  • What things *must* be present for you to participate?
  • What things *must not* be present?
  • Transfer to large board
  • Likely will repeat this later

Part 3: Where do we draw the line? (30 min)

  • Specifically with regard to bringing life, even unto the galaxy -- what behaviors are on the continuum?
  • List
  • Dot those you are willing to do
  • Is there a clear line or clustering? Who should be allowed "in"? What behaviors are required?
  • Repeat for sustainable living and/or empathy/wisdom/self-love??

Day 2

Part 4: Drafting a vision

  • This is a working document
  • Page 53 and 54 instructions on a big piece of paper

Break (another topic)

Part 5: Assessing your vision documents

  • Assess vision documents using pg 54 grey box

Agenda in practice

  • Are we the right people?
  • Values
  • Non-negotiables
  • Where do we draw the line?
  • Drafting a vision statement
  • Drafting a mission statement


Are we the right people?


  • Read and discuss our stories about positive and negative experiences with communities or similar social groups, and discuss the values we find in the stories
  • Each list 3-7 of our own personal traits that make us well- or ill-suited for community, and discuss how we can mitigate the latter
  • Describe a situation you'd like to avoid when living in community, and discuss what to do if it arises
  • Describe the benefits you hope to gain from living in community, and discuss whether and how we can work to provide them

Values from our stories

  • Listening
  • Valuing the intellectual
    • High energy from an intellectual "salon"
  • Valuing aesthetics
  • The ritual creates the meaning
  • Togetherness
  • (Lasting) commitment
  • Caring for/taking care of each other
    • Preparing to be caring - thoughtfulness
  • Having fun together
  • Creativity
  • Being present in the moment
  • Safety
    • Ability to be yourself
    • Not having to pretend that things are okay
  • Transparent rules, predictability
    • Rules exist to foster equitable exchange
  • Commitment to process
  • Familiarity of place
  • Friendliness
  • Belonging
  • Acceptance
  • Camaraderie
  • Playfulness
  • Creativity
  • Collaborative ethic
    • Trusting the group
    • Informal group decision-making
    • Valuing others' contributions
  • Not making people wrong
  • Not ganging up
  • Giving people the benefit of the doubt
  • Recognition
  • Achievement
  • Self-sacrifice when necessary
  • Emotional maturity
    • Lack of neediness

Personal traits

Ben Brandon Shelley
Traits that make me well-suited for community
  • Responsibleness (I do what I say I'll do)
  • Fairness
  • Interest in looking for common ground
Traits that make me ill-suited for community
  • Problems with listening to people
  • Inability to start informal conversations
  • Impatience
  • Insufficient tactfulness
  • Pessimism
  • Not taking feedback very well
  • Low energy
In-between traits
  • Don't like criticizing people
  • Keep the group small
  • Practice listening
  • Practice thinking before reacting
  • Get others to be more patient?
  • Have people I trust watch for patronizing/power-seeking behavior and let me know (use the term "professorial")
  • Communicate honestly with everyone in the group about my needs and wants
  • Be more in tune with my needs
  • Commit to wanting to be in community

Situations we'd like to avoid

  • Ben
    • Brandon and Shelley "ganging up"
    • Sequoia being noisy etc
    • Brandon doing something in SolSeed's name without consulting us
  • Shelley
    • Conflict between Sequoia's and the community's needs
    • Too much time demanded for SolSeed, eating into my routine
  • Brandon
    • Conflict between plans for a community meeting or activity and Sequoia's or Shelley's needs, if it happens too often


  • Do things during Sequoia's nap
  • Have one parent look after Sequoia while the other participates
  • Occasional childcare
  • Don't expect an increase in Shelley's contribution to SolSeed work

Benefits we want from community

  • Shelley
    • Personal growth ("rock polishing")
    • Socialization for Sequoia in a positive atmosphere
  • Ben: being less lonely
  • Brandon: An atmosphere of purpose, supporting each other in purposeful work



  • Read through the values list from Vision Workshop#Values from our stories and each write the ones we resonate with on sticky notes
  • Group the sticky notes into categories
  • Write down the categories, along with any important sub-concepts
  • Each assign two big smiley-face stickers and four small ones to values we especially like


A + represents a small sticker and a @ represents a large one.

Lighthearted, playful
+ Family
+ Creativity
Exploring ideas
@+ Beauty, Spirituality, Meaningful Ritual
@++ Sustainable Motivation / Opportunity to Contribute
+ Commitment
Supporting me being who I really want to be
Looking for each others' greatness
+ Fairness / Transparency
+ Emotional Maturity
Assume good faith
+ Nothing festers
Not pretending
@ Caring
Deep sharing
Taking care of each other
@@+ Bringing Life / The Destiny
+ Embracing Science
@+ Cherishing the Earth



Write down things we must have and must not have in our community and the people who live there


  • Kindness / gentleness
  • Rationality
  • Prompt and polite feedback
  • Emotional maturity
  • Respect for nature
  • Process of living lighter on the Earth
  • Flexibility
  • Utilities and basic services
  • Clear written expectations for behavior
  • Someone in each family unit is passionate about The Destiny


  • Magical thinking
  • Festering (unspoken resentment of others' behavior)
  • Neediness (people who only talk about their own problems)
  • Being overly rule-bound
  • People with antipathy for The Destiny

Where do we draw the line?


  • Pick topics with a range of possible levels of engagement
  • For each topic:
    • Brainstorm levels of engagement and write them down in approximate order from least to most engaged
    • Each put star or heart stickers next to all the levels we're willing to commit to personally
    • Draw two lines, one where everyone in the community must be at least this engaged, and one where at least one member of each family unit must be at least this engaged

Hastening fulfillment of The Destiny

+++ Tolerating space talk

+++ Watching science videos
+++ Verbally endorsing The Destiny
+++ Grudging participation in SolSeed Services
+++ Wearing a Starfarer t-shirt in public
+++ Participating in weekly work bees
+++ Participating in space-related projects

++ Volunteering on SpaceWiki
+++ Enthusiastic participation in services
++ Recruiting new members and talking about The Destiny
+++ Giving money to support The Destiny
++ Vocation tied to The Destiny

Cherishing the Earth

+++ Turning out lights in an empty room
+++ Unplugging devices when not in use or fully charged
++ Signing online petitions
+++ Recycling
++ Composting our table scraps

+++ Giving money to environmental groups
+++ Not eating beef
+++ Not flushing pee
+++ Minimizing car trips

+++ Volunteering for ex. beach cleanups
+++ Buying organic whenever possible
++ Vegetarianism
+++ Contributing to clean-energy infrastructure
+ Not owning a car
Not flying
++ Advocating political change in person
++ Persuading family and friends to change

Embracing science

In this case, we want to maintain a moderate stance. Therefore, the first line is the level of engagement that all community members must meet, and below the second line are levels that no community members can meet. We also skipped the stickers for this one.

Rejecting creationism
Rejecting astrology and paranormal phenomena (e.g. psychic powers)
Rejecting pseudoscience (e.g. homeopathy)
Rational (test and assess) decision-making in day-to-day life

Rejecting superstition (e.g. not knocking on wood for luck)
Asserting the physicality of the mind
Rejecting Gaia theory and other controversial theories

Denying the value of religion
Reductionism: Denying the value of spirituality of any kind

Drafting vision and mission statements

Working vision statement

Life thriving on Earth, creating the conditions for more life; Earth giving birth to a family of living worlds

Working mission statement

To build a community committed to our vision of cherishing the Earth, embracing science, and bringing other worlds to life. Using shared rituals to inspire and motivate us, we will devote energy to effective projects that support that vision.

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