“You have to design your gatherings for the kinds of connections you want to create. ~Priya Parker
Around the world, people gather for meals, around campfires, and in ceremony. We gather for conversation, to play, to protest, to sing – to pray, to mourn, to celebrate. And for those with access to technology, we now connect virtually for all kinds of gatherings. As we’ve navigated a global pandemic, we’ve witnessed incredible creativity in finding new ways to convene – a testimony to our fundamental human longing to be together in one another’s presence.
With acknowledgement that each person’s situation is unique, here on this last day of the practice we invite you to consider how you would like to tend your relationships by gathering with intention – whether with one person or many, in person or online. Regardless of form, how can you gather in a way that more deeply tends the constellation of your relationships? Whether this is your superpower or new territory, we invite you to adapt one of the following actions so that it works for you:
- For your next meeting, meal, Zoom call, etc., invite everyone to bring a poem or quote to share, or begin with a minute of shared silence to allow wholehearted presence and connection with one another.
- If you’re preparing for a holiday gathering, invite each person to come ready to share something they’re feeling grateful about right now.
- If you are lucky enough to be hosting an in-person group gathering, consider how you set the stage in a way that expresses your care for each person – a personal note on each person’s dinner plate; blank cards for each person to write and share a hope or dream; a welcome, prayer, or blessing that brings a bit of ceremony to your time together.
- Don’t be afraid to express an explicit intention or desire for any gathering: “I would love our time together to include…,” “Let’s really bring our wholehearted presence to our time together,” “Let’s each commit to bringing something playful to our gathering,” etc.
- And for any of the above, invite those you’re gathering with to share their wishes and longings for your time together as well.
As you experiment with the above ideas, what brings you joy? In what ways are your relationships expanded or deepened? How are your efforts received by others? What possibilities emerge? Who would you like to invite to join you? When you look at the constellation you’ve sketched, which relationships call out for gathering with care?
Priya Parker: Remaking Gathering: Entering the Mess, Crossing the Thresholds, an On Being podcast and transcript with Krista Tippett
Please share your reflections below if you feel moved. We’d love to hear what emerges for you from today’s practice.