Process Team letter to the community (2 August 2019): Invitation to Participate in Free Online Theory U Course

Dear Shambhala Community,

In place of an update this month, the Process Team (PT) would like to extend an invitation to those members of the community interested in exploring Theory Uand training in its methodology together with the PT.

What is Theory U? At its core, it is a framework and set of tools that help communities tap into their collective wisdom during times of profound challenge, and to “co-generate” their emerging future. As Shambhalians, our Buddhist training gives us a significant advantage in being able to understand this framework and apply its tools.

As we explained in our July update, the PT will employ Theory U (among other means) to facilitate transformative change in our community. Theory U is a good fit for this work because its values align with Shambhala as a contemplative community, it complements our existing wisdom practices, and it encourages broad participation and a diversity of viewpoints. It can also be easily adapted at local and regional levels and across Shambhala, and is easy to understand and apply.

We would like to invite interested members of the community to join us! A major upcoming learning and practice opportunity begins on September 12, and has one prerequisite to be completed by August 29 (see point 1 below). Here are details:

    1. Introduction to Theory U: https://www.edx.org/course/ulab-leading-change-in-times-of-disruption
      This free, two-hour video introduction is helpful for anyone interested in understanding more about Theory U. It is also a prerequisite for the fall u.lab online course (see point 2), and people interested in enrolling in that course need to complete the introduction by August 29.

    2. u.lab: an online course on Theory U: https://www.edx.org/course/ulab-leading-from-the-emerging-future
      This free, 13-week u.lab online course is offered annually and begins this year on September 12. It will involve group work with participants from around the world, including members of the PT and the broader Shambhala community. The u.lab course has “Hubs”—defined communities practicing the material together—and we hope to organize a Shambhala Hub.

We want to share these training opportunities with you now, as the deadlines are approaching.

Save the Dates: Join Us for Two Orientation and Q&A Sessions

The Theory U coordination group within the Process Team invite you to join us for conversation and Q&A on Theory U and its relationship with Shambhala.

These two optional orientation sessions will last 60 minutes, and will take place:

Please join us on one of these calls, especially if you are curious about or thinking of participating in the September online course.

Joining the Shambhala Hub

If you are interested in or have registered for the u.lab online course, please contact Nancy KapLon (NancyKapLonPT@gmail.com), so that we will have a sense of the participants in the Shambhala Hub. We will be in touch with everyone that registers before the end of August to offer more information about the Shambhala Hub, and how we can make the most out of our community participation.

Our hope in making this invitation is that Shambhala can benefit from practicing a shared awareness-based methodology for social change.

If you have any questions, please direct them to ProcessTeam@Shambhala.info.

Warmly, The Shambhala Process Team

Process Team letter to the community (10 July 2019)

Dear Shambhala Community,

The Process Team (PT) has focused during the month of June on “landing” the work we have been doing since we took our seats just over four months ago (on Shambhala Day). As part of this effort, we have chosen an awareness-based change methodology called Theory U to assist PT members – and eventually other interested sangha members – in guiding difficult conversations throughout the community.

Some of you may have heard of Theory U and the work of Otto Scharmer and the Presencing Institute, which have a close relationship with Shambhala and have collaborated directly with Acharyas Arawana Hayashi and Susan Skjei, among others.

The idea behind Theory U is that to facilitate responsive and positive change in the world around us, individual and collective capacities that incorporate the inner world of humans are crucial. Three capacities, in particular, are emphasized:

    1. Open mind (inquiry, curiosity)
    2. Open heart (empathy and compassion)
    3. Open will (courage; letting go and letting come)

As Shambhalians, you will recognize these capacities as part of the path of the Dharma. What is unique about Theory U, and why we are engaging its methodology at this particular time in our history, is that it is designed to facilitate engagement with systemic disruption and social chaos like that we are experiencing in our community, and to give birth to co-created alternatives.

There is much more to be said about Theory U, and you may read about some of the methods it employs on the PT website, and at the links above. For now, we wanted to give you a preview. We will be training ourselves over the next few months, as well as continuing to make resources available for the decentralized conversations and efforts already underway throughout the community. It should become clearer, as we proceed, how these tools might be of use in your local situations, where many of you are already engaging with an emerging future.

In other PT news, you will have heard by now from the Interim Board (IB) about the survey they and the PT Survey Working Group (SWG) released. If you missed their recent message, you may find more information here (you must log in to Shambhala.org to view). You can expect a second survey from the IB and the SWG on the topic of Care and Conduct in July. You may want to add ShambhalaSurveys@gmail.com to your contacts so that it is not inadvertently delivered to your junk mail folder.

You can read our new PT Mission and Vision Statements developed by the Charter Working Group on our website. As always, full PT Working Group updates can also be found there.

Please note that our next update will be at the end of August to allow the communications team to work in earnest between now and then on the PT implementation plan. Meanwhile, if you wish to contact us, please email us at ProcessTeam@shambhala.info or send a note through the PT website; simply replying to this message will route your message elsewhere, thus delaying our receiving it.

As a final note, we would like to respond to pointed questions we have received regarding contact between the PT and the Sakyong. A few of you have asked directly whether we have contacted him, either to implore us to request that he return to teaching or to insist that we demand he step down permanently. We hear the pain in these different views – in fact, they are reflected in the PT itself. We also are part of the sangha, and are equally affected by these contradictory positions.

The answer is that we have not contacted the Sakyong except to express our condolences at the passing of his mother, Lady Konchok. We also have neither the authority nor the desire to choose the path that the community will follow (though individual PT members have made their preferences known). We do, however, see it as our role to help restore the community to wholeness. Thus, in addition to the work discussed above, we are exploring the appropriateness for our situation of restorative justice processes.

We continue to read your feedback with interest. Thank you for the many supportive messages, as well as notes of concern about our work, the slow pace of change, and the uncertainty of our future. We share these concerns, and we are working as hard as we can to help bring about meaningful and positive transformation as quickly as possible in our community.

With love and appreciation,

The Shambhala Process Team

 

Process Team letter to the community (3 June 2019)

Dear Shambhala Community,

Our work on the Process Team (PT) has proceeded much like the initial phases of a rollercoaster ride. We were facing a very high peak that seemed at times insurmountable and a little scary, but we have continued climbing. Now, as the momentum of our work is beginning to take on a life of its own and propel us forward, we are excited to see what will come in the twists and turns ahead!

Here are a few highlights of our efforts in the month of May (you can find full PT updates on our website):

    • The Code of Ethics subgroup is working toward developing a means to invite community input on how to support a healthy, trusting, safe, and vibrant society. They have proposed to the PT Steering Committee and the Interim Board that the Code of Ethics document forwarded by An Olive Branch be divided into two areas:
      1. A Code of Ethics stating the values and conduct of good civil relationships, and
      2. A Grievance Procedure detailing a process for holding people accountable for misconduct

More information to come.

    • The Dialogic Methods subgroup has completed work on a basic set of guidelines for conducting community dialogues (such as around the Code of Ethics), and will be posting them to the website by June.
    • The Process Design subgroup is nearing approval and adoption of methods for engaging in difficult conversations, a timeline/map of our shared transformational journey, and a project design for information gathering and synthesis for use by the PT and the Shambhala community. We expect to share these resources through the PT website and other means in June.
    • The Survey Working Group has been assisting the Interim Board with troubleshooting the conceptual and technical issues involved in conducting a membership survey. Many issues have been identified, and they anticipate that a brief multilingual survey will be distributed very soon.
    • The Finance and Legal subgroup is currently in the information-gathering stage, and is focused on four areas:
      1. Historical development of Shambhala legal and financial arrangements,
      2. Revenue generation (fund-raising and product marketing),
      3. Accounting systems and controls, and
      4. Legal status and configuration of Shambhala entities
    • The Communications and Technology Working Group continues to post information on the PT website regarding our work, and are progressively adding new items of potential interest and benefit to the community. This month, we have added a Community Experiences feature to share experiments and experiences from Shambhala Centers and Groups that may provide inspiration or ideas to the rest of us.
    • And a reminder: The Healing, Learning, and Protection Working Group continues to invite your concerns, experiences, or suggestions at HealingandProtection@gmail.com.

You can find updates for all working groups, as well as review past updates anytime, on the PT website: https://shambhala-process-team.org/category/wg-updates/.

We will soon be in a position to implement the processes we have worked so hard to adapt to the rather unique situation of the Shambhala sangha. We look forward with great anticipation as the results of these efforts begin to materialize.

As always, we appreciate your messages and continue to read and process your email communications (ProcessTeam@shambhala.info), even though we may not be able to respond to all individual messages.

With best regards,

The Shambhala Process Team

Process Team letter to the community (1 May 2019)

Dear Shambhala Community,

We are writing to share with you an update on the work we have undertaken as the Process Team (PT) in the month of April.

We are in the midst of a very vibrant development phase, with several initiatives shaped by the creative and diverse energies, opinions, and experiences of our team. All PT Working Groups (WGs) are now meeting regularly and working together to both develop relationships within their groups and establish and then make progress toward achieving their work goals.

You can find complete updates for all working groups on the PT website: https://shambhala-process-team.org/category/wg-updates/

Here are some highlights:

    • The Healing and Protection team is continuing to respond to messages and would like to offer help in any way they can. Please contact them if you would like to share your concerns, what you are experiencing, or what you feel would be helpful at the HealingandProtection@gmail.com email.
    • The recently-established Survey WG hopes to be ready in May to facilitate the Interim Board sending the first online survey to the community.
    • The Communications and Technology WG is coordinating with other PT WGs to develop Vision and Mission statements for the PT. They have also added a page on the website for acronyms like those in this update: https://shambhala-process-team.org/acronyms/
    • The Culture Change WG is processing a range of views within the team regarding the intersectionality of personal, social, and Shambhala cultures and what might need to change to eliminate harm and exclusion in the community
    • The Charter subgroup is taking on the task of drafting a charter for the PT that will contain statements of our values, vision and goals, as well as operational guidelines for how we can best work together. They have the aspiration that the Process Team charter can eventually serve as a helpful model for Shambhala as a whole.

All other WGs updates are available on our website.

Meanwhile, individual members of the PT are continuing to get to know each other not only through the working groups but also by practicing and contemplating together. In this spirit, we will hold our first All-PT Zoom meeting this week, in order to help inform and balance the “work” with deepening our understanding of and connection with each other.

We are all working hard – on the PT, in our local communities, and in our own jobs and personal lives. We appreciate your many messages of support and we continue to read and process your email communications (ProcessTeam@shambhala.info), even though we may not be able to respond personally to all messages received.

We are inspired by your continued engagement with the Shambhala community, and eager to begin making direct contact with you. We will get there.

With great respect,

The Shambhala Process Team

Process Team letter to the community (4 April 2019)

Dear Shambhala Community,

The Process Team (PT) continues to work toward establishing the foundations and mechanisms to help the community navigate these difficult times. We are writing today with an update on what we have been doing. We recognize that until now, the PT may have seemed quiet from the outside; please know that inside, there has been a flurry of activity.

First, we have developed a website so that we may share our vision, our inspiration, our work, and our progress in an easily accessible format: https://shambhala-process-team.org/. We have included a translate button for those whose native language is not English, and though this is not a perfect solution, we hope it will make the site mostly accessible to all. The website alone, of course, will not be enough to fully address the needs of the community, nor will it be the only way by which the PT will communicate; nonetheless, we hope that it will be a helpful and accessible resource for the sangha.

Second, the members of the PT have formed several working groups(WGs) and are proceeding to develop processes and proposals to help our community face the challenges of our current situation. All WGs have met, a few of them more than once. Many have around 10-15 members, while one has more than 50. Many PT members serve on more than one WG. We meet mostly via Zoom, and members log in from time zones around the world.

Our goal is to share regular updates from each WG on the website (https://shambhala-process-team.org/category/wg-updates/);

[Updates that were sent with the letter appear here: https://shambhala-process-team.org/march-2019-working-group-updates/

Third, we now have a general PT email address for those who would like to reach out to the full PT directly: ProcessTeam@shambhala.info. We do read all messages and will forward them to the relevant working group(s) where appropriate, though we may not be able to respond personally to all messages received.

Fourth, we would like to acknowledge the release of the final report from An Olive Branch. Though we have not yet had a chance to process its contents as a group, we will be reading, digesting, and incorporating this into our work moving forward.

Finally, we would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your patience and generosity as we work with the uncertainty and complexity of the tasks before us.

In the vision of enlightened society,

The Shambhala Process Team

Process Team Introduction to the Community (6 March, 2019)

Dear Shambhala Community,

We are writing to introduce ourselves and to say a little about what we have been doing since Shambhala Day when we first convened as the Process Team Steering Committee.

In that short time, so much has happened in our community. In the midst of our own heartbreak, disappointment, and personal processing, we have been working steadily to establish solid foundations for our work: as a Steering Committee (SC), with the full Process Team (PT) and with the community as a whole. Many different and conflicting viewpoints are being expressed about what now needs to happen to transform our social relations, cultural practices, and structures to be in line with our Shambhala-Buddhist values. We don’t have the answers, nor is it our role to have them. Rather, we are here to help develop sane and supportive processes for collectively exploring needed changes.

To this end, we have created a number of working groups reflecting input from the Shambhala Community (collected and passed on by the Transition Task Force) and in discussions with the wider PT. We are committed to making our work as transparent as possible and to being in regular contact with the Shambhala community. We will soon send out a link for a website where we will post notes from Steering Committee meetings, important links and documents, and answers to frequently asked questions. We are also exploring better ways of opening lines of communication – by email and other means – and will be back in touch with details within the coming weeks.

We very much look forward to working with the PT and our community as a whole. We remain inspired and deeply committed to our journey together.

In the vision of enlightened society,

The Process Team Steering Committee

Jim Fladmark
LaDawn Haglund
Dian Marie Hosking
Paul Kelway
David Marshall
Deborah Marshall
Frederick Meyer
Lisa Piemont
Martin Ramstedt
Jose Tomas Ruano
Susan Skjei