Coordinating Body Report – November 2020

June 2020 to November 2020

This report is written for all people serving on the PT, and covers the first 6 months of the Year 2 Coordinating Body’s mandate.  It is a summary of how the CB has been working with the various Aims that had been identified by the Year 2 Transition Team. It is a reflection of our collective mind as CB and PT, and of the way we have connected with the external events in the community to implement these goals. Since our first meeting on May 28, 2020, the context of the CB’s and the PT’s action has evolved in many ways.

Coordinating Body Aims – Spring 2020

  1. To empower groups within the Process Team in their work, and to facilitate the sharing of knowledge between groups.
  2. To facilitate Process Team groups in pursuing fruitful and substantive connections both with Shambhala’s leadership and empowerment structures, and with the Shambhala community as a whole.
  3. To support and facilitate the Process Team in every way possible in its purpose, which is :

To design, recommend, and facilitate processes by which the community can heal from past harm, re-envision itself, and foster a safe, inclusive, and participatory culture and governance structure ;

and its mission, which is :

To facilitate a community-wide process that engages the Sangha through dialogue while honouring the fundamental nature of basic goodness and abiding in accord with the dharma, thereby identifying a path forward for the community that nurtures healing and learning, and respects diversity, inclusion, and cultural differences.

Support and Facilitate the PT Purpose

Healing, re-envisioning, fostering a safe, inclusive, and participatory structure, and facilitating a community-wide processes
Within the PT With Other Shambhala Bodies, Leadership With the Community
Empower groups within the PT and their work and facilitate sharing knowledge Facilitate fruitful and substantive connections with leadership Facilitate fruitful and substantive connections with the community

Accomplishments and On-Going Activities

2 All-PT Meetings per Month. – A themed call

– An open call for sharing ideas

Held 2 CB meetings with Board members. Ongoing communication and growing trust between PT, Board and SGS. Launched the Community Engagement Task Force to create resources that can support widespread and on-going conversations within Shambhala on topics of importance.
Regular posting to PT website of next CB agenda and minutes from each meeting. 1 All-PT meeting with Board members and SGS and create direct connections between WG and Board members. Began offering open zoom opportunities for Centres and Groups
Identified active and inactive members and working groups Sharing of information about Board connections with CCSG, DM/DA, GMS, CEI Supporting communication of the SoS survey to the community
Started PT internal discussion on membership policies/standards
Drafting of guidelines for recruiting and orienting new members
Participatory process to fill vacant role on CB
Supporting Healing, Learning & Protection exploration of “forgiveness & reconciliation” activities

Remaining Challenges

Keeping WGs informed about each others’ activities – countering silos Routine mechanism for connections with Board and SGS Build CE capacity so the infrastructure can be used for multiple consultative purposes
More regular review, renewal, creation and dissolving of WGs. Gather and communicate developments in Path, Teachings and Practices
Recruit needed additional PT members for specific activities

Folowing these lines, we have been able to widen our circles of communications in several directions.

Reaching Out within the PT

Improve Communication and Collaboration between Working Groups

Identify mechanisms for Working Groups to share and coordinate their activities with each other, to counter a tendency of operating in silos.

Starting June 28, 2020, the CB began hosting 2 All-PT monthly gatherings, with the first one to present  the results of the Sense of Shambhala Survey.  These Zoom conversations have created an opportunity for interaction and shaping of new initiatives (e.g. community engagement) and policies (e.g. PT membership).

However, some of the Working groups continue to experience a sense of isolation, and there is more to be done in working with our tendency to operate in silos.

For now, the CB proposes to continue with the All-PT calls, while adding a “Working Groups Update” section to the beginning of the Open Conversation monthly All-PT Calls.  Each Working Group will have up to 5 minutes on these calls to share about their current activity.

Review, Renew, Create and Dissolve Working Groups

PT activity is currently concentrated mainly in the Governance Model Subgroup, the Data Gathering & Management Support Team (publication of the Sense of Shambhala Survey, results of the PT survey), the Community Engagement Task Force, and the Path Teachings & Practice Working Group.

There are several topics presently in need of attention and whose corresponding Working Groups need a replenishing of people to serve on them, such as :

  • Centers and Groups : to activate direct communication between the different levels of leadership throughout the mandala.
  • Legal and Finance: to find qualified people to serve on this WG to support GMS and to offer support to the Board.
  • Care of Conduct :  Support Community Engagement (CE) conversation regarding the policies of the Code of Conduct.
  • Healing & Community :  Help sustain a CE conversation on the topic of Forgiveness, Healing & Reconciliation.

Seek New People to Serve on the PT

Renewal and continuity planning were themes that came up within the CB.

  • The first task related to this was to update the list of people serving on the PT and on which WG.
  • This effort revealed that the PT has about half of the original number of people serving on it, and that amongst the remaining members, many are not active in any WG. Further, many of the original WG are also inactive.
  • This led to a reflection on Membership & Serving on the PT (All-Pt meeting 2020.09.26), Renewal, and How to Extend our Activity beyond the PT.
  • This discussion will be at the center of our attention in the coming months

Reach Consensus within the PT on the Priorities within Shambhala

The sangha is shifting.  Who we are as a community is shifting.  Further, we are all at different stages of our personal and societal path. For most if not all of us, the idea of reaching a consensus on what are the current priorities has become unrealistic.  A path forward has emerged in the form of creating spaces that can accommodate the diversity of sangha members, provide us with ways to listen to each other, and thus creating a culture of healing, learning, and inclusion.

Reaching Out to Other Shambhala Bodies & Leadership

Dialogue with Board, Shambhala Global Service, Centres, Groups

Agree on how the PT, CB, and WG can work together, and with other leadership groups.

Since last July, the CB has met several times with the Board; first with the full Board, then with several people serving on the Board who are direct liaisons with the CB and the PT, such as Peter Nowak and Phil Cass.  The Board has shown strong interest in the development of the Process Team, and particularly in the Community Engagement Initiative.

At the same time, the CB has built stronger links with some of the people serving on SGS, such as Tara Templin, Melanie Klein, Ashley Dinges.

The Survey Working Group of the PT conducted the Sense of Shambhala Survey.  The quantitative results (the first 3 of 4 parts) were released this summer, and the qualitative results (the 4th part) will be released November 2020.  The SWG developed some customized analysis for Shambhala Global Services, to help inform them of relevant data about the community for use in decision-making.  Similarly, SWG provided this data analysis to the Board, for informing their decision-making. The Survey Working Group has evolved into the Data Gathering & Data Management Support Team, and continues to support SGS with technical assistance in data gathering.  The long range goal is to shift the administrative culture of Shambhala so it becomes natural and relatively easy to stay attuned to the interests and concerns of centers, groups and individuals.

The Code of Conduct Task Force continues to meet frequently as the Code of Conduct Support Group (CCSG) and is working closely with Tara Templin (SGS Office of Community Care and Conduct) and John Cobb (Shambhala Board). The new Code of Conduct policies have been approved by the Shambhala Board and will become effective on Shambhala Day, 2021. You can review these new policies and supporting documents on the Code of Conduct Hub (click here). Currently, the CCSG has been finalizing the procedures and guidance documents to implement the Code of Conduct structure that responds to the question: How does Shambhala respond when misconduct happens? They have also been working with the Office of Community Care and Conduct to begin recruiting Code of Conduct Facilitators and Council Members, support people, and mentors. Training will be provided for those applicants selected to support the Code of Conduct process. The Director of Community Care and Conduct will be sending out a recruitment invitation in the near future.

The Governance Models Subgroup of the Governance Working Group has developed 4 models for Shambhala Governance to support community discussions on this subject, which models it has shared with the Board in support of the Board’s own exploring of this topic and the need for renewal in governance.

The Community Engagement Task Force is supporting the Office of Community Care and Conduct in the pilot Right Use of Power class for leaders by facilitating in-depth conversations among participants in how to apply the course material to leadership challenges in Shambhala.

Practice and Teachings The PTP WG has sent letters to Lady Diana and Walker Blaine to solicit a meeting about their vision and strategy for the continuation of the teaching paths.

Reaching Out to the Community

The Community Engagement Initiative is a project of the CE Task Force which is intended to support open conversations across the Shambhala sangha on issues of importance to our community as it moves forward.  The goals are:

  1. To offer an opportunity for diverse segments of Shambhala to connect with each other in an enjoyable and inclusive way – a chance to discover/remember the space we share.
  2. To support open conversations on important topics in Shambhala in a way that increases social self-awareness and generates shared insights.
  3. To document the insights that arise in community conversations so they can become shared knowledge across the community and support actions across organizational levels (individual, group or center, mandala-wide).

This initiative will be a learning experience, with topics planned by the Task Force and also requested by other entities in Shambhala, such as the Office of Community Care, the CCSG, the Shambhala Board, and the Process Team.

The CE task force is also supporting the Healing and Learning Working Group in a pilot conversation on Forgiveness, Healing and Reconciliation.  This project is in its first phase, following an all PT Zoom call and a rich e-mail conversation. The announcement of this conversation scheduled for Nov 15th has been well received.This initiative responds to the aim: Re-center Healing and Learning and addressing trauma in our work.

The Governance Models Subgroup is presently submitting to the CE TF the Content for a Community Engagement activity on Shambhala Governance.  The CE TF will be responsible for applying the emerging CE framework to the GMS content and to deliver a CE activity on the subject of governance.

Another project in relation to connecting with the community is the establishment of regular, open video conference calls for leaders of Shambhala Centers and Groups. This initiative is shared with, and being developed in concert with SGS and the Board.

CB Evaluation

The CB is conscious of having launched community, and community engagement conversations in many directions, and that its focus for the next six months needs to sustain these efforts by providing support and assistance to these initiatives.

The CB intends to expand and replicate the Community Engagement process as much as possible to gain momentum, however we also realize that we need new people to serve on the PT and commit to propagate this effort.  We sense that this effort will also depend on having strong Working Groups for the different areas of development.

Aims for the Coming Months

  • To facilitate certain WG to have a fresh start :  Involve new people in specific activities and WG and/or expand PT activity outside of the PT itself.
  • Enlarge the CE initiative to wider and wider circles, that will include people from different levels of the leadership, and which would become largely autonomous and self-directed.

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