October 2019

Below you will find updates on the work of the Process Team (PT) Working Groups (WGs). As you may note, some updates show more activity than others. This reflects the reality of the PT, where the work ebbs and flows, and the energy and availability of the WG volunteers change. As always, please feel free to contact us if you have questions or comments.

The Process Team Steering Committee (SC)

During the last two months, the Steering Committee has continued to monitor and support existing Process Team projects, including the Code of Conduct and the Shambhala community’s participation in the Presencing Institute’s u.lab online training course. We have also been ‘raising our gaze’ to reflect on the purpose, trajectory to date, and potential future activity of the PT through awareness-based deep listening and dialogues. We are now working on what we can and should aim to do before Shambhala Day 2020 (along with what we need to know in order for that to crystallize) together with consideration of what the longer-term focus and evolution of the Process Team and Steering Committee might look like after this point in time.

The Code of Conduct Task Force:

On September 20th, the Code of Conduct task force presented a ten-part draft of the Shambhala Code of Conduct to the Shambhala Board. Besides the core Code of Conduct document, the package included a child protection policy, a policy to address sexual misconduct, and an anti-discrimination policy. The Code of Conduct incorporated parameters for protecting space for all, with details on how to make and process a complaint so that people feel heard, responded to, and cared for. This policy and process would apply to everyone. Guided by a process of inclusivity, transparency and accountability, the task force aspired to construct a Code of Conduct that could renew a sense of health for our community as a whole.

The drafting of these policies and procedures included input from several sources, including teachings from Shambhala and Buddhist lineages on conduct and society, the current (2018) Shambhala Care and Conduct policy, the proposed An Olive Branch draft policy, and policies from other dharma communities. The documents reflect necessary legal requirements and are informed by human resources best practices from universities, national governments, and international organizations. The task force also benefited from thousands of comments and recommendations from the recent Care and Conduct survey that the Board sent to the Shambhala community. The initial documents were then sent to a review group, which included past and present members of the Care and Conduct Panel and several Process Team members. Their feedback was vital and resulted in several revisions which were integrated into the final draft documents before being presented to the Board.

Currently the Board is asking for clarification on several points before presenting the new Code of Conduct to the Shambhala community. The task force members have expressed a willingness to support the Board and work with the Process Team to introduce and have a community conversation around the Code of Conduct. This will still take some time, but it is moving forward.

The Theory U Planning and Implementation Team

Over the summer, the Process Team invited the Shambhala community to join us in learning about Theory U in a free online training course. We are pleased to report that an estimated 400 Shambhala practitioners worldwide are now enrolled, together with over 11,000 participants from 140+ countries! Many are practicing skills of deep listening and generative dialoguing together in “coaching circles,” as well as participating in topic- or region-focused “hubs.” These hubs – which to date include topics such as healing; centre and leader resilience; and curriculum, training, and path – can be found at the Presencing Institute website. Some PT working groups have moved their activities into hubs, and others are expected to emerge as people identify shared intentions. We are excited by the lungta this is raising, and by the ways the training is reorienting, reemphasizing, and sharpening our own community-based grounding in mindfulness, awareness, and skillful means.

It is not too late to join the free u.lab 1x training course! Enrollment is open through the end of the course on December 12th, and materials will continue to be accessible thereafter. If you do enroll and would like assistance in joining a hub with other Shambhalians, please email Nancy KapLon at NancyKapLonPT@gmail.com. Our hope is that some number participants in u.lab 1x will continue into the u.lab 2x course and begin to develop prototypes for social transformation that could be applied in Shambhala. This sense of movement is very exciting, and is balanced with our continuing sense of groundlessness as a worldwide community at this time.

The Community Building Working Group: Offerings Sub-Group

Offerings had a full meeting on October 13 to publish strategic aims. We’ve met in small groups since then on a set of projects and have a follow-up meeting on October 31. We’ve also created a hub (“Shambhala Curriculum, Training, and Path”) for u.lab participants interested in discussing our practice path using this methodology.

The Centre and Group Support Working Group

Centre and Group Support has created a hub within the Theory U u.lab course, where discussions are beginning on the topic of “Centre and Leader Resilience.” Anyone participating in the current u.lab course can join this Hub.

The Charter Working Group

Last month, the Charter Working Group reached out to all Process Team working groups to build a list of “strategic aims” for the PT. We believe that working collaboratively to develop this document will help clarify the purpose of each subgroup and help set the future direction of the Process Team as a whole. We also continue to invest the required time in developing a charter document with the goal of improving coherence amongst the PT’s varied activities and communicating these activities to the Shambhala Community.

The Survey Working Group (SWG)

The Survey Working Group is preparing a survey for late 2019 that will support the “sensing” phase of Theory U – in other words, acting as an input for making sense of our current situation in the Shambhala community. Stay tuned!

The Governance Working Group: Models Sub-Group

Over the past two months, the Government Models subgroup completed interviews with many current and former Shambhala leaders and is beginning to process the material we gained from that effort. We also submitted questions about members’ experiences of Shambhala’s governance to the Survey WG group for their upcoming member-wide survey. Beyond this, we have continued to gather writings on governance from within Shambhala and from other entities that may have useful and complementary ideas about governing structures. Finally, we have continued to reach out to the Shambhala Board to offer support, and they have welcomed our suggestions regarding the formation of a Mandala Nominating Committee, which will recruit and recommend future Board members.

The Governance Working Group: Finance and Legal Sub-Group (FLWG)

The Finance and Legal Working Group (FLWG) has been among the stakeholders asked to review a draft funding proposal relating to Shambhala Global Services. The FLWG has also been continuing to consider how best to learn from people who have held positions of financial responsibility at various levels in Shambhala.

The Healing, Learning, and Protection Working Group (HLPWG)

In our last Healing and Learning Working Group meeting, we worked to develop our group’s strategic aims. Here is what arose:

    1. To complete a proposal for sharing knowledge and recommendations for providing trauma-informed containers and trauma-trained staff at all kinds of Shambhala programs. This project will include information and recommendations for working with mental health issues that arise during programs.
    2. To develop a plan for disseminating information about Restorative Circles and providing trainings for anyone interested in learning to become a leader of this method.
    3. To continue to support the process of applying the Code of Conduct policies and procedures throughout the community and offer ourselves to the Governing Board and International Care & Conduct Panel as supports to this process.
    4. To develop, by listening to the experiences of our members and sanghas, an understanding of a community healing process that we can offer to other communities who are experiencing this type of crisis.

During the next few months, as the fall Theory U course unfolds, our group will not meet – but we plan to meet again in January. Some of the aims listed above will be worked on in smaller “task force” type groups. We will reconvene in January to take up these aims as a working group.

The HLPWG Dorje Kasung Sub-Group

The Dorje Kasung working group is preparing to open avenues for listening and connecting with our experiences of service and the Kasung Path. Please stay tuned for more information on these initiatives.