|A former member||
Hey Giggling Folks~*
My name's Brooke. I haven't been to a meetup yet, but I've been to 2 other Laughter Yoga meetups at Lake Harriet Spiritual Community. I organize another meetup on Monday nights in Minneapolis -- New Culture Minnesota.
I'm writing because I decided to move to San Diego in March to be near my family, and I'm sad I don't have more time to connect with people before I go. I really care about bringing people together and transforming our culture from one of fear, competition, and shame about our natural human needs, to one of trust, collaboration and freedom and choice to explore our full potential as unique manifestations of existence!
I wanted to offer what I can here in Minnesota before I move to San Diego. Take whatcha like and leave the rest, as they say. :) I may be "preaching to the choir" here -- although of course, it's not preaching at all. It's just my excitement to connect with you, and to help bring connection to all the folks who so desperately need it.
So, besides Laughter Yoga, I know a couple ways of bringing folks together. New Culture and non-violent communication. Have you heard of these?
The New Culture movement is all about the power of human connection and how it can support self-compassion/expansion, peace, sustainable existence, and a happy feeling of connection to the greater whole. Through playfulness, compassion, and transparency (vulnerably expressing your true feelings and needs), you create trust, which is what we need to feel safe and secure reaching out to others. To feel a sense of belonging.
Non-sexual touch is big part of the movement too. We all know we're social animals. Our current culture is fine with indulging in most of our senses -- sight, smell, sound, taste -- but we shy away from touch because people fearfully associate it with sexuality, which we've been programmed to think is shameful, even though it's a natural aspect of humanity too. So we hardly ever indulge in touch with other people unless it's with a potential romantic partner, or in sports, therapeutic massage, or nurturing our children. So, cuddling, and other forms of platonic, nurturing and playful touch, are a big part of the New Culture movement. Touch takes us out of our heads and allows us to release pleasurable and nourishing hormones, such as oxytocin.
Check out New Culture if you want!
www.meetup.com/NewCultureMinnesota -- this meetup will continue on even though I'm moving to San Diego. I'll be at the next 2 or 3 meetings, so maybe we'll meet before I go. :)
Also, a great way to bring folks together is through empathic communication. Marshall Rosenberg wrote a fabulous book on this called Non-violent Communication. Interpreting someone's harsh words as misguided attempts at expressing her feelings and needs, and then validating where she's coming from by empathizing with her -- by compassionately repeating back to her what you guess she might be feeling and needing -- works wonders to connect with the person.
NVC -- or compassionate communication -- is a main tool of communication used in the New Culture movement as well. There are many NC retreats each year on the west coast, east coast, Hawaii, Germany, and soon in other places. I've been to three, and they are totally transformative. I highly recommend them. You can learn about them on the Network for New Culture site.
Of course, whatever you call it, "New Culture," "Laughter Yoga," "Non-violent Communication," "Human Awareness Institute," "Ecstatic Dance," "Biodanza," "Heart of Now," "Possibilities Management," ".... the idea is to get in touch with our very real, natural human needs (like belonging, acceptance, trust, safety, choice, love, touch, contribution, play, appreciation, mourning, to see and be seen, sex, rest, nourishing food, etc...), and to support each other in finding ways of meeting these needs while we dance together through life.
I'd love to know other modalities of self-awareness and group connection, and your feelings about any of the stuff I mentioned here, so please don't hesitate to respond.
Love, hugs, and huge guffaws! ~*