pico Hi, everyone. I'm Edwin Rutsch, Director of the Center for building a culture of empathy. And this is our visioning empathy circle to talk about developing a retreat center at 1964 connotes Road in Santa Barbara, I'll just give a little bit of a background about what we're doing here. My brother recently purchased just several months ago purchased this old seminary that is incentive in the hills behind Santa Barbara. And he asked me to manage it. So we're in the process of starting the whole process, yeah, of managing the space. And we're starting off with these empathy circles to meet with community members, and also for the larger empathy community just to start sort of brainstorming ideas about how to use the place how to set up an empathy based retreat center, I think we've done about 10 of these so far. And it's been really great for connecting with the community and just kind of getting the word out about this project. So with that said, we're going to be using the empathy circle practice, which I'll explain in a few minutes. But first, let's everyone just introduce yourself, your your name, your location, why you're interested in this visioning circle. And I'll just model that. I'm Edwin Rutsch. I'm in the San Francisco Bay Area. And for about the past 15 years, I've been working on creating a more empathic society with our Center for building a culture of empathy. We do all kinds of different empathy building processes and practices. And you can see the website that culture of empathy.com for more, and I'm like super jazzed about this opportunity that to create an in person physical retreat center. I mean, it's like an opportunity of a lifetime. So I'm pretty, pretty jazzed about it. So with that, Bill, do you want to introduce yourself, and why you're interested in being here today?
Sure. My name is Bill filler. I'm a retired special education teacher. I've been working with Edwin for about five going on six years right now in the empathy tent and building a culture of empathy, and the empathy trainings. And even before this purchase, I was sort of like I had this idea of trying to do something in person because of the pandemic we'd been on Zoom. And so I'm really jazzed about it. And I see my training mixed with an experience of nature. So that's one of the things I'm jazzed about. Thanks.
Thanks, Bill. Dwayne.
Hi, my name is Dwayne Hearn. I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, originally from Los Angeles, California. And I've been in I'm retired excuse me, government worker, I got involved with the empathy movement through Edwin's group through a message I received on LinkedIn and I've been involved for about a year and a half and I'm an empathy circle facilitator I've completed the training and my interest in participating these conversations is in this conversation is to you know, explore new ideas for the retreat and share some of the ideas that I have thank you
great thanks doing well. I
will Swan I've been a builder for four decades and look for sustainability and green building projects and wanting to see ideas of you know, what visions were for, you know, community gardens, there's going to be new buildings on site, are you going to be supporting you know, and having like an onsite residence for people and gas and I think you know it for the local community, but also on global community. You know, are you going to be supporting people from other countries are going to be supporting refugees, you know, all these things that are going to be impacting our world. And just seeing how, you know, I'm just this my first time here I've just basically want to listen and and learn and yeah, just exploring the possibilities
Great, thanks. Yeah, ask me questions. Everything's totally open, you know, any emotions, any questions are totally invited to be here. So, Melissa?
Hi, I am nonprofit worker in Santa Barbara. I'm the Director of Training at Aha, which is an organization that brings social emotional learning and connection and community, to teenagers and families and educators in Santa Barbara carp and Kalita. And I've been with them for about 11 years. And so my interest in this work has a lot to do with the overlap between what I've been doing and what this is really exciting to hear about, Edwin, what you've been up to with the empathy circles. And I'm really well connected in this community around those issues. And I just recently finished my master's in clinical psychology, I'm training to become a psychotherapist. And I have a lot of interest in intentional community, as an answer to a lot of the problems that the world faces right now. And it begins, of course, with empathy begins with knowing how to be together in a constructive way, and in a way that fulfills everybody's need to belong. And I, you know, we've been sort of poking around our community, you know, with Aha, thinking, we need a retreat center, we need a retreat center, we looked at a property of the past that didn't work out. And to be able to team up with others, to have a space where we can go and be with nature and be unplugged with kids and with people who care for kids, is really exciting. So to be able to be in this conversation is like, it might make the making me lose a tiny bit of sleep. And just as a human person, I feel like I have so many things that I can offer to this to this process. And I'm looking forward to hearing more.
Great, thanks, Dennis.
Well, I hardly know where to start. I lived in Santa Barbara, often on for 20 to 25 years. And I lived in a retreat center about four miles east of this retreat center. Around the year 2000. I lived at Casa de Maria for probably three years on ladera lane. So I'm very, very familiar with this terrain. And I'm I'm just sort of wander struck at a proposal that's happening on a terrain that I know so well. So I'm I'm I'm wonder struck by that. I'm a communication skills scholar and trainer and writer. And so um, my interests have a deep overlap with empathy circles.
Wow. So thing. I'm usually pretty verbal about exploring new ideas. But in this case, I'm sort of wonder struck by this, this idea is that it's almost as though that particular particular Seminary is like a flying saucer that just landed Santa Barbara, in my mind, let's like this is really enormous. And I'm trying to get my mind around it. But I certainly do. I. I do a lot of things on the web. I'm a web programmer, and manage about 50 websites. So I definitely want to be a participant in helping the retreat center. Get going by expanding web presence.
And you're in Eugene. Presently. Yes, Eugene, Oregon. Okay, thanks, Dennis. I Kathleen.
Hi, everyone. I am so happy to be here with all of you today. And Dennis, I'm your neighbor in Springfield, Oregon. And I am anticipating embarking on a nomadic life. Sometime later this year. It'll be the second time that I in my lifetime that I've gone home free and and traveling as as a major part of my life. I am a peacemaker by profession. I facilitate meeting sigh mediate, I do a lot of interpersonal communication coaching, I host a weekly podcast called co creating peace, which is about conscious communication and conflict transformation. And I have been a, I have been a witness to the genesis of multiple retreat centers, I've helped facilitate planning meetings around one retreat center, and also one plant, not planned but intentional, plant community and intentional community are so different from one another, and community in Taos, a one four for a senior citizens, which was a great experience. And that's so among the things that I hope to be able to offer in service to this retreat center are my skills. And I also do a lot of personal and professional development training, teaching people what I know. And I have been a practitioner and teacher of traditional healing arts for the majority of my adult life since my 20s. But but but my income is earned from my peacemaking work and my my healing arts are of a gift to others. And I feel like this is divine order that I have with you at this time, Edwin and all of you and with this retreat center, and I hope to be a very active part of it, I am already invested in its success, with my entire being heartened and so honored and delighted to be with you all. And I also hope that by the way, I have failed, you know, tatty, the one is fine.
Okay. See, okay, you need to leave at 1115. So we have about an hour. Thanks for that, Melissa. So we I had posted the vision statement. And a mission statement is basically the current vision and mission is to build a culture of empathy. So that's what we're working towards, with the retreat center. My brother owns the property, we're setting up a nonprofit, which will lease the property from him currently. And the nonprofit is the empathy center with the mission of creating a more empathic society. And, and along those lines, we use the empathy circle practice for our initial discussions, it's the most effective sort of first step gateway practice sort of very foundational practice for building empathy and developing an empathic way of being. So that's what we're going to be doing here. Hopefully, everyone's familiar with the process of seeing the instructions. And so we're going to start with our topic, which is what is your vision for an empathy based Retreat Center at 1964, casinos, road, Santa Barbara, and we're going to have four minute turns, there's going to be a speaker, you're going to select your listener. So you'll share an idea or two and then pause, and your listener is going to reflect back their understanding of what you said. So you still kind of recap it, you check, did they understand it correctly? If not, you can say it in other words, until you feel heard to your satisfaction, so it's really about you feeling heard and understood to your satisfaction? If they didn't understand you, you say it again to you feel heard? If they did hear you, then you just continue with your train of thought until the time is up arrow wine, would you? Are you up for doing the facilitation? Just be the first listener and you got on if you got a sign or something or if not, you weren't ready for it. So yeah, that
you don't have any signs I'm happy to facilitate.
Okay, so you'll be the first listener and whoever wants to get started, you know, just four minute turns.
Okay. And I will add as the facilitator that it's important to remember to pause in between your ideas, so that the person who's reflecting back will have an opportunity to reflect, act more accurately what you're sharing, and to reminder for the people who are the silent listeners that you're important part of the process, because you help us hold the space together. So we're ready to get started now. So I'll be the first listener and do we have a volunteer for the first speaker
in the absence of anyone else, I'll go ahead and share my thoughts. So, for a an empathy based retreat center is that it is a space where everyone feels safe, where they feel safe to be who they are, speak from their highest and wisest and truest self as well as their other selves that struggle and sometimes we are afraid to, to reveal the shadows within us. And I see this poses being
also I can reflect back effectively, of course, you're saying, Excuse me for interrupting us. So if I understand what you shared correctly, halfling one of your primary visions for this space is of space, for safety for people the space for people to be themselves to be who they are, and whatever that definition is for them. But, and I, if you could continue, I miss some things.
Yes, thank you, Dwayne. That it needs to be a place where people feel safe,
revealing their shadow self and processing through their shadows, in a place of safety and empathy, and compassion, and where they feel warmly embraced.
Okay, so in your words, a space where people can reveal their shadow space, that, that, that and they can rebuild this side of themselves, and fill in a warm space where they feel supported, and accepted.
Yes, yes. And also a place where people can learn new wisdoms and find greater empowerment and connection with one another, and with the planet. And this is a place that I envision to be a place of harmony between the planet and the people and the people and the people.
So you envision this as a space of harmony, or a space of harmony between planet and people, and people and planet, have a place where
haven't I missed part of that.
Where people are in harmony with the planet and with one another. Yes. And, and I also see this as being multigenerational, that there be a place where children can be and be celebrated and, and then participate in many of the same kinds of activities that the adults are, and that it's a place for people in in our senior years, to be as well and that the whole gamut of, of ages is embraced and welcomed and thrive while they're there. And because they're there.
And so you see this as a multi generational space, a space for children, for children to be celebrated and to feel safe and to express themselves but also a space for people like me, seniors, where that we can feel comfortable, and and there's some interaction and a place for growth and development for seniors as well.
Yes, and then lastly, I will say that I envisioned it as a place where society's most vulnerable can come and spend some time. And that might be our unhoused. Community members might be undocumented immigrants, but were they to have the opportunity to experience the center and the empathy that comes there.
You also see this as an inclusive space for our most vulnerable. Some of our most vulnerable classes of people out there. You mentioned people who are houseless. You mentioned people who are considered refugees and to provide a space and give them the opportunity to experience the empathy and the energy and healing that comes with that, but to really, ultimately be an inclusive space also for vulnerable classes of people.
Yes, thank you, Dwayne. I feel heard
Oh, thank you carefully. And now I become the next speaker. And Bill, would you like to be my listener?
Sure, join, I loved him
when I heard the news that Edwin would have an opportunity to develop this space, I immediately thought about my younger days, my childhood.
So when you heard about Edwin ino coming into his brother coming into this space, it reminded you of your experience as a child.
When I was in junior high school, I had a chance to participate in a weekend retreat for a selected group of students at my junior high school.
So when you're in junior high, you were able to participate in a weekend retreat.
And the highlight of that weekend was the moments that we shared in circles, both in larger circles, and later, smaller circles, speaking and really listening to each other.
Yeah, and you felt that the highlight of that experience was both in small and large circles, speaking and really listening to each other.
And, you know, that experience had a really profound impact in my life, and understanding the importance of listening, and really listening to someone in the opportunities that listening, created in human relationships and development.
Yeah, so what really stood out to you is that the retreat and the way it was structured, allow people to really listen to each other. And that profoundly, you know, had a profound effect on
me. And so when I thought about Edwin having this physical space, it reminded me of the work that you were doing bill with schools and the ideas of developing developing programs for working with schools.
Yeah, when you heard about this, it reminded you and thinking about your own school experience of the work that I've been doing, trying to work with empathy in schools.
And what an amazing opportunity that creates for developing programs that start with children in middle schools or high schools. And what a perfect space for doing this.
Yeah, just seems like a perfect space for, you know, supporting retreats like you attended when you're in middle school, in order to support this sort of listening and communication.
And I think it is really important as an overall part of a move of the empathy movement, that there's more opportunities created for young these ideas to be shared with young people with the, with our children, with our teenagers.
So you just think, well, not just but do you think that you know that it's very important as we tried to build a culture of empathy to really share these skills with young people?
Yeah, and so with this great opportunity, I hope more people get involved with more educators, more people connected to schools and students and learning, get more involved with your group that meets on Thursday, and that you're able to develop some programs that can take place at Edwin's new Retreat Center in Santa Barbara.
Yeah, and you're hoping that this opens up an avenue to basically get more educators involved to connect with me and you know what I'm doing and but at the all in the service of giving young people more experience in listening and being heard.
Thank you, Bill. I feel fully heard.
Dennis, are you listen to me?
So after decades of being a special education teacher, and going on a lot of these retreats, or trainings, non retreats, but trainings mostly, they're just too many times when I've been in a four or five day retreat. They lock the doors, they close the windows, there's no light, and they don't want you to be distracted and so you Have a windowless room with fluorescent lighting for four or five days.
So you remember this experience of being just kind of locked in and not part of a beautiful natural supportive environment?
Yes, exactly. And, and I've also been part of trainings where they actually Touch for Health people, which is a two day training, where they took breaks every 40 minutes. And they really kind of adapted their training towards the natural rhythmic process of human beings. And I experienced how different it was and how less much less stressful it was.
So you could you experienced in your own life, how there was a whole spectrum of ways of organizing these groups, and some of them were a lot more welcoming to really accommodating the needs of the people who showed up in the room.
Yeah, and, and I certainly liked everything I've heard so far. So, but what I'm really excited about is that I feel that the empathy circle is sort of like it's a veil that kind of pulls back our social conditioning. And when that conditioning is turned away, we don't have monsters from the yard. If Forbidden Planet, I date myself, but Monday, there's not monsters from the head, but actually, you know, angels from our heart.
So you, you can feel that there's beautiful possibilities here of living from our best self. And somebody is actually knocking on my door. So I need to take a 10 second break to decline the visit at my door. Okay.
So I can,
okay, great. Thanks.
Yeah, so. So I think that the magic of what happens is people get to, yes, they can kind of discover their own, you know, dark side, so to speak. But really, that's not what we really are. And, and so therefore, in the empathy circle, with giving a lot of freedom, we realize that we really are at heart empathic, I'll stop there.
So you find that, in the empathy circles are deepest and most beautiful possibilities of being human come to the fore.
Yeah. And I dealt again, decades with specialized in very extreme extreme, severely emotionally disturbed, like, you know, things where people did some really ugly things. And so, and I believe, so that all the bad behavior we see is that we are intrinsically empathic and we intrinsically want to collaborate. And what the bad behavior we see is that when we are subject to conditions that stress us out where that is not the case. That's when people get angry and act out.
So you've seen people at their worst, but you know that their best is in there and that empathy circles could play a role in bringing out the best that's in people.
Thanks, Dennis. I feel fully heard
now, Dennis, you become the next speaker and you can pick someone in the group who to be your listener and preferably someone who hasn't gone yet.
Ah. Well, let's see. I'll pick someone I've never met before. Kathleen, just have a new experience. Hi, Kathleen.
Will I feel moved to go so Mr. outside the boundaries of the agenda, really, for the cause of the agenda. And that
in order to be part of this group, I need to share some experiences that I've had in Santa Barbara. And I need to share a little about Casa de Maria, because the empathy center is moving into a complex emotional environment that includes the aftermath of a natural disaster. So, since around 1950, there's there has been in Santa Barbara, a beautiful retreat center called Casa de Maria, and Casa and
it positiveness. You maybe see Dwayne was holding up the pause sign just Oh, yeah,
I apologize. Yes.
Unfortunately, I'm practiced at retaining to reflect so hopefully, I will catch it. So in this moment, you feel the need to vary a little bit from the agenda that Edwin had set out for us, because prior to moving into sharing your vision for the future, you'd like to reflect a little bit on the past, and share with us a little bit of your experience of the past and, and the area that we're looking at this retreat center being and and recognizing the connection between this moment in time. And what has happened recently, with the place that this retreat center will be.
Yes, thank you. Yes. Well, the thing is, what looms so large, in my mind right now, is that this new empathy center is going to be coming into a place where people were for half a century, people have this beloved retreat center, la casa de Maria, which was destroyed by a mudslide about five or six years ago, maybe four years ago, and that the community was just utterly broken hearted by this, and the people at Casa de Maria are struggling to put the pieces back together. And the buildings of this new retreat center even look, I mean, maybe they got the same architect, I don't know, when they built these buildings. But it's the environment is so similar and because I spent so much time at Casa de Maria I'm it looms large in my mind larger perhaps than it would loom and the minds of all of you that wow, this is some sort of this is my part of ongoing dialogue, or something's going on here. And I'm trying to feel my way through it.
the community has, has felt a huge loss with with Casa de amor Maria, having been destroyed and, and the community is trying to find its way back to healing. And yet there's this big absence. And it sounds as though in a certain way, perhaps you see, this new retreat center almost as being sort of a phoenix rising out of the mud, perhaps of that has has taken Casa de Maria, or at the very least, it sounds as though it might help heal the community from the loss.
Yes, it's there's multiple strands of feeling. And I was very attached to Casa de Maria. So those feelings, I mean, I kind of represent Santa Barbara and that half century of experience. And I'm hoping that something profoundly creative will be able to that many of the people who went to Costa Rica Maria will want to become part of this new community, and that this new community, will could be a kind of refuge and encouragement for you The Casa de Maria community that still in Santa Barbara to gradually rebuild that retreat center and find their way back.
Okay, so So this new retreat center may not necessarily be a replacement for Casa de Maria, but perhaps a a place where the people who were so engaged with it in the past can have a place to be, well, they go through their recovery process and possibly the renewal of Casa de Maria, and that perhaps this retreat center can sort of help foster that
be a powerful ally, amazing ally.
Okay, yeah, excuse me, Dennis, your time is up. Okay. And you can continue your ideas on your next turn.
And now, Kathleen, it's your turn to be the speaker and to pick someone else to be your listener? And, you know, again, preferably somebody who hasn't spoken yet. Okay.
I forgot that I hadn't done that I hadn't spoken yet. How about we'll Well, would you like to my listener, okay, thank you.
I think there is something very important in this era, in terms of creating sacred spaces. And I see this new retreat center as being a sacred space, and a sacred space for people to be able to heal be able to celebrate be able to be be able to connect.
Here you or can I hear you say that you'd like to see this be a play sacred space for healing and celebrating life. And I might be short one.
And connecting and connecting with each other, and, and, and the planet. Yes. And I also see it as a place where we can have dialogue between people who are traumatized and need a place to heal between people who are more focused on their differences, then there are similarities where we can where we can bridge divides, and heal wounds.
good to have dialogue and to heal trauma and celebrate diversity
among us all. Yes. And I see
a place where there can be opportunities to heal mind, body and soul with different modalities.
I'm sorry, in this moment, right now, I'm being distracted by a deja vu moment because I know that I have already shared my thoughts because Dwayne, Dwayne was my listener. And I didn't think that we had heard from will and Melissa so in this moment, I'm I'm fragmenting in my focus because of awareness. And so I'm wondering, would it be alright if I stopped now, because we haven't yet heard from others. And I know that I did do this sharing. And I know that Melissa and so this is why
if well, you just reflect that back and when you want if you want to stop you just say I feel fully heard. So you can end at any point, and it passes on so if you just get your free just reflect that back what you heard well, yeah.
To have the opportunities as a healing center for the body, mind and soul and then all I have is about passing it on and let others share.
Yes, that's, that's fine. Thank you. I feel heard.
Hey, now will you become the next speaker and if you can pick someone to be your listener, and again, And preferably somebody that hasn't gone yet.
I would like to pick Melissa by listener. And so I just want to start by going back to my early years and where empathy came into my life, I have a sister who has cerebral palsy and severely mentally challenged.
I grew up
with a lot of touch, I had to touch her and massage her constantly and back in the day was there was a lot of prejudice on handicap we would be refused to come into places and to be celebrated for you know, who we were and not only as a family, but just for my sister alone. And who she was and
Excuse me What can I ask you to pause So listen, have an opportunity to reflect
I can just I can just go like this. Yeah. So what I heard you say was that the beginnings of you're interested in passion for empathy have roots in your having a sister with cerebral palsy? And how you cared for her was really empathic both in in touch and in oh, here comes a kid got no it's okay come in but just go we're on a zoom just go go round. So not be seen. And I think did I get Did I cover this
in my early years of construction, was when the handicap laws came into effect. And one of the first places I've worked was where my sister lived at United Cerebral Palsy center.
One of the one of the first places that you worked was that the center where your sister lived? The as a
Yeah. Okay. If
you want to say more about that. That's interesting. I think we're having an earthquake maybe right now. The Santa Barbara just the door is shaking
think we're okay,
I think we're okay.
You're okay. Yeah.
Well, that was good. That was very moving all the powers to be right here. So with that, and you know, being interested in what visions are going to be happening
I guess my strongest
things are about how the architecture and the site is going to you know, welcome people into comfortable spaces of being
so, what I'm hearing is that you have a strong interest in in how the spaces cultivate the kind of environment that we're all talking about, like the contribution of the spaces in the indoor and outdoor spaces I'm guessing
right so to welcome in the vulnerable the handicap you know?
Yeah, I'm sorry, I'm stuttering along here,
just a little rattled.
Did you have anything else you
wanted to say? Um
you know, just
you know, the connections I've had with nature and the healing aspects of being able to be grounded in nature, having a environment that you know, allows healing and I'm sorry, I keep getting lost in this but I'll be a little better next time. Okay. Yeah, stealing
aspects of nature, very important. And a part of what you would want to see in this in this space really attended to
Yes, yes. You feel heard? I feel hurt.
Now, Melissa, you become our next speaker and You can pick someone to listen to you. Okay.
Edwin, are you participating as
we all participate? I'm listening. Okay.
Well, first of all, I want to apologize for the distraction of various distractions over here.
You want to apologize for the earthquake?
Killer. Okay, so, and also 22 year old grown children walking through in their underwear directed to not be in this in this.
You've got a couple of distractions there that are here. Yes.
I, when I spoke with you, Edwin, we talked about how much we love esslyn. And to me, that's sort of the pinnacle of, of what a retreat center can be. And there's just so much about that place and space that I that I would love to see. Integrated into what's happening here. That being said, epsilon is really exclusive, and expensive.
So we talked about Aslan, most loves a place and you see that it's like the pinnacle of a retreat center, and how do you incorporate some of that energy into this center? But what maybe without the exclusivity and cost? Price?
Yes, yes. My vision is, I think now more than ever, a space for true pause. And rest is really needed by every single human person. Even children, it particularly because of their sort of digital immersion. As a culture,
you're really seeing a place for rest and rejuvenation is needed by everyone even you know, children need that to be is all the digital world that they live in.
And one of the things I really resonated with sharing around working in schools, because that's a big part of what we do at oha. And it's getting increasingly squished in terms of being able to get in there and do anything, for enough time to really have an impact. There's not enough space in the schedule. And it's not prioritized enough, at least by the schools where we work.
So the work you're doing with Aha, to bring these skills into the schools that that time is getting squished to allow that space, and I'm hearing some regret or concerned about that, maybe,
yeah, we in my training, I've been repeatedly, you know, told that, you know, the smash and grow model where you get people into a space where they have a, you know, a big growth moment, and then you plop them back into their lives, that that doesn't really work that people need to integrate. And so I understand that. And yet, I almost want to, I want to ask for return to smash and grow it because it's the only way that people can drop in enough to experience the quiet that's required for self awareness and change.
So there's a model of smash and grow where you have a very intense experience and you go out and, and you take that out with you, and you've had a deep experience. And there's sounds like there's criticism of that, but you have some, you see some benefits of it to that maybe you do need that at some level.
And I think that's where retreat centers are becoming increasingly important. And thinking about the models. This is only hearsay for me. But what I've heard is that, you know, in certain European Scandinavian countries, if you're stressed out, you get prescribed six weeks at the spa. You know, and you get your time paid off. And you go and you do and you do your your rearrest if you if that's what you need.
Yeah, sure, is the European approaches, if you're kind of getting burned out, you get six weeks of rest, and it may be kind of like to see that here. Something like
maybe just a weekend might might be a good start.
Even just a weekend would be a good to start two days versus six weeks.
Right. And I I resonate with also what people are saying about especially supporting teachers, supporting, you know, vulnerable populations who are overworked and overwhelmed. And, Bill, I got to just give you huge kudos for doing the work that you did in special ed because I know how I mean that's that's gold medal stuff. Um, You know, I work with educators. So I see how stuck in a system that is just increasingly not working, that they are, and they care so much for the kids that they that they're with, but that there's no way to express that care. And then they need, they need a place to go and be taken care of.
So the system that educators are in seems very demanding, and you just are appreciating that what educators go through, especially like Bill with what he was working with, and you see that the teachers maybe need a retreat center someplace to go to juvenile aid to
Yes. You, Alyssa, that was your time. Perfect.
I was just gonna say I feel so hurt. Thank you. I'm okay.
I'm going to actually speak back to you since I know you need to go a little early. Extra turn in. Thank you. Yeah, so yeah, I was just I had written down just because of what well was saying about permaculture I, in terms of the aesthetic, I kind of like I'm, you know, into gardening and sort of organic gardening sort of permaculture and how the space could be used for that, because right now, it's very institutional. And I think that something like that could shift it to more a lived, you know, environment living environment.
Yeah, I hear you saying that you're that you're thinking about permaculture as a as a system of design that could transform a kind of institutional feel that this space has right now.
Yes, I'm even imagining like little terracing, you know, doing some I've been looking into like terracing, the see these Italian places up on the hill, and it's all these terrorist hills. I mean, this is like a, you know, 1020 years sort of a project probably, but, you know, just to shift it and make it more. So also maybe even a research center for that type of farming or gardening, you know, organic, dry, you know, landscape gardening farming.
There imagining I'm gonna go backwards, you're a receiving a research center to investigate that sort of traditional slash terrace version of farming. And there was something before that helped me remember you said, yes,
just that it's terracing and gardening. Just bring in the gardening, basically, your project as well. Yeah. 20 year. Yeah, it's a lot of terracing. And there's a I'd interviewed someone who's a ecological architect, he was named a sim vendor. And, and he had written a book called empathic empathy designed for an empathic world, you know, so he's using design to design things like what will is talking about, right? The design creates sort of this atmosphere? And how do you create an atmosphere environment that sort of physically supports empathic connection and, and listening and safety and all those different openness?
Yeah, I'm hearing you talk about some scholarly support for designing spaces that are empathic, and some interest in going in that direction.
Yeah. And the other thing I'm thinking about is, it's one thing have envisioning, which is a lot of fun. But then there's the nuts impulse of how do you form teams? How do you get all that together? How do you do the finances? And that is, you know, kind of at that stage, and it's like, oh, this is hard. That's a lot of work, you know, the nuts and bolts of turning that vision? Yeah, into tangible processes.
Yes, I feel that you are a visionary at heart and the visioning processes may be feeling a lot more fun than the nuts and bolts part that's coming.
Yeah. So see, what else did I have? Yeah, so that's the other thing I'm looking one thing I'm thinking of is that we have regular volunteer sessions, like we do these empathy circles just to connect with the community kind of bring people in, but setting up some visioning circles that are just for people interested in volunteering to begin with, as a way of connecting with people. So we get to know who people are, what their interest is, how well they follow through on the things that they're, you know, interested in doing there and so forth. So I'm thinking that might be sort of a next step for Yeah.
So you're imagining a next step of, of circles of people. I'm going to take it a little further to see if I have understanding the subtext to start to move into that and more nuts and bolts. Yeah, we had to sort of vet people and volunteer way Haven't met each other and just connect and get to know each other in, in these kinds of circles.
Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, I feel fully heard. And that was my time. So you're up again. So select your listener. Oh,
to share again.
soon as you when you've been the listener, you again become the speaker, and you select your listener.
Okay. And that was intentional, because I have to go at 1115. Yes. Is that? Okay? Well, maybe I'll go back to to Dwayne.
Hello, I'm ready to be your listener.
Wow. Like it's talk more How exciting. Um, one of the things that I think I think about is honoring the, you know, the indigenous roots of the, of the place, that's feeling more and more important to do. In this area, I know, in every area, there's there are people to thank, who didn't give up their land on purpose. But I just want to name that as something that could be part of this process.
One of the things Melissa, that you think is really important, is honoring the, the indigenous roots of the land and the people honoring people who had to give up their property. And you think this is an important would be an important part of this retreat center as well.
Yes. I love what people are saying about inclusivity. You know, as somebody who's worked in the nonprofit world for quite a while, I'm, it was hard for me at first, because a lot of it was about begging rich people for money. And making sure that they liked what we were doing enough to keep giving us money. And that somehow, it was a hard learning curve. For me. I was in fundraising. And when I first became part of this organization, I was a great writer. And, and now it's, it's really gotten to feel like a beautiful sort of a positive Robin Hood kind of situation. And I feel like, especially in this town, where there's so much wealth that we do have, there are more possibilities for enabling people of all with all kinds of means to be part of this, and to have the space available to them.
See, if I got all that, know that you love the idea of what's been shared about in inclusivity of this space and being an inclusive space. And you reference your experience in the nonprofit world and, and in the early days, how it felt like begging rich people for money initially, but then you thought of it more of as a Robin Hood type experience where, you know, you could use these resources to create opportunities for those who didn't have access to these resources and, and the importance of this being a space. For people, I'll use the term that we use earlier, vulnerable classes of people, and other people who traditionally don't have access to spaces like this, and the tremendous amount of wealth that exists in a place like Santa Barbara, I'll go ahead mention Oprah lives in that area somewhere. And that is, having your connections having being able to access some of those resources would help facilitate the process of providing vulnerable classes of people and more inclusivity in the center.
Like wow, yeah, that was awesome. And I think I love I love the work that that you do with empathy, empathy circles, and then also the work that we do we call them connection circles, and they're a little bit different is that we actually can meet people where where they are, no matter where they are, you know, another thing about a senator like esslyn is like you have to want to go and you know, do some really deep kind of work and a lot of people are not anywhere near a space of having been exposed to that kind of work or, but this is so tangible and simple and easy. It's just about connecting with the resources that are all around you all the time in the form of other human beings. If you want to reflect that piece, I can't I think I'm going somewhere with this better.
You you like the idea of the use of empathy circles, which is similar some to to So as you work with that, you will recall connection circles, which is a little bit different. And you mentioned the idea that a place like an excellent center is something that's really exclusive and, and it's not accessible to majorities of people. And so you like the idea of having a tangibles? Well, you also share the idea that you often go out and connect with, do your work with people where they are. And so, but you also like this idea of having this tangible space, where some of these same groups that could could come and participate in and have access to things like connection circles, and empathy circles, or other processes like,
Thank you. Yes, and I don't want to finish my last turn without mentioning embodiment, as it's something that's really important to me. I've been studying somatic psychotherapy, and I'm a yoga teacher and a longtime movement, artists dancer person, and I want to just be a voice for that, in this process. Even the planning process, I think, can be embodied. And, and then also just in terms of what's offered, and what people can access there, to have that be woven in would be a beautiful thing, I think
capturing all this, you think of the importance of you want to mention embodiment. And you think that embodiment is something that can be an essential part, both in creating this space. And also during the the operation of the space. You've have, you're studying psychotherapy, you've been a yoga teacher, you've been involved in different kinds of dance and movement through you know most of your life and you think embodiment in this embodiment is an essential core part of whatever will be done with this center in the present in the future.
Every Yes, thank you, I feel heard. Thank you very much.
Thank you. Thank you, Melissa, for sharing. And now I will be the next speaker. And I think Dennis, you haven't spoken for a while we be my listener,
I'll be happy to be your listener.
Thank you. You know, one of the things I enjoy about it, but these circles is the learning process for me that takes place my own personal growth and self.
So as you participate, you have the subjective experience, that you're actually learning some new things along the way.
And the opportunity to see people differently, then what they look like, Hmm,
so you're seeing people, the empathy circle processes, causing you to experience people in new ways. So you're getting to know them from new angles.
And I think it's important, this idea of seeing people differently than what we look like and what they look like.
So beyond just superficial appearances, now you're kind of seeing with the eyes of the heart, or you're seeing more of a person's deep concerns, not just how they comb their hair or something
else. And, you know, one of the other things that empathy circle models offers is the opportunity to see what we share in common. And the opportunities that that creates for building relationships, and being able to work together on different projects, different ideas.
So as you're participating in them, but these circles, you're really experiencing this kind of opening toward deeper forms of cooperation.
Yes, and which is something that I think is going to be essential for the opening for Edwin opening up this new center, and doing it in a way that hasn't been done before.
So this big new project of opening the center is going to require a lot of empathizing and a lot of different directions in order to be successful.
Yes, and it's going to require things like for example, when Edwin mentioned the finances and the numbers, it's going to take a really skilled nonprofit board that brings a variety of different skills to bear and help hoping to run the organization.
So you can see how a project this big and wonderful is going to require some very, very skillful support team to make the finances and all the pieces fit together.
Yes. And I specifically spoke as an for a nonprofit board of directors who have the diversity of experiences. But also, it's going to take a variety of skilled volunteers to help facilitate the other, the development in the other areas of this risk center.
So in order to flourish, from where you see it, this community is going to, there's going to be concentric circles of participants, including a very skillful board, and also a kind of network of volunteer supporters, and participants who will weave all the elements together in a project this large,
yes, and in the set of a few seconds left. And so I'll speak to this more in my next term, but there's also a need. And there's always a need to be aware of language, how we use language, and the importance of using language as a tool to create what it is that we want to create in our lives in this space.
So language is one of the ways that we weave our lives together. And it's going to play a role in how we weave this project together.
Yes, thank you, Dennis. I feel fully heard.
And now, once again, you're our next speaker, and you can pick someone from the group who anyone that you want, because we've all spoken now. Well,
I'm going to pass I feel like I'm, I'm happy I feel as participating as a listener is, I feel completely involved. So I don't have anything else to say, right? This second. I'm processing everything that everybody has said, and it's good to be here.
And you just select someone, and they'll just reflect back what you said. And they just say I'm fully heard.
All right. How about you, Bill? Sure.
So you feel that you've said, you know, pretty much what you wanted to say. And but you're enjoying and feeling enriched by listening to others ideas?
Yeah, and I feel like in the process of being a listener, I'm participating in what's going on in a way that's really satisfying. And so I'm trying to stay attentive to my how much or how little I need to say, especially because I'm a big talker. So at this part of my life, I'm sort of leaning toward listening more and lecturing less or taking shorter turns. Yeah,
so you feel that your experience is that you can be a big talker. And you really are trying to hone or really focus on the listening aspect and talking less, and you enjoy listening to what's being said here. Yes, thank
you. I feel fully heard.
My pleasure, Dennis. Okay. Got a Kathleen.
Thank you. Sure.
I am ready to listen to you there.
Yeah. Well, I want to thank you, Melissa, for her acknowledgement. A lot of people don't. Don't ever see that. The work that we did. And so I understand about the the time commitments, and so I, so I've developed several strategies in order to deal with that. And so the idea, I'm sorry, go ahead.
Thank you for noticing. So you wanted to acknowledge and express gratitude for to Melissa because she recognized your experience as a special ed teacher. are and that you recognize that that has that people don't always see that or acknowledge that to you. And so that that was significant for you. It sounded like, and I'm sorry, I retained I did not retain your last sentence. Would you say it again? For me, please, Bill? Yeah.
Well, so what I've been able to do is develop several strategies in order to address the time crunch that teachers and educators have.
Okay. All right. So from, from your experience, now, you see some approaches that you've developed that could could help teachers, and with the time challenges that they often have, that I get,
yeah, and broken down, what that means is that you have to establish motivation, which for the students, which was, which number one would be by them being heard. I'll stop there.
All right. So one of the factors that you see very important to give attention to is the motivation. And part of motivation is part of what inspires motivation is when we feel heard by others,
right. So that would then create the desire in the students to participate, and very important, and then the next thing would be, you have to teach the skills. And the teeth, the skills can then be broken down and actually can be taught within the context of literary analysis. So you could use any book that the teacher is using with the class, and then develop the listening skills by listening to the characters.
All right, so recognizing that, that there is a powerful inspiration that comes to people when they feel heard. And that one of the ways to help inspire that and build and develop that gift of being able to give people the experience of feeling deeply heard, is to model that for them, teach them that in a way that that might seem a little bit indirect, but could be very effective by doing that, through the use of literary tools and books and, and helping people be able to, if I understood you correctly, to to be able to learn and listen by absorbing somebody reading from a book aloud, is that what your
various it could be me various modalities. And
yeah, and so then it can be developed, where once you establish the motivation, and the skills, you could take even 10 or 15 minutes at the beginning of a day, sort of like an introductory time, have the kids split up into dyads, or triads and listen to each other. And, again, based on my experience, I think that you would have a reduction of about 30% and behavioral referrals, this is something that can be easily measured.
All right, so so there's the steps that you're seeing are, you know, creating that motivation and, and then giving them the skills to be able to deeply hear one another and then creating the space every day for them to have that opportunity to connect in those ways. And that through that deep connection that they would have a chance to not only practice, but repeatedly experience that that then that could entirely shift the dynamic of their behavior. Is that right?
Yes. Thank you, I feel fully heard.
All right. So let's see we still have a little bit of time for me to go ahead and go is that right?
All right. I'm gonna go back to will as my listener again, because I sort of stopped my last time in midstream. So if you're willing, well, I would be grateful. And you're muted by the way just as an FYI, but I got your I got your mouth reading. Okay. So I want to say that, as I'm listening to everyone, I am feeling so inspired. There is so much brilliance being woven in here and I'm seeing so many different facets of possibility. And I'm seeing more and more illumination of those facets as I listened to everyone.
Here you saying that you're feeling inspired by all the brilliance and possibilities
and If you could help me out with the last part,
I don't actually remember. So I think what you said works. Yes. And I see, the more that I hear of the different thoughts that everyone is having, the more possibilities I see blossoming as a result.
You see a lot of possibilities, blooming through the interactions here.
Yes, absolutely. Thank you. And I, I really, I liked what I was hearing from Edwin in terms of the, the I want to build on what I heard from Edwin, in terms of the gardening and so forth, because I have witnessed the the healing that comes from planting our seeds, and then, and then nurturing the plants. And then and then having the plants nurture us in the form of food. And so there's a beautiful healing cycle, in that that also breeds empathy with the earth and with nature.
You really liked and want to build on what Edwin was saying about gardening and a hands on approach to being with the earth. You witnessed this firsthand in the healing qualities
of that? Yes. And the empathy that comes out. Yes, that comes from that. And the other piece that I'll say, and this is, this is really, maybe too big initially, but there is a profound experience of coming into this life and bringing another life in the birthing process. And there's the profound experience of leaving one's body and leaving this life, the dying experience, and not sure how this would manifest in the retreat center. But both of those experiences are ones where deep empathy is deeply needed. You're not
sure how it'll play out in bring this to the forefront, but there's deep empathy in both the birth process and the dying
Yes, and I think probably the more realistic initial possibility might be if there were perhaps a hospice building, for example, at the retreat center, again, because it's it's an experience that can feel so alone, and, and that I think, for a person to have the opportunity to experience empathy and people around them as they're leaving this lifetime, could be profoundly revolutionary for the person who is leaving as well as for those who are there during their passing time.
So with the opportunity for it, to have hospice care would open up
support for those in the process of passing and to be an angel here on earth to witness those that are in hospice care.
Yes. And, and and deeper than the witnessing is the empathizing both for the person doing the empathizing and the person who is preparing to pass and feeling as though they are not alone. They are they're being empathized with there is someone on the journey with them. So having
empathy on both sides for
anyone in hospice care. Yes, that's a good summary.
Yes, although in all honesty, the in hospice care isn't quite hitting the mark. It's it's the the departing of this lifetime. That that that's really what I want people to that's really the important piece for me right here right now. So hospice care feels sterile compared to the the journey of exiting this body this lifetime, this consciousness
It must be pretty
powerful what you said because I got lost in the words.
And that's okay. And it was and I'm feeling high emotion right now. So yes, but I do, I do feel heard by you and I am grateful for that. Thank you. Well,
thank you. And
we also know completely now you're the speaker and if you could pick your listener well
I would like to pick Dennis rivers
Well I'm excited
to be in these in this process right now because it's, it's given me skills to be a better communicator and a better listener. And I seem to stumble around a bit until I can settle in and I'm feeling more settled in I'm feeling more comfortable.
So you're enjoying participating in this partly because you're learning some new skills or a new way of being present with other people.
I like seeing what his creation for me
And the process that I've witnesses to end helping dreams turn into reality, there are visions, visions, go into drawing it out, or planning spaces, and then developing from there building and, and living the dream.
So you're feeling this kind of, it's coming up in your mind, this sequence of how a project unfolds through different stages.
Thank you, thanks. I put down a couple of notes here.
Going back to the gardens and and, and, and my experience, I've always had a medicinal and culinary herb garden. Because they're so hearty, and they don't need a lot of care and and and they are also have been some of the best learning tools in my life for what is indigenous to our local environments.
And just how
you know, medicinal herbs have always been at the healers of us humor, humans, animals and planet.
So as you think about the gardening topic, it's bringing up your experience with medicinal herbs, and how just having a medicinal herb garden has taught you a lot has, has kind of many levels of wisdom in it, about how the garden is related to the surrounding territory. And just the, the rhythm of living things.
Yes, and how it's all we are all connected in that. Also in seeing kids AHA has a program where they do a garden and it's it's been moved around and juggled around quite a bit. So of moving sites. I really see kids just really grounding out you know, in being able to dig in the earth and plant and grow and learn about plants and
been a very powerful thing to witness.
So our plans about having gardening on the site, have deep implications for how we could reach out for young people to participate in the site. You're it sounds like you're seeing the connection. There are a possibility there. Okay,
I've been feeling
about just being humbled in this all too. And I feel in these connection circles and empathy circles that
I'm humbled. And
I'm actually like calling myself am I allowed to curse here are allowed to call myself on my my own shit. Because a lot of times, people that are the gurus and they have this, you know, you know, 40 hours, 40,000 hours of experience become enlightened. And yet, there's this shut off. And I feel in communicating the way this is unfolding, that it's self humbling, if that makes sense.
So you're feeling humbled by the experience of empathy circle processes. And it feels like it's opening up being humbled is opening up new possibilities for you have participating in different ways.
yeah, I could leave it at that. If there was more there. And I'll probably swing back to it
somewhere along the line here.
I feel heard. And I think I'll pass it on now.
That means I'm yet you know, after two years of being
like your listener, or is always select your listener.
Alright, how about you? And when will you be my listener listening? After two years of isolation from COVID. I'm kind of in shock, to be connecting with a circle of people and having a group conversation. Because, at least in my world, group conversations haven't happened very much in the past couple of years. And I'm just like coming out from a long time in the closet.
Yeah, so because of COVID. You've been in the closet and you haven't had group conversations. So this is a new sort of experience coming into the these this group here.
I find myself
struggling to stay on the topic of a retreat center on a beautiful hillside in Santa Barbara.
sort of struggling to keep on topic you have other things you want to talk about? Well,
I have other Well, I think there's two things going on. One is I'm heartbroken about the war in Ukraine. And my two of my grandparents came from the Ukraine. So it's a kind of family connection. And the other is that having lived in participated in a big retreat center, I know retreat centers from the inside out. And I know that retreat centers are really big projects of what comes into my mind is that big. The end the in Lhasa in Tibet, there's this giant palace called the Potala, it's like a half a mile long. And there's 1000s of monks in it. Anyway, so their cheat center seems like a really big project to me.
Yeah. So you're just acknowledging that a retreat center seems like a really big project because you've been involved in retreat centers. You've seen it from the inside, as well as you're just feeling very moved by what's happening in Ukraine because you've got personal family connections with this with with Ukraine. You're holding all that into a moment.
So I feel completely hurt. Thank you.
Okay. I'll speak to Dwayne.
And second, I'm resetting the timeline. Okay, you can go now
okay. Oh, I guess I want to say first thing just for dentists that within the empathy circle everything's allowed, right? So it's like, whatever is alive for you, you know, feel free to share it you don't have to stay on topic is sort of everything's connected.
But it would, excuse me wanted to begin by sharing with Dennis that everything is allowed in the empathy circle. And that you're allowed to share what is ever with you. One area that we usually talk about is people have an opportunity to share what's life for them
at the moment. Yeah, and will was asking how can I swear you can swear it's my see. It's like, it's all open, it's total free speech, and you will be heard to your satisfactions though, I really like to make that a there is no like, oh, you know, be respectful. If you don't want to be respectful. Don't be respectful. So it's nice if you are but you're free to do whatever you want.
Also will for you. You wanted to know if it was okay to swear and and I wouldn't said yes, it is okay to swear expel it's a free speech space, you're free to communicate in whatever way that you would like. And, really, it's up to you. But
not a but
however, I went did mention if you want to be what's considered respectful, it's also good to be what's considered respectable
or not. Yeah, I just want to make the point you don't have to be so. Yeah, so it's that free speech, because I always find it as important is for people to be heard. And the thing is, is you have to be willing to listen to the other person is speaking to you, too. So it's mutual, right? It's not just one way free speech. It's mutual free speech.
And, you know, it's free speech is important in this space. But that also works both ways. And so not only are you encouraged, everyone is encouraged to feel free to express in whatever way they like, but also be receptive for other people, or share the space for other people to communicate in a way that they would like as well.
Yeah, exactly. And also invite well and Melissa to visit the centers in here in Santa Barbara, it's like I think somebody mentioned over you mentioned Oprah LPL is 15 minutes away, so we can go borrow some sugar in her 100 million dollar mansion in Montecito. Yeah.
Edwin would also would encourage you, Melissa is not here, but William and Melissa to come and visit the Senator. It's located about 15 minutes away from Oprah's $100 million. Retreat base. Yeah. Oh, and you maybe have an opportunity to go together to borrow sugar from Oprah.
And talk to her about empathy circles. And it the thing is, the center is very close to Santa Barbara. It's a 15 minute drive to downtown Santa Barbara. So it's just very centrally located. So it's easy to get to. I mean, Santa Barbara is kind of small. But yeah. So if will wants to just drive up, you know, this, let me know, I can give them the number of the of the groundskeeper. And we're planning on going down in a couple of weeks to so we'll be there too.
And so well, if you'd like to go and your Melissa would like to go out and explore the ground. Edwin would give you the information to do that. It's really centrally located about 15 minutes from the center of Santa Barbara. And, if possible, hopefully you will have an opportunity to speak to Oprah about
so yeah, it was quite time. Okay, feel fully heard. Thank you join there. We'll do one more round. If just if you want to speak then we'll kind of open it to open discussion after you're done.
Okay, then everyone. Can I speak with
you? Okay, listening. All right.
Earlier I spoke about the idea of having really skilled nonprofit board members.
So you brought up the topic of skilled board members for the nonprofit.
And I wanted to mention a program that I've participated in that operated by A Los Angeles Jr. Chamber of Commerce
and is a program that you've taken part in, you'd like to share.
Yeah. And it's called the Reardon Leadership Institute.
And its leadership institute Reardon.
Leadership Institute. Yeah rear. Richard Reardon is a former mayor of Los Angeles. And he created a reader, a Leadership Institute for educating and training business professionals for lifelong service in the governance of nonprofit organizations.
So this organization started by the former mayor is for teaching people how to take part be board members of nonprofits.
And it's a really, I think it's a really great program because it focuses on young professionals and developing young professionals for lifelong careers in the nonprofit sector, not careers, but to serve on boards, nonprofit boards in their future.
Yes, you see, this is a really good resource because it has people, young people who are kind of learning about running nonprofits and being leaders and you see it, maybe it's a good resource for us.
Because one of the things that I experienced when I participated in the training was the tremendous amount of skills that the participants brought to the process.
So I'm not quite clear, you took part in a training with them, I guess, and you just felt that they all the participants brought a lot of skills to the training.
I participated in the board development training many, many years ago.
Okay, you took part in that board training program, and just found that people just brought a lot of skills to the table.
Yeah, and, and the seed that was planted at the board to do the board development program. I'm aware that a lot of those people are still involved in serving on nonprofit boards or being in service in their communities. And I think that's really cool.
So the people who took this train, they've been involved in being on boards, and it's continued. You just think that's really cool that there's all these people who have done the training continue to be doing service type work. And
one of the
really interesting parts about the Reardon leadership training, is they require members to intern on nonprofit boards during the training process. So they're being of service during the process.
And part of this trainees you actually are an intern on on nonprofit boards, so you're getting real hands on experience.
And so you know, for a project, you know, your size that when there may be an opportunity to have several interns come and work on your project, or even some of the graduates who may be interested in working on your project.
So you see, this is a really good resource to connect with that there might be some interns who would like to work on this project as well as some people who have done the training are very experienced in being on boards. Good resource.
Thank you, everyone. I feel fully heard. That's great.
Yeah, I should get that info from you. Yeah, so we have about 20 minutes left. So this last part would just sort of open it to any questions or comments you know, without Ampat without reflective listening, just sort of an open discussion. So if you have any questions or comments or thoughts or next steps and I will you had a whole list of questions if there was any that you wanted to throw out there.
Well, I'm just want to put out an invite to you if you're coming down we have room in our house for you that you can stay and Edwin or anybody else who is interested in coming to Santa Barbara, we have you know our nest is emptying a little at a time so and then you know I've been on St. Mary's many times over the years have walked the grounds and to go there and gather mushrooms and herbs and and stuff like that. So I will take you up on that offer or the grounds keepers number and and maybe get an insight onto Whew, you know, the buildings and stuff like that, that I really haven't gotten into.
So thank you for that. Great. Yeah.
Thanks for the offer in terms of the space, I can give you a little background that we're still trying to get the condition clear on the conditional use permit for the space, which is the basic document that says how many people can stay and so forth. It seems to have gone missing like it was with the County, the county doesn't have it. And they say they send to the city and the city says they don't have it. So we maybe have some older documents as little confusion there. But currently, there's one wing has been renovated. So there's 14 rooms that are usable, but no furnishings. So if anybody has ideas about furnishings, we're kind of looking at how to furnish those rooms, needs everything, you know, shower curtains, beds, what everything. And then there's another wing that hasn't been renovated that was a dormitory for the seminarians, it was a Catholic seminary, for something like 40 people. So we're looking at the physical renovation of that building, talking with architects and so forth. And that's outside of the state. And, yeah, well,
as far as furnishings and stuff like that, I'm, I'm, you know, I like putting stuff out to the universe, because it seems like I have this gift of like, you know, everything happens, just by asking for it. So I'll keep that in mind. And I'll keep in touch about it. But that things come
up. Yeah, 14 rooms that need furnishing, basically.
Not a problem. So Edwin, I have
cuts and offers to share, if I may, yes, please. So if you, if you at some point along the way, he needs some strategic planning facilitation services, I'd be happy to support the process by facilitating strategic planning, which I've done a fair amount of. And I'd also be interested if you are developing a board of directors and seeing if there's a way that I can be as a member of the Board of Directors. Also, one of the retreat centers that I had the pleasure of observing the genesis of is called Mountain light sanctuary, in Asheville, North Carolina. And my friend Michael light Weaver is the steward there. And Michael uses a work trade program where people can live on the property in exchange for them doing some of the work and most of the buildings there have been built on a work trade basis, sometimes with a combination of some pay for the highly skilled construction workers, but part of it was to be able to stay there and use the property. He also developed a membership program to help keep funds coming in where people in exchange for being a member and paying I think it's I don't remember $50 A year or something like that they have a little bit more access or to the property or different kinds of access than people who are not part of the members and that's kept his cash flow coming in during the wintertime when they don't have guests and so forth. Wanted to mention those as well. And that's all that's on my mind at the moment. Whatever else was there has left for now but I'll I'll when it comes back up, I'll share it with you somehow.
Yeah, definitely. I talked about strategic planning during the process, the organization culture of empathy, I never incorporated not incorporated but never made a nonprofit out of it because of all the paperwork and so forth. But now we need to create this nonprofit and we're going through the to the process and you know, one of the processes is the strategic planning so that could and looking next to set up like maybe a weekly volunteer group that we'd like to just kind of meet like this to begin with start coming up with ideas and then I can see you know, we're looking at like a work trade. I think I can see that is a possibility of people that want to live there. And kind of continue your work so in exchange yeah, great ideas.
Edwin, are there site plans available?
To look at or
in what it what at what level we had an art get there's a market tech to had mapped out where it was before. And then their, their changes that they in how they renovate it, there's there's two wings. Or there's there's two wings, and then a chapel in the middle. And then one wing, there's a residents, what used to be for the priests, and that's been renovated and there's, you know, plans, the architect the plans for that the older than the new. And then the, there's a kitchen got really nice, you know, industrial size kitchen with and then a diet sort of two part dining room that are pretty large rooms. And then what they used to be the sisters residences where the nuns lives, they had a nuns that lived there and kind of did the cooking, and that's been renovated. So there's plans, the new floor layout is, was there, as well as there's some plans for we did get one proposal for the renovation of the of the dormitories. And that's sort of, you know, we have the look floor layout, but then also trying to come up with designs for it, like, you know, how to, you know, separate rooms? Or do we have dormitories or some dormitories with some rooms. So we're kind of like trying to figure that out. And that has to be within the context of the conditional use permit, in terms of how much how many people we can have there. And then there's functions of parking spots in terms of the type of people are there. So there's a lot of sort of formulas in terms of the how many people can be there and drive up and all that kind of stuff. So is that the plans you're talking about? Yeah.
And, you know, for the property alone with the elevations and stuff like that, and see, you know, just to look at possibilities of gardening, and terracing and stuff like that, because I know a lot of it's hilly, and
yeah, there's a, there's a link to Google Earth that has the three dimensional it's on the tour, the website tour, that really gives you the contours of the space, for us it is from the base to the top is 250 feet. So it's a bit of a climb. So it's a very, it's on top of the hill. And then there you can see the contour lines and so forth. Like if you want to contour it, like how that would be done. I would just say Oregon, a company called seventh generation, or if you ever heard of them, it's a group of guys that do like a site design and have a website. I was wondering if you maybe knew them? Well, the seventh generation,
I don't know. But I'm jotting that down. Yeah. And
they do like an analysis, they're sort of into permaculture. And I don't have it right handy, but they're in there north of Santa Barbara camera, that town, but they've done sort of site analysis where they go in and they map out the whole site, in terms of the the water flow, the all the different sort of environmental issues. And they'll also create a plan to, you know, for what you can, how you can sort of created maybe a permaculture type environment or so forth.
Edwin would when I was I was also thinking about ways to generate income, immediately in a space like this. That would also help with, you know, the operations or covering operational expenses. And one of the things that I thought this place will be really interesting for is weddings. Oh, yeah. Because of the space, you have a space to hold the wedding, you have a space for the after party or entertainment, there's plenty of parking spaces, it's a safe contained space. So you know, that's something that and then there, you know, could be a spiritual dimension to, you know, holding weddings in a space like this, but it's something that could generate income throughout the year. And so, that was one of the ideas that came to mind for me was
yeah, my brother had thought of that right off because there's a big chapel for I think about 200 people. You it, it's in pretty good shape. The thing is, is the aesthetics of the space is it's not it's very institutional. It's like, I personally wouldn't want to get married there. But it could be fixed up and yeah, it's, yeah.
Well, the Catholics,
the Catholics wouldn't mind. You know, my dad's a deacon at a Roman Catholic Church, so they love institutionalized ways.
And then I also took that in consideration, I did the tour. And so you know, again, if you focus on possibilities, there are people that get married in spaces that are far less attractive to that, but they're able to transform them by the people they bring in to transform the space. So that's something that, you know, that wouldn't be your responsibility would be responsibility that people think that to bring in their people. So, and again, I've seen I've been, I've seen weddings and far less attractive spaces than this. So
yeah, it's a beautiful view up there. And there was some old photographs that my brother found on a hard drive there. And it was when the place was in use, and they had a lot of flowers. And, you know, just some landscaping like right now everything sort of died back, because it hasn't been taken, it hasn't been used for six, seven years, at least, you know, that just, I think there was some AAA meetings or something there periodically, that's about the only use it's had. So all the vegetation has died back. And so it looks sort of Spartan, but from those photographs, you know, with some good landscaping, it would really help kind of make it look alive. And more beautiful. But yeah, that's what my brother's talking about weddings, he was really much into that. Is it possible income.
And then another thing is, as a space, like, having worked for municipality, we often rented this city that I worked for, they would go into nonprofit spaces, to hold department retreats, leadership development retreat, a variety of different things. And so there's a tremendous opportunity there, you know, with all those cities that surrounds your area and stuff for those types of programs to help sustain
Yeah. Yeah, that's could be used pretty there's pretty there's that right now we're cleaning out the old furniture, there's like tons of old mattresses and, and old furniture. So we've been starting to sort that, but there is a space, you know, a couple of pretty big rooms that are pretty usable for you know, groups like that to meet already. So we do have 14 rooms, once they're furnished, we can just start iteratively starting with small projects like that, you know, small
and maybe for that work exchange to if there's people who have skills are interested in that because quite a quite a bit to do there.
there's a nothing else. Kathleen was like, you're almost about to say something.
One last thought in terms of the work exchange program. And I mentioned, Michael light Weaver. If you if you're interested in hearing how he did his or how he did any of his stuff. With a mountain light sanctuary, I'm happy to put you in touch with you. And I think he would be he's going to be really jazzed when I tell him about what you're doing. I think it's going to be something he'll be very enthusiastic about and happy to support with his own experience, if that's of use to you
very much. So I really appreciate that, because that's one of the things we've been trying to do is is connect with other retreat centers to get a sense of, you know, what's happening in that sort of industry. The first thing I did you know, I had lived a year at Esalen. So I reached out to David Price whose father was one of the co founders and he had also been for 10 years the director there so he kind of got his you know, kind of ideas about it. And then we talked to mount Madonna, I don't know if you know them, but they're in the mountains of Santa Cruz. And so any any retreat centers, we'd love to talk to appreciate that connection to talk with them just to hear their thoughts would be excellent.
I absolutely will send that to you and, and mountain light sanctuary is is on the opposite extreme in terms of rustic pneus. It's a very rustic retreat center, but but very beautiful in a very holistic approach. And so I will all put the two of you in touch, I'll send an email to him introducing the two of you and then you can take it from there and I'll send you the link to the sanctuary.
Excellent. Okay, so these circles we have them on on Mondays, we've been every two Mondays and if you attend that way my brother attends those and those were sort of more for the Santa Cruz you know community. So you know, you could meet with the Santa Cruz but you're all welcome to attend those two. And then I We have these on Fridays, which are more for just anyone, you know, Santa from Santa Santa Santa Barbara sorry, said Santa Cruz, from Santa Barbara, you know, workshop leaders is first the whole empathy community. So anyone can come to these, we may be starting them on Saturday and turn this into a volunteer circle. So if you're interested in being a volunteer to begin with, you know, we can kind of meet on a regular basis and maybe come up with projects people might want to work on, you know, in person there or kind of remotely, we want to develop a whole curriculum of empathy, you know, projects to. So, yeah, To be continued. And so maybe we just get a final ending comments, Bill, you want to any final comments before we close?
Sure. I appreciate listening to everyone here and meeting new people and and I share the excitement that people have, and looking forward to collaborating with people. Thanks.
Thanks, and Dwayne.
I enjoyed the experience of meeting and sharing this space with you all today. And I would like to conclude by saying Does anybody know Oprah?
Because that's a big question for me.
For me, connecting with Oprah.
you know, this is her community. And this is her area, this, this is something she might be interested in. So somebody you know, Oprah, please get in touch with Edwin. And then next probably Deepak.
Yeah, thanks, join. Yeah, we're there with you, Dennis.
Well, I am with your permission, I will get in touch with the most recent director of La Casa de Maria, a retired Presbyterian minister named Steve Jacobson, whom I have known for, I don't know, 25 years, and ask him to get in touch with you. Just because I want to develop this theme of allies, local allies, to cooperate with renewal, not just letting that beautiful place, collapse or be bulldozed and turned into mansions. But to be a resource, something life giving, for the community. So
Oh, was there more?
Oh, just I wanted your permission to do that, Oh,
definitely reach out to any local organizations also invite them to the empathy circle to us. I appreciate you bringing well and Melissa to this, because this is sort of a meet and greet space, you know, we can people can bring up any ideas. And we're I
don't know anyone more radiant than well, and Melissa, so I have brought you the best the creativity that I know of first.
Oh, speaking of which you will?
Thank you, Dennis.
You know, Melissa has a lot of good connections. And and, you know, she's been excited about, you know, possibilities in this and it off for, for me. exciting to see all you hear and and, yeah, that the art of creation, and just creating and feeling alive in it all. So just want to appreciate each and every one of you. And like I said the invite, we have a four bedroom house that can can fit some people in when visiting.
Right. Thanks for that invitation. And you'd also had signed up initially for Monday. Did you? Are you taking part in that again? Or you're welcome to it?
I may I may
I just if you clarify this, we just have you on the list? I think so I want to just be sure who's
coming by tonight. I'll know if
Thank you, Edwin, I would like to say that I feel more inspired and engaged than I did coming in. And that rocked my world. And I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share this time with all of you and I look forward very much to the next time. And I would also like to say Edwin just take this opportunity that I had signed up for tomorrow's empathy circle. And and I just have the opportunity to take a trauma informed facilitation training that overlaps with that and and I need to take that train anything to prepare for some work I'm doing. So I apologize. I will sign up to the next one. But I thought I retract my RSVP while we're here together now if that's okay, okay,
yeah, it's dropped in so there's no you know, if people don't come it's fine. We have a lot of people coming from all over this like these groups here are by so reservation, we have a limited amount. On Saturday, those cafes are open come are down. So it's, it's, it's no problem. It's not the guests not putting us out or anything. So Oh, thanks. Well, thanks, everyone, for taking part. It's really delightful to connect with you all and kind of see how this can evolve and how we can develop ongoing relationship and collaborate on this. And so I'm looking forward to that continuing and so we like to end with our jazz hands, good for the photograph to have our jazz hands on the screen. So see you later.