We need to sit down and talk...

June 08, 2011, at 06:16 AM

<< The problem with extremes | Boot Camp Index | Exercise: Meeting >>

The main reason for creating a guest list is to be able to account for as many guests as possible when you move on to making agreements, choosing a method of voting or when you do a ďroll call.Ē Itís like participating in the census. We donít need to know everything about every guest, but you do want to know as many people as possible who are in your home at least by face if not by name.

Over the next couple days, you'll hold your first official meetings. This is completely voluntary, but now that you have a list of known guests, youíll have a good idea of how many guests might show up to participate. There are two reasons for calling a meeting: 1) itís time for you and your fellow guests to decide whether or not to become residents, and if you do choose to become residents 2) itís time for some basic ďhouse rulesĒ first to ensure safety, then to prevent chaos and anarchy in the future, and to protect each otherís feelings and privacy.

Today, we're just going to prepare, and set some of your expectations. The first meeting will be tomorrow's exercise, and each meeting-based exercise will add a new agenda item to your meeting format. Be ready to be surprised; Iíve held meetings and had new guests show up to the meeting.

In addition to finding a safe place where you can park your body during the meeting, I want you to picture some type of internal space, whatever comes to mind, to have your meeting in. If you have no idea what I mean, I want you to picture an imaginary place where all your guests can meet; if you follow my implied imagery and your head currently is like a hotel, then you might meet in the hotel lobby, or one of the meeting rooms. I have a couple communal spaces in my internal landscape, one more formal (like a conference room) and the other more relaxed (like a living room). We hold small less formal meetings, like committee meetings, in the informal space, but when we do an ďall handsĒ meeting, itís in the formal space which is also larger and more "business-like." How you start is up to you; with or without any visualization if you find it difficult. You will start by calling together your welcoming committee, but invite everyone you can to the meeting. It's a nice idea to have your welcoming committee greet guests as they arrive to the meeting.

I realize at this time your trust level with your fellow guests is probably not high. You have control of the body and you probably donít want to accidentally relinquish it. Try to figure out what works for you, but Iíll share what works for us in case it helps you: We close our eyes, and whomever is in ďFrontĒ simply turns around to ďsee insideĒ rather than look outside, still technically in Front, or in control. This does mean that weíre usually in a light meditative trance, so that they donít have to pay attention to the outside world and can dedicate their full attention to the meeting. It may present an opportunity for a switch ó but we don't worry about it because we have a high trust system and everyone is focused on the meeting. Also, with all of Front's attention focused inwards they can "see" if someone is trying to take control and we can consciously attend to potential mischief. The key for us is to keep any trance state light, so our body is sitting up, not reclining, we often have a light on, no blindfold or dim light, etc. We might open our eyes several times during the meeting then turn our attention back to the meeting. These tricks keep us focused just enough on the here-and-now and our body that slipping into a deeper trance (or dissociative state) isnít easy.

If this is too worrisome for you I suggest you get out a notebook and take notes for the meeting. Act as secretary; track the agenda, summarize conversation if any, note who has voted for or against the items to be voted on, etc. You may not get a visual sense of the meeting taking place if you choose this method, but you also wonít be fully inside yourself and anxious about losing control.

Everything that goes on during your meeting is a powerful tonic for the chaos that's possible in the multiple system. Even one guest (you?) becoming a resident grants status and power that is beneficial and desirable to the system. This type of role-modeling can cause a cascade of people becoming residents. Even if you, the reader, are the only one who signs the lease at this time, stick by the agreement to treat everyone else as guests in your home -- politely, respectfully, and maturely. Integrity is admirable, and that may be the only inspiration some of your residents need.

Whatever you choose to do, make it as carefree as possible. Be excited about the possibilities, but also don't be too attached to the outcome. It's ok if it takes time to get organized, but also try to do the exercises when they are assigned, because you can always try them again, but if you procrastinate them you may walk away from this system the way you may also have walked away from other things. The less you procrastinate, the more progress you'll make. Any organized meeting is better than none, even if it doesn't go as planned. Take things one moment at a time, and do it with as much a sense of peace and love as you can muster.

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