Okay, welcome, everyone. I'm Edwin Rutsch, Director of the Center for building a culture of empathy. And this is our empathy circle for visioning, what to do, how to create a retreat center at the 1964 canvas. Last Canalis, wrote the retreat center, which was formerly St. Mary's, and that's here in Santa Barbara. And we're doing a process for the visioning to just use the empathy circle practice, which is a practice that supports mutual listening and dialogue. And just mutual understanding, and is directly a center for building a culture of empathy. It's the best sort of gateway practice I know of for fostering empathy. And so we're gonna do is just get started with introductions everyone, just introduce yourself, your name, your location, and kind of why you're interested in this taking part in this. And as mentioned, I'm Edwin Rutsch, the director of the Center for building a culture of empathy and been working for about 15 years on how do we raise the level of empathy in society. And my brother Charles purchased this place for the space, formerly St. Mary's seminary. And so it asked me to maybe manage it. And so kind of looking at the possibilities. They're here, where I'm actually in the space right now. So, Charles, do you want to introduce yourself?
I'm Charles wrench. I bought the property at auction. I have a wife and four children. We live in Carmichael, California, right next to Sacramento.
That's about it. Yeah. And Todd?
Sure. I'm Todd Lowenstein. Live in the area live on Mount Calvary road. You just referenced that across from your property, and was very interested in to finding out what was the ultimate plan for the property. And when I, my wife and I heard that you guys were doing some interesting things and outreach to the community and thinking through a lot of interesting issues, definitely piqued our interest. Been for gosh, 10, not 12 years. Have a history here with the school here in the 80s. My wife there. So we've we've been back and forth and ultimately landed here. But it's a great community, I think you'll find a lot of great resources and people interested in cross pollinate a lot of interest in, you know, lifting people up and you know, solving problems. So that hope that helps.
Yeah, thanks. Thanks for joining us, Christian.
Hello, my name is Christian Cardenas, I'm a student to be first time father, canola staff member I do the yard maintenance here and caretaker here with my family. We've been doing that for my dad has for 20 plus years. I've been doing that for 10 years, the previous owner asked us to be the caretakers here, watch it. 24/7 Clean it up. Do that. So that's basically what we're doing here. And I've lived in Santa Barbara, half of my life, half of my life in Ventura. But I'm here mostly all the time. So I have a good outreach where I save and Sir in Santa Barbara communities.
Oh, great. Thanks, Christian. And so we're going to use the empathy circle practice. And in this process, there's a speaker who will talk on the topic of what are your what's your vision for the retreat center here at the property. And, and you can also talk about anything that's up for you anything on your mind, so don't hasn't have to be just on that topic. Because just whatever you feel energized to speak about. So you got free speech, say anything you want, ask any questions, you know, be as pointed as you want. There's no no limits on what you can say. And then what you do is you select the person you're going to speak to. And then you share an idea or so maybe it takes about you know, 45 seconds to a minute and then you pause, and then the listener reflects back their understanding of what you've said. And you check did that person understand it? If they didn't, you can say it again. Maybe in other words until you feel heard and understood to your satisfaction. So the the point is to really feel that the person you spoke to understood you, and this is basic active listening, if you've done any sort of active listening processes, this is what we're doing but it's in a group context and then Once you know, I'll keep time, we'll have about four minutes, we may raise that time limit per person. And then once you're complete, you know, I'll keep time and maybe wave a clock or something like that or say something about time, if you go over time, then it becomes at that point. Or if you have, if you've run out of things to say, just say I feel fully heard. And that means that the listener will then become the speaker and you select someone to speak to and do the same process, because we'll go around for what kind of get a sense of how long ago, maybe an hour or so with this process, and then we'll just kind of open it up for just general discussion, without reflections. So with that, who would like to be the first speaker and I'm glad to be the first listener just to sort of model the process. And sorry, I feel a little tired to guess they were moving furniture for hours. And it's like, My whole body aches from all that forniture thing. So I feel a little a little tired, but just give you that heads up. That's a football you're breaking up a little bit. So we have maybe low bandwidth here. So I may turn our my video off sometimes. So Todd, you want to be the first speaker you were starting to speak? I didn't hear what you're saying. So don't say that again.
Oh, I was just saying moving furniture is a full body workout. Don't underestimate that. That's sort of just being a failed attempt at humor there.
Okay, so you're saying that it's a full bodied workout? And you're just kind of trying to make a bit of a joke? Yeah.
moving furniture it is it's not to be underestimated.
Yeah, go ahead. And whatever's on your mind, I'm listening.
Oh, yeah, I guess we'll go right into my interest level, you know, from doing a little reading on you and discuss with my wife, she is in circles to just I was very interested in in a platform or format, to, you know, just sort of expand, you know, mindfulness around just solving societal problems, community problems, even personal problems. I feel like, you know, I think a lot of us have become more isolated over time because of technology, because of a whole host of reasons. And I feel like getting reconnected with people, especially people in your community to help solve problems is very, very important. Oftentimes, we look for authority to solve problems or hire experts. But in reality, I think we have it within us in our community to band together to help achieve those things. So to the extent that can happen, we can get over some of those stumbling blocks, whatever the issue is, it could be things like, you know, crime right now is at the peak levels here in the city. It could be better understanding and be able to listen to people and solve, bridge the political divide.
there and get a just to reflect, so I'm hearing that you really want to bring people together, seeing the possibility of bringing people together to connect and to start solving some of the social problems together without waiting for an authority figure to take the role that you see me have some excitement or interest in coming together to bridge like political divides. The crime divide issues around crime. So how do we kind of work together? To to have constructive? Yeah, process direction?
That's right. Yeah, I would say that's exactly right. And so you know, just empower us to solve problems and not look to experts and authority to get that done. So I'm very interested in that, to the extent anything can empower that it sounds like this sort of format could do that. So I'm very interested in curious about it.
So you're very interested and curious about this process, this empathic listening process, and maybe that can help with bridging those personal divides?
Yeah, I think it begins with listening. I think listening is the first the first step in the process. So to hear one of the here to truly hear what the issue is, and bring people together. I've used other formats. It's interesting just to compare, I've hosted what's known as Jeffersonian dinners. I don't know if you're sure you've heard of those, but it's very similar to the approach you use for one person speaks, everybody listens, and you can't talk that can't be compete talking. You have to actually listen. And the idea is you build something together, you reveal things. You reduce your blind spots, you have better understanding by having that patience and that listening skill because that's, that's a muscle that's atrophied, I think in society writ large over time, and we need to rebuild that muscle and that's a great format to it's an interesting format and there sounds very similar you're doing
so you've seen other dialogue listening format. You see the core is listening. And this Jeffersonian approach you found was very helpful.
Yeah, and we use it as a platform for political issues. So we use it I brought up a group of people, it could be 10 to 16 people, we would talk about things like homelessness, we would talk about things like how to solve the homelessness problem, climate change, just all sorts of controversial topics, but getting people from all across the political divide together, to hear the issues as they see it to, to peel back the onion, so to speak, on what the root sort of core issue is. And then trying to frame a way to go about solving the problem or doing outreach. And then I think it promotes better understanding of each other. And you hear people actually have conversations, which is much needed, I think,
you're just saying the importance of conversations, people listening to each other. And you've done these groups before, too. And it sounds like you found them just very helpful. And so you're kind of looking for more practices like this.
I've done just my own personal experience. I've done some things. I've moderated a political debate here in Santa Barbara, before for county supervisor. So I've done things where we try to bring candidates together and have a real conversation. It's not about just them, one versus the other. It's about let's get together and solve the community's problem. What is your view on this? What is your view? And can you somehow handicap things and find common ground? I find, in my personal experience, I feel like most people there's there's this antagonists sort of mentality, there's this protagonists antagonists, instead, you find out actually both sides are actually trying to solve the problem was approaching it very differently. And because things are different people get opposed to it. And they should, most people have actually genuine good interest in solving problems, just maybe a different way of going about doing it. So I think once you can bridge that, you actually can get to the other side of things and the promised land of fixing, fixing all the problems around us.
Yeah, so it's really if people kind of start can hear each other, they can work together and start fixing those problems. And the differences aren't as big as we might think they are.
And they're magnified by your I think you've nailed it on the head right there. And they're magnified by other factors, a lot of things. One of things I've done too, I taught at UCSB, I taught as an adjunct professor, of course, on behavioral finance, which is really about cognitive biases we have and we bring all these cognitive biases into these conversations. And these are about, you know, unforced errors we make and how we undermine ourselves oftentimes in our decision making. So you know, to the extent we can be, be more self aware, have more empathy, that's going to help you to again, bring people together, and we felt the societal fabric tighter together, right now, it's too loose, it's frayed, we need to do a better job of fixing that.
So you're a saying, I think maybe it's a bit more self aware, maybe less judgmental, or be aware of our judgments. And you taught these kinds of skills at the university. So you're got this, you have a background with that. And that was a four minutes. So
just to add one more thing around,
back around, we're gonna have multiple rounds. So I just want to keep us on time. And I, and I see we just have someone join us.
Let's let me get on mute. I am anuman.
If you just want to quickly just your name, your location, and then we're going to I'm going to be speaking and then you can sort of watch the process and you'll see how it works. Do you want to just introduce my name?
Certainly, my name is Dominique corral. I own property in Los Pinos or off of Los Pinos. I have had it for Well, I grew up there. I currently am residing in Utah, but I go back and forth. So between Santa Barbara and Utah, and I have used St. Mary's seminary, I'm not sure what you're going to be calling it a lot in the past. As a child, they would let us use the gymnasium, use the tennis court or the half court and bounce against the wall. And people have used the trails on the I can't remember how many acres it is 65 acres or something like that, or 75 acres. It's a beautiful piece of land. Welcome. And yeah, I
will thank you. So well, we're gonna I'm gonna be speaking to Christian next. And then we take turns who we speak to and you can observe and we're using an empathy circle process. So I'll speak to a Christian and I'm just starting the timer doing four minute turns. And yeah, I'll just say that I'm really grateful. Todd is here and just his his background was it it just so resonates with what our center our empathy center is about? It's it's really about bringing people together, just hearing each other and everybody is welcome to You share.
So what I'm hearing is that you're grateful that Todd has a background in this sort of thing, talking and bringing people together and you're excited for the, the opportunity we have right now to talk.
And we do political work, I've gone out to political rallies, we have something called the empathy tent that we have. I live near Berkeley, California, which is very liberal space we have when Trump was elected, we had a political right to come to the parks there and demonstrate for free speech, we had counter demonstrations with an Tifa had knockdown, drag out fights, so in physical fights between the sides, and in our empathy tent, we offered listening to both sides. And we did empathy circles, like this, it the tent between the sides.
Go, you did political meetings at UC Berkeley and brought two sides together just by talking and being open with one another about your problems and trying to come up with solutions.
And its way out. There's also a documentary called Trump phobia, what both sides fear, we were down in LA did the same thing at the rallies, political rallies there. And we had the political left and political right. In the circles. At the end of the discussions at the start. It was actually on the lawn of the city hall where we were holding these views, there was rallies, you know, around there. And we actually had the participants giving each other hugs, after the empathy circle that we would do. And on the other side of the street, they're screaming and yelling at each other. Yeah. Right to beat each other up.
Right, right. So I kind of broke up a little bit, what I got is that you were holding meetings, and there was people on one side, hugging each other and the other side fighting. And that's I'm sorry, but that's all I heard. Yeah, I
was, I might turn my camera off periodically, just for a bandwidth issue, if it works. Okay. So it's the same thing, this what we're what we're trying to do here, hopefully, we can do here at the Canalis center is support the community, you know, we're trying to have empathy, mutual empathy be a primary social value. Well, I mean, empathy, I mean, the, you know, deeper listening, it's really about everybody listening, having free speech, but also listening to each other.
Right, so what you're trying to do here at the retreat, and the community is just to have everybody have empathy for each other and listen to each other and have a place to talk and communicate and get together and solve problems. And they
can have multiple spaces like we have you have city council meetings, and maybe one person speaking and they get a little chance to speak. But can you have the committee listening to each other in small groups and sort of practicing and learning these listening skills? Or? Or can there be like a school board, where instead of sort of, you know, yelling at each other, which is, you know, currently, there's a lot of that going on, is bringing the sides together in small groups, where they can listen to each other and learn and deepen those listening skills.
Right? So so what I got is that maybe what you're trying to say, is bringing townhall meetings, school meetings to the pier in the property to have a way to communicate in an empathetic way, like how you do.
Yeah, I feel fully heard.
Cool. Okay, so it's my turn. Right, right. I will pick Dominique.
I spoke already, but yeah.
It's like he was do you want to just speak to Charles so he can model it? You said Dominic has seen it. Yeah. Okay. Then Charles will speak to you just just so you can model see it? How right doing it. So go ahead.
Okay. Okay. So, when I heard that the property was being bought, it made me nervous because I didn't know what was going to happen. But meeting both of you. It's like a, I feel that you guys are good people and and have a good sense of community and stuff and really want to help. And making this back into a retreat center is really like, it's cool because I've worked here for 15 plus years almost. And being here as a little kid. Everybody. Retreat Center. Old folks, kids, you've married A couple of singles would just come here. And, and I heard that you were trying to do that, again, Phil, that made me really happy.
So what I hear you saying is that when you heard it was being sold, it made you nervous, because you didn't know who the buyer was or what their intentions were, when you met us, and kind of put some of those fears at ease. And you are glad we are goal is to turn it into a retreat center. Because you've been here for at least 10 years, when you were a boy, they were holding retreats here. And you know, doing things in the gym, and so forth. And so, kind of bringing back those days, and you're glad to see them.
Yes. And the gym was a big part. But honestly, I do feel that it could be used in a better sense. I'm not sure if you plan on keeping it. But maybe if you were to add some bleachers there, we could throw some events, like some some kid cheerleader events or competitions, hold events there, you know, I think that would be a good idea of the space, because right now it's a big space, but it's wasted space. When there was kids there, it was just using one side of the basketball court. And I think that would be a good idea there.
So you think it would be good to add some bleachers in basketball court so that some events could be held there?
Yeah, there's like pullout bleachers just in case you wanted to use a, you know, more of the space. And I really like the idea that Todd set out, he sits down and talks over dinner, I feel like that could be because we have the full kitchen right here. I feel like that could be a good use of have a space, have a dinner and talk things out.
So you believe that a pullout bleachers would be a good idea in your so like Todd's idea of discussions over dinner. There's a kitchen here and dining room to buy, right.
And I love the idea of having like PTO meeting theory and stuff like that just because it does get wild and those things and it would be nice to have like a mediator there to just you talk now and you listen and stuff like that. I think I think what you guys are doing is really swell. Like, it's going to be a I feel like this place will be back up and running even better than it was before.
So you believe this base might be good for PTO meetings? I'm not quite sure what that PTO meeting is.
Maybe I'll say it wrong. You mean, teacher? Yeah. Stuff like that. Yeah.
Yeah. Might be a good space for community groups to get together and talk and some of the meeting rooms. Right. Yes. So that would be a good use for Yeah.
And I feel fully heard right now. Yeah.
Okay. I'll speak to Dominic's and see that participated yet.
Oh, yeah, I have. I bet I'm, I'd love to give more opinion. Because
I hate dominate the process is Charles is going to speak to you. He's gonna share for about 45 seconds, and then he'll pause and then you reflect what you heard him say, to his satisfaction, then he'll say some more and then you reflect.
Okay, so paraphrase him. Exactly. Okay, beauty.
So, I guess I'll tell you a little story of how I came to buy it. A friend of mine mentioned it was up for sale at a online auction sites. Go ahead and reflect them.
Um, this is kind of funny how I found out about it. I knew it was for sale over the years and it was a shame that it was over for sale.
Dominic, you just want to say exactly what you heard Charles say.
Okay, okay. Charles, what I heard you say is you found out through a friend that this property was up for sale, and I believe there are no coincidences in life. So I think it's beautiful. That that happened. And
so don't make you don't want to add anything. Just say what you heard him say and then he'll say some more.
What I heard you say is you heard that the property was for sale, and I think you said it would be a good thing. fit for your goals.
Yeah, I always enjoyed three trips and youth camps when I was younger.
So did I, I would I you so you enjoyed youth camps. I look forward all school year to get away in the summertime.
Yeah, so that was kind of nostalgic for me. It's so embedded did a few times. And then I stopped bidding, but then said, you know, next bedmates reserved. So I thought, well, I'm dead one more time. And then I won the auction.
So so. So it sounds like that you were kind of in conflict. Have you had you were bidding and then you gave up? And somehow you reengaged in? Here we are. Here you are?
Yes. So it's a little overwhelming. But I've asked my brother to help me kind of manage things and other people in the community in Santa Barbara have reached. And so I feel very supported in the idea of turning it into a retreat center.
It sounds like it. You said, what I heard you say is it was a bit overwhelming. And yeah, I can't imagine and it's wonderful that people have offered their help, and their support. In Well, I guess the future will tell in what ways they will help and give you support.
Okay, I feel heard. It's your turn Dominique. You can choose who you're speaking to, and they will reflect
Okay, yeah, somehow I lost pictures here. I'm afraid if I log out, I might come back in. But Star Wars I. But I remember the Star Wars. Yeah, I didn't know when you were talking. It popped in my head. And I think it was, as somebody else said something about people from different sides getting together. And there was a quote at one point. And I'm just going to share that quote, because I love this quote is the cure to offensive speech is more speech. And having a retreat in rattlesnake Canyon will be beautiful, because Mount Calvary, burned in the Thomas fire. And there's been a void in that cat Canyon for a while.
Okay, so. So what I'm hearing is that you liked the idea that somebody said about conflict being here, and you heard a quote, and the Thomas fire burned down everything. So you love the fact that this is still here. And it's going to turn into something?
Yes. And, and I haven't I'm not in Santa Barbara right now. But I was there last week. And I saw that the gate was open for the first time in a long time. And that in and of itself, for me was I didn't walk up the road is super steep road. But it that in and of itself was a nice gesture. I don't know if it's open up today. But just having that temporary fence open is nice. And it says something about you folks. So what
I'm getting is that it really excites you and makes you happy that the gate is open. And that it finally something has been done to the place to open it up to the public again.
Yes, yes. And I'm looking forward to maybe helping, I don't know how I could help, especially in the next ensuing year. I'm a little bit overwhelmed with what I'm doing in my personal life. But you know, I'll take on anything. And it's, yeah, I just see opportunity. I just I I see positiveness in this and I, in we, we as a country, we as a world could use more empathy. And we need to listen more to each other. Listen, to understand not to critique. And so I see that as a wonderful step forward. And it's about time not with you folks. But it was about time the universe has had something happened with that property.
So you're just happy that it's open to finally people to understand each other and have a place to talk and that the universe brought it open again.
Yes. Or God, if you believe in God, all right.
Okay, if you're fully hurt, then as Christians turn less yet.
Yeah, I believe them.
what's like your listener? Yeah,
yes. So when Dominique said that the gate was open, that also brings me joy, because when I was here, I would, you know, there would be groups of people that would walk up the hill and say hi to everybody. And some senior ladies would come up and say hi to me. So it is nice to just have this place finally open and stuff being active in here and something getting done.
A Christian if I heard you, right, you know, you're obviously very excited about the reopening process and the symbolism around the gate opening because that just sort of opened new channels for connection and contacted and seeing people again, people embracing the property. And maybe because it had been dormant for some time. So that's what I
heard. Yeah, no, there is a worry of people that sleep in their cars outside of the poverty, but so far, everything has been okay. And, and I feel like once the traffic picks up, that will be less less, you know, it won't happen as much and, and yes.
Yeah. It seems like maybe there's been some issues around the property, some neglect around and not being really fully owned in use. So to the extent it gets used again, at all, you know, allow it to flourish in its in its rightful way and deal with some of the side issues that are going on that may be of a concern to yours.
Yes, yes. Yeah. And for now, I feel fully heard. Thanks.
You're welcome. Thanks for sharing.
I think it's your turn to
a speaker selector you'd like to have your listener.
Oh, okay. I'll go with,
I'll go with Christian.
I'll go Christian, will boomerang back, Christian, let's go. Yeah, I'm talking about what I was picking up. So I think you guys really check the boxes, a lot of things that I was interested in, but I just want to circle back we were talking about just had open people's mind, create better connect connections to people. And I think, yeah, just developing really good habits around listening and, you know, all those muscles that have atrophied over time, we need to sort of rebuild that awareness and the muscle memory around that. And it's a skill and you need to use it. And I think people need to engage this as a practice as a habit as a hobby, if you will, to get better. You know, this notion of like, there's the Japanese will come Kaizen this notion of continuous improvement, you know, you want to get better all the time, you want to eliminate inefficiency and errors and get better and reduce your blind spots. So I think it's gonna be a springboard for a lot of that for self improvement, better listening skills, better problem solving skills. I think a lot of people are highly opinionated. Hopefully, people can reserve judgment and listen and hear arguments. And
so what I'm getting is that you're, you're excited for the possibility of just having the open communication and, and I heard the Kaizen I forgot the quote, but the Kaizen Yes. You're just, you're very excited for the possibilities of just having people here in the community coming together and talking and solving problems. Absolutely. And continue. Sorry. Yeah.
No, no. Well, you did. I ran on too far. Thank you. Keeping me in check there. So yeah, just so again, I keep circling back to this idea. I think it's a great platform is this this there's an opportunity here to something really special here not only for the local community but even broader whether it's within the state or nationally or internationally. The extent you guys have ambitions beyond that, as a you know, retreat center, you know, I don't know, a think tank per se, but just sort of like a place where people come together to, to improve to enhance what they're doing.
Right. So you're just excited about the retreat of people coming together and enhancing their their listening skills and, and because you say it gets atrophied and stuff, so you want people to just practice listening and talking it out.
Absolutely. Thanks, Christian.
Okay, so it's my turn again.
Yep, keep going.
Okay, yeah, so I actually did get a chance to view a couple of the past empathy circles. And I did like some of the ideas that were talked about, like, I think somebody said, using the kitchen as a fruit prep teaching type area. And, you know, maybe we can have some catering events in there and stuff, the, you know, teach, but also supply the food for the guests, I guess.
So you did watch some of the previous empathy circles, and people came up with different ideas, and one of them was about the kitchen using the kitchen, you, you're liking that idea how it could be used for, I think, maybe training to or
something like that. Yeah, so. And I also just, I liked this way of doing things, because you're able to open up and talk about ideas and, and, you know, discussion and stuff, I think it's good. Coming up with stuff. And yes.
Now you appreciate this empathy circle process, we just creating a space for ideas to come up and you can have a voice with your ideas, right. Basically,
I do like, the idea of maybe I don't know, if the chat, I think the chat was gonna stay. So maybe having weddings here and stuff. And you know, if people aren't religious, they can always have it outside with a great view. And, and maybe you can also rent out the rooms for people that are staying that night, depending on if there's a retreat that day or not, you know, it can all be planned out.
So you're thinking of ideas of how the space could be used, that people if they could be, there could be weddings, and if people are not religious, it could be just outside on lawn. And we rented,
yeah, this place is so big, it has so many possibilities. And, and if it's, if it's you running your center here, I think that would be great. Because, you know, people will learn the empathy circle, while also just doing their retreat. So I think that's a great idea also.
So people could be doing retreats here. But they could be learning this empathy circle practice, those
could people come and do retreats, but you know, sometimes they just relax, don't really learn anything. I know, when it was up and running, it was a religious type of retreat. So there was like, quiet activities and, and you would read the Bible every now and then and walk around and just kind of have a little mass outside. But with this kind of retreat, I feel like with wellness and spirituality, I think I think it will do well with with what you're doing.
So with a wellness and spirituality type retreat, doing empathy, trainings, and listening trainings would work well with
that. Yes, I feel fully heard.
And I'll speak to Charles Yeah, I think yeah, so far, the community has been very open that up just open, but it's so excited about using the space for a retreat center spin, you know, totally positive reaction, which, which feels really good, just knowing that there is real support for that.
So far, the community has very been very supportive, using that as a retreat center, and everyone's been positive about it, and it makes it feel
really good. And it's also for generating ideas, like, creates a space, if people can slow down, have a place where they can just speak freely about ideas, and for those ideas to be heard. They it seems like they sort of bubble up into the space and and then can sort of grow into into actual action into fruition. Yeah, yeah.
So empathy circles are a good way for ideas to bubble up and become reality
and have a slow internet and I just turn an internet I just turned my video off for better bandwidth. I like what Todd said about continuous improvement because I do see that that listening is continuous improvement that can atrophied. So it is you know doing these empathy circles you think can be done in schools you can do it with your family, you can just do it in every environment and it's only a first step sort of gateway practice to you know, more skill building this is this is sort of the minimal viable process that I find for getting you know, listening skills started.
So you liked with Todd had to say about continuous improvement and you feel this empathy circle listening is the beginning. to a prop of skills, yeah, the process of continual improvement.
And you know, at first you asked me about running the place or managing it, and it's like, oh, yeah, I kind of work my way into it, but is that we have these dialogues with the community and everybody's so supportive, it's my sort of interest in that is or commitment is growing.
So at first, when I asked you to maybe help out and running the place, you were, well overwhelmed, but as you talk to so many people who are supportive, increases your interest and doing,
and I wouldn't invite everyone interested here to share your ideas. And if you have a project, you want to, you know, turn into fruition here in some kind of workshop, or some kind of a program or something, you know, you know, talk with us, and we can build it into something.
So you would encourage anyone who's taking part in these circles to share their ideas for how this space can be used, or any workshop ideas, or anything like that,
and take the lead on it, you know, take take lead and turn it into bring it into fruition, like, Tristan is talking about these sporting events in so you know, take that on as a project, for example.
So, for example, Christian was talking about sporting events, and he could take that on as
Exactly, yeah. So take initiative, you know, turn it into something, it's not just about us, it's like we've grown to work with with the community, and
we want to work with the community. And so if you have ideas, and
you can also, yeah, and also check how they're going to be financially viable, too. That's the other part of it. So it's like having good ideas, but also think of the viability of it.
Yes. If you have good ideas, think of the viability of it, and you can partner with us to help make it happen. Yeah,
I feel hurt. Thanks.
Okay, anybody want me to speak to them? Who wants to speak next?
You could speak to me, this is Dominique again.
Okay, Dominic. I don't really have anything else to add. So turn my turn over to you. Ah,
I just, it's by chance I even found out
about are you speaking to me? Like someone?
Oh, who am I speaking to? Um
I'm confused with the names Charles, maybe you Charles, you were speaking last? Is that correct? Yes. Okay.
You can select anyone you want. It's your choice.
Yeah, I know. But I am so bad at names. My add is catching in. Anyway, I'm, I'm just the ideas of
are you speaking to those Charles Todd Edwin or Christian?
Edwin, that's listening. Okay. Yeah, I guess whenever somebody mentioned financial viability, that that always comes into play. And, and such and somebody is mentioned weddings and sporting events to maybe get more activity in there. I believe it's I feel it's there's a lot of spirituality in there. And I'm excited, like everyone to get going. I'm curious. I'm curious how we are moving, how the plan is, if there will be actual meetings where people can attend. I'm positive that's going to happen. But I guess it moving forward. Not being in the first 10 to 15 minutes. I'm curious about spirituality. I mean, somebody mentioned I don't know if you're religious based or I guess it's a question more. And it's just it's not good or bad your answer. But when I hear empathy, I I think the Bible, I have to admit, and so help me on Okay,
so you're sort of you're trying to It's time to make sense of things. How's it going forward? Is it religious based? When you hear empathy and it sounds religious to you?
Not that I have a problem with that issue?
Yeah. But it's just,
I'm curious. I'm curious. Actually, I brought this up to my sister actually lives down there. And I asked, are they going to? Are you folks going to keep the cross? I, you don't have to answer that question. It I find it's interesting with all the fires that have been in Santa Barbara over the last, I don't know, 15 years that that property hasn't been touched. So it's almost like you have this little microcosm of a protection there. And I'm just getting esoteric there. But I'm just so excited. I guess I'm lost for words of, of you folks moving forward. And such. But anyway,
yeah, I'm hearing your loss for words about, you know, everything that that's happening. And all of us if there's sort of a magical spiritual quality here that's protected the property from fire?
Yeah, there's been three that could have the Mount Calvary burnt down. And that was, that was a tremendous loss. Those folks were very accommodating up there over the years. And, and so yeah, I yeah, I guess, getting the community involved is always difficult, as you know.
And I guess, when you do have events or whatever you plan, how do you plan on communicating via text via what then you are going to use? Or your website, maybe use your website as a communication device.
So you're sad about St. The one look, Calvary was on the burning down.
If you look up, you could see two backhoes up there. Probably could see it from this property.
As a monastery. It was a monastery. It's right about me. Actually, this is where I live. It's literally right above me. Back there. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Look across the grasping Canyon. See, it's actually been developed by somebody bought the property and is developing and building a house there actually, as we speak.
So yeah, you don't want to do cross talk, though. Just hit this face here. So yeah, so it's it's van Calgary, and it burned down your hips. And it's really close. And then you're also wondering about the religious aspect of your which you're open about That's not like you just curious. And that was the time two more minutes. So I'll speak to Todd. And, yeah, in terms of, oh, how do we communicate, that was the part I didn't reflect back. So in terms of communication with the community, we're starting with these empathy circles. So there's one every week right now for connecting with the community and which has been really great way to connect so far.
So speaking to Todd. I'm here to kind of reflect that. And I don't know if you heard it
broke up on me a little bit. I just heard something about interacting with the community and how amazing the community has been in terms of openness and awareness and acceptance of excitement around building possibilities around what this could become and how it could serve the community at large.
Yeah, I think I was breaking up because our bandwidth is low here. So in terms of religion, I'm, you know, I'm non religious. Charles is, I'd say, devout Christian.
What I heard is terms of religion, it sounds like you are non religious, and Charles is Christian, but very much open to pretty much all walks of life and really non denominated sort of fit sounds like facility open till philosophies, religions, perspectives, and that's, it seems to be the recurring common denominator, which I think will please a lot of people actually.
Yeah, and I've done interfaith dialogue. So the same process that we're doing here, we've brought interfaith groups together, doing empathic dialogue, so It's very much about any any kind of different committee, any kind of different communities to bring them together. There's, there's nobody excluded, let me just say that we don't exclude via social, political, whatever it is. It's non exclusive. Exclusive.
I'm hearing if I heard you rise that you're embracing true openness, all walks of life across religion, philosophy, views, the idea is to bring people together to get diversity of thought, diversity of opinion, diversity of perspective. And I think that gives me highly welcoming from the community.
And yeah, so I'm still muted. Let's see with that, what else? So yeah, I think I feel fully heard.
So if you want to speak here, let your selector listener. Oh,
sure. Let's see. I'll pick Charles, I guess, this time around.
I'll just build on what you said, I think, you know, I think it's very exciting to be true, open platform, you know, open, it's like open architecture, in the technology world. A lot of really interesting things can happen when you are open. So I think I'm very excited about that, as most people are. You know, I'm interested to hear you know, what the next steps forward are for you guys, and what you're looking for in terms of engagement from people who want to make an impact, you know, your timeline on things, and maybe even what your first events might be, and how those may get rolled out. So that's what's on top of mind for me right now.
Okay, so you're interested in knowing what our timeline is for getting things rolling? And our plans? What events we might be on?
Yes, absolutely. And, you know, it's, I think you're gonna have no shortage of interest in the community. This community is very, you know, collaborative and very involved. So I think that you're only limited by the size of your potential ability to handle the capacity or it seems both direct community here and larger Santa Barbara. Yeah, that's, that's really what's top of mind for me right now. So I'll just close there.
Okay, I'll choose Dominique. All right now. The sisters residence in the back of these residents was renovated by the previous owner, do you want to reflect?
So what I heard you say is the sister's area has been renovated by a previous owner?
Yes. And the dormitory and it was partially demolished inside. But that needs to be renovated. We've engaged the architect who worked on faculty and sisters residences to kind of come up with a plan for renovating the dormitories. So the process would be she's going to present us with a proposal, which should be I think, this week sometime. And some ideas and room layouts. We wanted kind of rooms with their own bathrooms because right now, they were kind of communal bathrooms with little cubby holes where the seminary seminarians gonna reflect.
So the dormitory was demolished or maybe stripped. And you you need to remodel that and you're planning on engaging the person that did the the, the, the nuns, I didn't
sister's residence, right. I guess the lands that the cooking and stuff, okay. And there was a faculty where I think the priests and educators live. Okay,
so, so, you're going to be redoing the dormitory and putting individual bathrooms with the bedrooms, rather than having it more communal like hostile or not, you know, like, European hospitals are like, and, and so you're going to engage the same person that they are that did the sisters area to do that,
right. So there was also library and classroom building that I guess it wasn't permitted for dwelling spaces, but they turned it into dwelling cubicles without permits. And so the architect is going to look into the feasibility of turning that into dwellings mean, separate rooms, but now with permitting and everything, and then secondly, sure, if that won't be possible.
So I hear permitting of the library to change it from something that was done without permit. And maybe copies or cubicles where people dwelled into permitting, to get create more, dwell more of a dwelling versus maybe a cubicle to create more, looking into the feasibility of what you can do with that space in the library to create more dwelling living dwellings. Did I hear you? Right? Right.
And you were asking me what my kind of religious views are a Christian. Kind of what you would call a Universalist, because I believe everyone will eventually be saved. So that's kind of where I'm coming from.
Okay, so I hear that you are a Universalist, Christian, and everybody can be saved.
And we'll be, we'll be saying, well, understand that better you can always talk to me, I guess later. So I feel heard. It's your turn to speak. Choose who you're going to talk to.
Okay. Man, again, I'm I'm so sorry. The gentleman with Star Wars. What is your name? Christian? Christian. Okay, I'm so sorry. I always say I'm going to remember names better. And it looks like you're in a classroom.
I'm in the library right now.
Oh, you are in the library. Okay. I was wondering if you were up there, because you pointed back around you for where Mount Calvary was. And so well, let me ask you, I mean, are you going to be living there? Or are you going to be the caretaker or I? Or, yeah, I guess any of Charles or Edwin or Christian or my guess is somebody who is going to be living there? Is that correct?
So what you're saying right now is you're wondering if I live here, who's living here right now?
Yeah. I'm just curious. Well, maybe nobody lives there right now. Because it's only been a little over a month. However, I guess I'm curious if my guess is it? Will there be a caretaker? I live in caretaker or a family that caretaker.
So you're just curious to see if there's going to be a caretaker? Yeah, yeah. If there is one now or will there be? Okay. Yeah.
And this is a question that I got. It wasn't my question. But will the neighborhood be able to use the trails? It's a lot of acreage. And I don't even know, I haven't been on the trails for like I said earlier decades. Will, Will that be something that's allowed?
So what you want to know is if the community will be able to access the trails, correct.
Yeah. The park is right across the street. And, and so I in fact, I was walking in Schofield last week and, and that's how I saw that came out to the street and that's how I noticed the gate was open. And, and such. And so yeah, I guess. I am just full of a lot of questions. I think it's beautiful that the goal is to get people talking to each other because People don't talk. And
right, so you have a lot of questions. You're, you're very excited that you saw the gate open and that you just want people to talk.
Yeah. Don't seem to talk we've become one with the cell phone. And we we, we forget about individuals, humans all around us. And it's the cell phone always.
Right. So you're the problem is a cell phone and you want people to talk. And I agree with that. We've, I've been hurt. Do you feel like you've been hurt? I think I've been Yeah, it good. Well, it's good that you chose me because, oh, I have to get when I'm listening. So it's good that she chose me because I'm actually the caretaker array right now. My family from the previous owner was asked a little over a year ago, if we can live there. So we've been living here for about a year. My parents have I helped them out. You know, usually I come here every other day to help them out. But that's what we've been doing. That's why sometimes you see the gate open. And so right now we're the caretakers. So you're just
clarifying that you're the caretakers, and you and your family have been here for caretaking for about a year.
Yes. And we also do the landscaping and fire prevention here. So if you ever see us take down the grass on the side of the hills, that's probably us. And about the trails. We asked about the trails and the previous owners that not the like upkeep them, so they're probably not really well built to walk right now. But if that's something that needs to be done, we can trim it down.
The previous owners said they didn't want the trails to be kept up. And but if that was kind of requested that could be done.
Yeah. And I guess that's all I can answer. So I feel fully heard. Yeah.
Okay, thanks. Then now speak to Todd. In terms of the trails, I didn't really know about sort of general walking trails here. I know, there's rattlesnake Canyon trails, or most people go. So not that familiar with Charles and I did do some little trails here. They're very overgrown.
Okay, if I heard you correctly, you're still making an assessment of the trail situation, there definitely are trails on rattlesnake Canyon, there may be some trails that are of use on the property itself, probably overgrown at the moment unusable. So you've taken a look at that to see the viability of that it sounds like
yeah, and in terms of the space, there's, I think about four, turn my video off because the bandwidth issue here. In terms of the space, there's about 14 rooms, bedrooms, usable bedrooms at the moment that are usable, that need furnishings, so that's something that needs to be sort of built out. And then there's multiple meeting rooms to they could be used, you know, pretty quickly.
Okay, I'm hearing you, right. There's capacity about 14 At the moment, need refurbishing, you also have numerous meeting rooms that could be used and you're reassessing usage of all of that, whether it should be expanded or refurbished. You know how to put everything to its highest and best use it sounds like,
exactly, and then the dormitories that seven, eight months, at least, you know, for working renovating that, things always take longer. So there's that. And under the chapel is a big meeting space that's been used for storage, all kinds of furniture and things are stored under there. So it wouldn't take too much to fix that up.
Sounds like there's you know, still taking a look at the dormitory and the capacity there. Interestingly, the chapels got some room meeting room underneath it currently used as storage and obviously it could be renovated or used in a different manner going forward.
extensively. Yeah, exactly. So what we're doing right now yesterday, Charles and I and Jose Christians father were moving furniture out of they're starting to sort it, seeing about getting a dumpster to get rid of, you know, most of it to make it then be able to paint the cleanup The area under sort of a multipurpose room meeting rooms under the chapel.
So it sounds like you're in the process of, again, moving out a lot of the stuff that was in there for storage and seeing sort of what's there and how it's going to be put to higher and better use. Again, just sort of cleaning out unused areas space and figuring out the blueprint going forward.
And as soon as this call is over, we're gonna go over there and move bar furniture. You know, this and Mark cleaning, Charles and Kristen, I will find go over there with Jose B. But it's not as hard as I thought it was, I think it's all very doable.
Sounds like it's not, it's all, it's all surmountable, and it just takes some effort. And maybe not difficulty was thought and processes moving along. And, you know, we'll get a better assessment of things going forward, pretty soon getting making,
and our divine the furniture and to stuff to be thrown out into something that could be given away or sold, or, you know, if anybody's interested in furniture, you know, come check with us, come up, there's a bit and, and then also, there's, there's a lot of old electronics, so I was looking for a recycling center, if there's a electronic waste center in order to get rid of that a lot of old TVs and monitors and stuff. So if you know anything about a recycling center, you know, for electronic waste love to know about that.
Sounds like what you discovered in terms of content there, again, category of furniture that you're thinking about either donated to charity, or selling or repurposing, and then seeking out some direction on electronic waste for some older electronic equipment, how to best recycle that and dispose of it. So
we're doing a lot of the nuts and bolts stuff right now just to really just clear everything out. So everything's, you know, it's kind of stripped down to the bare bare bones. So it can be painted or new carpeting in some of the areas and and it wouldn't take too long as someone has ideas for workshops, even maybe some kind of a community event in the cafeteria, you know, to bring the community and for you doing in person empathy circles, and then overall discussions, that would be a possibility to
it's great, it sounds like you're already have some ideas about maybe an opening events to the to the to the community and bringing people in to introduce them to the empathy circle. And sort of showing them what this place can be a vision of around, you know, what it was what it is now and what it could be, and it's going to take a group effort. So I think that's a great launching pad.
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I feel fully heard.
So you want to select the listener? Maybe we'll just do one, if you want to dispute? For Yeah, let's open it up for just general discussion, then. So without reflection can about an hour. So that's a good amount of time for that. So any kind of direct questions, comments, just let it fly?
Do you think it's a good idea? I think it's a great idea that after we do a couple of these zoom, empathy circles if we do a couple in the cafeteria area in person, because there is nothing like, you know, meeting in person and talking in person.
I agree with that. I think it's an excellent idea.
And just getting together and introducing people in real time, right? Just having some level of interaction around brainstorming or to the extent you want idea generation,
and then there's no bandwidth problem in person. Yeah.
Well, the internet, this is convenient, where he just happened to be here for about a week and then we'll be in the bay. I'll be in the Bay Area. And so the circles are really good, but I think in about another month, we'll be coming down for another week that so maybe in a month or two months to have a community meeting would be some think about you had a lot of questions, Dominique any thing directly ask Ah,
yeah, I've been thinking, I guess, yeah, since I'm going to be swinging back and forth for the next year, between a couple states. I'm, I guess my question, I don't really I'm gonna pass on some of these questions like electronic waste, because I live in a big city. And one hopes that there's electronic waste, and it looks like there's a bunch of school chairs and stuff in there. And I think you're, I guess it's not, I don't really have questions so much as it sounds, what I heard somebody say it's, there's going to be some refurbishment in the next seven, eight months. So do you have a date? Or do you have a date that? Are you going to incrementally do things and not really have a grand opening, just incrementally open and do things? Because it sounds like there's going to be ongoing remodeling, and things going on for the next eight months? And which could stretch to maybe a year? Do you have kind of a timeline?
Well, there are these rooms that have already been renovated, we just need to get some furniture and get them ready, then we could do some small scale events, you know, just smaller.
Yeah, so in terms of a grand opening, maybe it's a sort of an iterative, you know, slowly doing little workshops or events, and then maybe once the renovations are done, have some sort of a grand opening event or something like that. So you know, kind of ease into it. But it is, we're starting to still discussing that we have other people that we're talking with about it, you know, getting their ideas. So it's like, you know, we have the general direction where these circles, these dialogues are really helpful in order to just start generating ideas, it was great to hear Christian your ideas, you know, about the space that you've about the GM, how that could be used. So, you know, we're kind of coming in into it, you know, just just a couple months now that we've been at this. So we're really sort of starting to form the plans, connect with the community, ease into it kind of come this agreements and stuff like that between each other even.
I just was curious, I'm sure this is gonna be premature, given the stage you're in. But I'm just curious if in terms of the plumbing, not actual plumbing, but sort of Metaphorically speaking, like things around building a website and or email lists to go after targeted parties, in the community or even beyond it curious if you guys have already begun that process, or is that later terms of outreach, and maybe tapping into the nonprofit community here, which is huge, as you know, like, I don't think on a per capita basis in a Barbara's amongst the highest in the country, a lot of resources, a lot of really well connected people to tap into and leverage.
Well, in terms of a website, right, I just create a Google site Canalis center.com, just to have some place those easy to go to. And that's if you go to Kenosha, center.com there's just some photographs, and it's more about the introduction to the MPC circle there. And sort of a gateway for any community member to go check that out. So I imagined that will sort of grow into the website it's sort of the seed of it you know, we're still looking at the name maybe have some ideas of given the name is sort of open right now. Charles likes Valinor so I'm curious what you think about that and he can maybe describe what valen or what this
means. Yeah, I kind of liked the name Valinor I think it's kind of bold and strong standing it's from Tolkien. It's the Undying Lands kind of the Elvish heaven when they leave Middle Earth they go across the seat of Eleanor kind of like heaven on earth kind of idea. Like it
Yeah, me coming from the empathy set, you know, center I'm thinking oh, let's call it the empathy center to kind of make it make that be the center so you know, we're discussing during the names out other people's come up with other names if you have some ideas that thing is valid or the domain names already been taken. So you know, we'd have to be valid or something else. dots that mean something Yeah, for or a domain name. So,
valid or canoas.
Anyway, smell and are
not bad, not bad.
That's sort of a mystical sound to it, actually,
I did get the domain name Valinor Santa Barbara.
Just in case that's not bad
so you can see, we're still working on that kind of the naming the website, and then you mentioned the email list. So you're on it. It's me, right now the email list is the people who have kind of reached out and then we have for so well, you know, create a newsletter, maybe with, you know, these services, Constant Contact or MailChimp or something, start sending out a newsletter to keep people informed. I do send out an email with after we do these calls, I sent out an email that to everyone that was interested, and you'll have something where people can subscribe, unsubscribe, having done the empathy center for almost 15 years, have a big email list, you know, large face, book community, you know, but 30,000 people on that Facebook. So I have a large community and emails around the empathy circle in the empathy work, where it's sort of merging that with the center and and then right now we're holding empathy circles with Justice Santa Barbara, immediate community to hear. And I'll set up a second empathy circle series for the kind of the empathy community and the larger community in general kind of that anyone can join. But these, these Monday, circles are for, for just the Santa Barbara, more or less community, and you're welcome to attend more of them. Bring your friends, anyone you think that might be interested, has any questions or comments. So we're hoping we, I think the next one, next week is full, but then we have future ones that have space. So do invite friends.
I have a question regarding it just popped in my head because where I live, and I never knew about it, and it's not very well known. And maybe it could get maybe dirty or that's maybe the wrong word. But children, people under the age of 18 are I don't know the history of the empathy circles, but what's your perspective on engaging children or maybe being a resource? Well, I don't that's the wrong word. I do.
Okay, okay. I had missed that. basketball gym is great. I think it would be
a great gym. Yeah. Am I
still good to use right now? It's just a little dusty,
dusty, dusty out there. Yeah.
I my connections, poor here, but I didn't hear all of that. But we've done family empathy circles. So Charles and his family or our, you know, our extended, you know, family relatives, we then empathy circles. Charles has four kids, some of them have done empathy circles, too. So, we're promoting it in the schools too, as a way for students to learn listening and dialogue and relational skills. So that's that component, then there's just all kinds of activities too, that are very doable. And I think the architect for example, is on the board of some youth based Oregon or nonprofits and she thought she was going to connect with them to, you know, to see how they could perhaps use the space.
Okay, there's may come to a close then unless you have anything else want to be sure. For me, okay,
thank you very much.
So how just I've made just a final comment, how is the experience of the empathy circle and the discussion? Christian, you want to say something?
I feel like it was pretty productive, you know, spitting out ideas and listening and stuff. I feel like it's a great way to communicate.
Yeah, I think it's great. I, I, I have to admit, I wish there were more people at the meeting, but you can't make people do things. And, but I think it's great. The Zoom makes it more personal. And of course, as Christian said, to have these meetings in person would be even the compliment
I just mentioned that the empathy circles is usually four to six people. So it's the whole idea we could have had a lot more it's just it gives you a lot more time to share your ideas. So yeah, so it's this is by design as far as by design so Todd
Yeah, it was I think it's a great format thank you for hosting and you know, for the outreach I think it's a great format for just connecting with people and listening and brainstorming and.
Okay, broke up there. So I didn't hear your part Charles. But I want to thank everyone for taking part I've just I really enjoy this is a way to meet the community and just just all the insights and humanity that everyone shares I just really appreciate it especially Todd your interest in in dialogue and listening and just you're very articulate and about that. So it really feels good that there's other supporters for this sort of way of being so really appreciate that and Dominic that you're right here in the area, your all your questions, because I'm putting together a list of all the questions people have and you know, just kind of flesh those out with some written answers to have that be on the on the website. So thanks for taking part and hope to see you in future circles. You're welcome and, and let your friends and other community members know about it. And we just keep the dialogue going and start actualizing some of these ideas as well. So thanks a lot.
Thank you both. Great to meet you
all have nothing to
feel free to reach out if you need anything take care