For some time we've been working on a 'strong pattern' for developing creative, connected and enduring personal support networks, using a metaphor that comes from the world of sailing. It's called a 'Star Raft', and it follows a pattern that sailors use when they want to anchor in community
. The secret of the Star Raft (both on the water and in creating a network) is that only one person needs to know how to build it - but once you've been part of one, you become one of the people who 'knows how'.
I've been working on an online presentation to teach the pattern (and a set of associated patterns and tools), software that helps people see the abundance that's available when we tap into our existing networks, and dialogue that will eventually become a book. My personal vision is that this will become something that is as visible and as free as AA or La Leche League.
The great news is that we have a chance to launch the pattern in communities in Northern Wisconsin, in a project that starts in early September. We'll be using Adobe Connect Pro videoconferencing to share the pattern, get Star Rafts (individual support networks) started, and assist established Star Rafts to 'sponsor' new ones (similar to the AA tradition of sponsorship).
... By the way, we tried to include the online workshop in the Toronto Summer Institute this year, but internet firewalls at the university setting kept this from happening (sometimes I sign off emails with the line 'Technology will set us free - from our time, our money, our friends, and our presence-of-mind).
Now we have a chance to build, explore and connect this work in a place where people have been ready to do this for a while, and I'm tossing out an invitation to Inclusion Network members to join in - watching, thinking about it, maybe even starting a Star Raft for someone you care about (even yourself). We'll figure out how that looks as we go along, but for now, I'd love to get your ideas and energy into the game. Let us know what you think.