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COMMUNITY BUILDING MUTUAL SUPPORT FORUM: Empathy Circle
November 2 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm PDT
We are excited to let you know that the Mutual Support Forum (MSF) program is up and running! Our first forum will be on November 2nd.
We envision each forum will provide interactive offerings that deepen the three petals of Trillium Awakening including exploring mutuality, supporting intra-personal and inter-personal connection and well-being, and/or further connection within the community. These offerings may be given by teachers, mentors and community members.
We would prefer the forums to be more than presentations; including interactive participation which could utilize break-out rooms.
We anticipate the sessions to be 2 hours in length on the 2nd Thursday of each month starting November 2nd at 4 pm Pacific, 5 pm Mountain, 6 pm Central, 7 pm Eastern, with a flexible cap on the number of attendees suggesting a maximum of 12.
There will not be a fee for these offerings, but a donation will be requested which will support the student scholarship fund.
If you have something you would like to offer, we would love to hear from you! If so, please contact Allen Baker (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a proposal including a general idea of how you anticipate it being offered.
The Mutual Support Forum Committee
Allen Baker, Jill Murrell and Francesca Blackstock
Whole-Being Realization magnifies our innate human capacity for empathy, which allows us to meet the hurt, lost, alienated parts of ourselves and others with presence, kindness, and care. To support teachers in building these skills, Deborah Boyar invited Sunil Joseph (see bio below) to facilitate 20 Empathy Circles for the Trillium teachers over the past two years. CC Leigh, Deborah, and Francesca Blackstock then collaborated with Sunil to develop two Empathic Listening training courses that he offered for teachers.
All of Sunil’s work was phenomenally well-received (see teacher testimonials below), and we’d now like to introduce him to our wider community on Thursday November 2 at our first Community Building Mutual Support Forum.
Because Trillium teachers have already had many opportunities to work with Sunil, and since CC, Deborah, and Francesca will be hosting this forum, we’d like to invite non-teachers to fill the remaining nine spaces, which we consider the optimal size for these occasions. Teachers may register to be on the waitlist.
To register, send a message to Allen Baker at: email@example.com
The Circle will include a simple experiential process, based in mindfulness and nonviolent communication, to help us tune into our feelings, honor their life-serving messages, strengthen our human connections, and deepen our emotional intelligence. We will cultivate empathy, presence, and nonjudgmental listening in a respectful way that transcends roles, titles, and power dynamics.
Sunil’s bio – myempathycoach.com
I am a certified GRIP facilitator teaching a restorative justice based healing and accountability program in California’s prison system. In 2021, I successfully completed the 2-year Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program offered by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach to become a certified Mindfulness teacher. As a graduate from BayNVC‘s 1-year NVC Leadership Program in 2008, I have been teaching NVC to varied groups, including those incarcerated at San Quentin prison. I feel grateful for the amazing teachers and teachings I have personally benefited from. I welcome opportunities to support others in their personal journey to fulfillment and wellbeing. I was born in India and now live in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Testimonials from Trillium teachers about their experience with Sunil
CIELLE: I think all Trillium teachers will find that their skills in working with students will be enhanced manyfold by attending these meetings. Sunil models empathic reflections that are very aligned with our work as he gently greenlights each person he is working with to deeply explore their feelings and needs. Inner doorways open, and a natural release of the beliefs and stuck energy that were hiding in shadow happens effortlessly. By attending just one meeting, I feel I now have more tools for working with students. Sunil’s compassionate connection with each person right where they are is not directive, and yet it is highly effective. This was valuable continuing education for me as a Trillium teacher. At the same time my own inner process opened during the meeting and so I also grew personally in unexpected ways.
VAN: What’s happening here is more than a course on NVC. That’s what I thought initially, but this is a living, rich process happening here. It’s a magical, deeper healing using NVC, but it’s a magical healing circle. This is a new transformational offering, and I don’t know if teachers know how wonderful this is, to want to be here.
DEBORAH: My encounters with Sunil have been profoundly healing. His capacity to offer attuned presence and compassionate reflection are exemplary. Through our interactions, I consistently have the sense of melting softly into the truth of my being, and I experience the freedom and peace that come from being so deeply understood and accepted. Few people are equally at home working with both groups and one on one, but Sunil is remarkably adept in either context, and appeals to a very broad range of personalities and needs. He has done beautiful work both with me personally, and with our teachers.
ARDITH: I told the participants at the end of our first meeting that if I had known this was about NVC, I would not have come. All I knew was Deborah was offering something and I was drawn. The group met on Saturdays midday when I have special time with my granddaughter, which is my most precious time of the week. However, because of Sunil’s sensitivity and skill and the deep connection that’s been created with other teachers participating, it’s been important for me to attend, and I have managed to juggle things to attend every session since the beginning! This process is based very much on inclusion. As people speak of their vulnerability, others sometimes say quietly to themselves and sometimes out loud, “me too.” If the group gets too big, we would lose that capacity to include all the voices. We’re finding that nine participants is a comfortable size for the energetics of intimacy that occur.
TATINI: I have loved attending the circle because it is so heart-based and awareness-centered. I love discovering my tender edges and speaking them into the group. And I love witnessing and holding others doing the same. Richard Rohr says: “Compassion arises out of vulnerability and triumphs in unity.” The field of unity is very present in this deep holding space that Sunil provides. Looking forward to more!
JIM: I look forward to these circles with great anticipation. Sunil has skillfully and compassionately guided me through many tender and vulnerable experiences. It feels exquisite to be met so profoundly. I have also found that when others are sharing, similar tender zones arise within me. I get the deep understanding that their pain and suffering is a shared pain and suffering than we all carry. And that their healing is my healing as well. Sunil is an exceptional teacher, quite vulnerable, and it is that vulnerability that makes the space safe, welcoming, and beautifully rich in love.
The Mutual Support Forum is an initiative that has emerged from listening to community interests and needs on our monthly Community Calls. Come be a part of what’s movin’ and shakin’ in and as a result of these calls!
With gratitude and love,
The Community Building Working Group
The mission of the Trillium Awakening Community Building Working Group is to co-create a thriving community, in which each member is not just empowered, but also a source of empowerment, committed to Trillium Awakening’s mission. Our strategy encourages organic growth, fueled by the individual talents and energies of community members. We do not seek to change Trillium’s teachings or organizational structure, but to catalyze a shift towards deeper engagement, mutuality, and collaboration.