I attended the Living in the Branches National Branch Gathering of the Anthroposophic Society . I thought I would pass along my notes for those who might like them. The session opened with Eurythmy. Then we began with a circle just like study group to introduce ourselves and where we were from. After the circle we started with some exercises to experience the dynamics of conversation.
We separated into groups of three. We each took turns took turns answering the question How has Anthroposophy effective my life . One person was a listener one person was a speaker and one observed. Then we discussed the results and shared with the group. I found it hard to be an observer with out becoming a listener. Kathleen mentioned she had to make a conscious effort of direction to remove yourself back to see both listener and speaker objectively.
The group looked at how to pause more and allow the space in between for the conversation to receive what the spiritual world has to offer Creating a social sculpture of conversation. We expressed locating yourself in the conversation and with the other person with a warm heart, enthusiasm, and reverence to make a connection. Even if it is only one or two thoughts Your attitude of soul should be the other person is complete ( see attachment Finding our voice in freedom.)
Then we followed with three branches giving a description of their activities
Detroit and Ann Arbor both spoke together . Detroit expressed how their seeds were planted by Ernest Katz . They meet in a public library. I like their idea of hanging posters and using handouts to let people know about study groups and invite new members. They have festivals which included building a rock garden dragon for Michaelmas. All festivals include singing and Eurythmy. The Ann Arbor branch has a self selective council of 6 members and are a non profit w/ by laws. And annual dues
Spring Valley Branch in New York has been working with a new concept of self study. This group meets together and studies on their own silently for the first hour and them brings what they worked on into the group for the last hour in discussion.
The Oregon branch has a self selective council of 6 members they have a monthly newsletter w/ 500 on their email list. They print 80 copies for schools. They have yearly membership and are a non profit w/ by laws
We broke into groups to further the experience of branches. Topics included
-Living in the groups the archetype of the Society-Growing the Branch- Disharmony in the Branch- Structure of the Branch.
One idea from growing your branch was to host and event that includes the art and poetry of from the Prison Outreach Program. This is an evening to invite people from all parts of the city. The inner city to suburbs, Waldorf and public schools to read the poetry of the prisoners and share their stories. This was a powerful event and well received by the community.
The next exercise we drew names from a hat to pair branches together to see if they could form a connection. As a sort of sister branch. Middle Tennessee Branch was paired with the Maitreya branch in Dallas Texas. I first heard of this branch from the first branch webinar . Maitreya formed around the same time and Middle Tennessee branch . And they had a lot going on with multiple study groups, putting on the plays, Eurythmy, and the beginnings to form a school . However I found out this past get together some of these projects were put on the back burner as members either had to move away or had other issues. The study groups continue.
But it did seem we do have a connection . As I broke for lunch one day I ran into Chester and Verna from Maitreya Branch at a very nice Latino restaurant. We had a great conversation continuing to discuss our branches history . A real connection was made and I look forward to a continuing friendship with our sister branch.
The days event closed with interactive Eurythmy . In conclusion it was announced the Society will create a support group for Branches so we can continue building our relationships.
That evening we met in regional groups to introduce and understand the intention for the work of the region. Middle Tennessee Branch will work within the Southeast region a subregion of the Eastern. The Eastern region holds monthly meetings with the subregions. It is my hope that through these meeting we will share ideas and problems with facilitating and growing study groups. I encourage all who get the chance to join the webinars for the branches and regions to learn more about the activities of Anthroposophy around the country.