Debbie Morris
Debbie Morris
“The Seventh Story” is a way to describe a new narrative that could drive human history, where human beings are not the protagonists. Love is. We are not [rulers] of “our” domain, but partners in the evolution of goodness. If you, like us, feel like an old story is coming to an end and are eager to understand and help shape the emerging new story, we hope you’ll join us.

See more about the seventh story concept here.

Here is a link to our thinking that got us to this point.

Vision

What we hope this will be:

Atieno Bird
Atieno Bird
  • A post-Trump spiritual detox and support group
  • An inquiry group
  • A way to shift how we see things so as to open up new possibilities for resilience and action
  • An opportunity to practice asking better, deeper questions as we stay in an open space of not-knowing
  • A collaborative endeavor for supporting and lifting each other through and around our societal challenges

What this is not:

  • A seminar or course
  • A group where better wisdom resides with the founders
Description

The structure of this group rests on two questions:

Point of view shot of a narrow suspension bridge in a thick beautiful forest
 
  1. What’s going on?

A central precept in Buddhism is that the first step in changing anything is to first see it differently. We are finding ourselves overwhelmed with “information” and misinformation, input, memes, frameworks — so many people telling us so many things. This question — what’s going on? — invites us to find or build or choose a frame of reference for our political and social reality that we find to be true, good, and full of possibility and hope.

  1. How can I help make it better?

Knowing what we know and how we’re seeing it, we wonder, “where in the world can I show up?” When our hearts and minds are settled, clear and open, what is the right action we are each called to make, for whom, how and where? How do we discern this right action among the hundreds of requests and pleas and needs we find at our virtual doorstep every day?

How big: 5 to 9 women (perhaps 7?!)

Cost: Donation based. Suggested donation $100 – $200. Proceeds will support women through ontheinside.space

Duration: 8 sessions, 75 minutes long.

Proposed Dates (subject to change based on participant schedules): 2nd and 4th Wednesdays starting January 2021

Proposed Structure

Prework

  • There will be a short reading or two before each session.

High-Level Agenda for our sessions

  1. Guided meditation
  2. Each person checks in.
  3. Explore an idea, resource or question
    1. This could be a group dialogue, an exploration of an individual’s story related to the topic, or something else the group decides it needs
  4. Consider how we each might experiment with applying something from the discussion in our lives. What would we be doing if we fully embodied this [idea, topic, insight]?
  5. Check out and share any intentions or commitments you’re taking away

Between sessions: Express your insight, learning or intention by producing – a letter, meal, sketch, craft, script, prayer, poem, publication, act of service, or any form of expression that moves you into your right brain and child’s wisdom. The action might be oriented toward the bridging and healing work we want to see in our world. These products or enacted brush-strokes on the canvas of life can be shared at check-in.

Sequel: When and if it becomes possible to travel internationally, in the months or years ahead, we propose to attend an arts festival in Ireland together in person to celebrate wholeness.

Ground rules & guidelines

  1. No advice or fixing, just questions.
  2. Speak to benefit each other.
  3. Others as they are needed and identified by the participants.
Next steps
  • Is this for you? It might be if you decide and feel moved to:
  1. Attend each session
  2. Produce something to express what you’re learning after each session
  3. Do the reading before each session (these will be very short pieces)
  4. Generously give and openly receive support
  5. Make a donation that reflects the value you expect to bring and receive
  • Complete this interest survey and return it to Debbie. We’re asking interested participants to help us shape the topics by sending us your answer to these questions.
  • Respond to the Doodle survey when it arrives, to let us know which times would work best for you to participate.

—————Context—————

Background

Context:

  • We’re at a big moment in history, an inflection point. It feels like we’re getting out of psychic jail, but with so much important work to do to knit and heal and refresh the institutions of our government.
  • This repair work begins inside each of us — our own hearts and minds, our resilience, our ability to listen and communicate across many divides.
  • The divides are largely based on information that we consume and then construct narratives around. In fact there are at least 13 cognitive biases at work that, if unexamined and transcended, promise to keep our divisions dark and deep. [Check out the Podcast “Why Can’t We See].
  • Religion and morality has become intertwined in our political discourse over the last four years. This has created a situation where Those Who Don’t Think Like Me are considered evil. The prospects of healing and working together in that tribal setting are dim and grim, due to a number of factors.
  • A helpful framework for finding our way to a new narrative comes from the work of Fr. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan spiritual leader, along with his colleagues. It’s called the seventh story.
  • Rohr and his colleagues recommend a set of practices that will enable us to be part of creating this seventh story. I see this work as part of a mission/life purpose around being a midwife of a new age. One of the practices is “7: Join or help start a circle of friends committed to the Seventh Story. Don’t journey alone. Encourage others to do the same.”
  • We want, but don’t have, a support group for this work.
  • Without a support group, I am likely to disappoint myself and fall short in my life purpose. I’ll fall away, get distracted, and my efforts are likely to fall on rocky soil.
  • This is particularly important to be because I now live in Trump country and have a bigger opportunity and challenge to help in some way. I feel it is coming and want to be equipped to handle it well.

Problem Statement: Without a support group committed to learning and practicing my way of seeing and building bridges, I won’t be ready and as able to help.

Intent: Find or build a support group committed to learning and practicing our way of seeing and building bridges.

Desired Outcomes:

  1. A committed group willing to try this for a short period of time, then renew if the energy is good
  2. Low overhead/administration
  3. Lift each other up
  4. Avoid wallowing, self-pity, anger, negativity in favor of reframing, hope, finding a new story, living a new story
Practice: The Seventh Story [Fr. Richard Rohr writes:] According to CAC faculty member Brian McLaren and our mutual friend Gareth Higgins, six narratives have been driving forces in human history:
  • The first was the story of patriarchal domination
  • Oppression provoked the emergence of a revolution story
  • Others simply withdrew, believing in the righteousness of their own group, called to an isolation story
  • In the purification story, all the troubles of a powerful group were blamed on a minority
  • Some people retreated into trying to possess as much as they could: living by an accumulation story
  • Some people began to define themselves by what they had suffered, developing a victimization story
However, Brian and his friend Gareth Higgins recommend a “Seventh Story.” In The Seventh Story, human beings are not the protagonists. Love is. We are not [rulers] of “our” domain, but partners in the evolution of goodness. As René Girard wrote, “What Jesus invites us to imitate is his own desire, the spirit that directs him toward the goal on which his intention is fixed: to resemble [Love] as much as possible.” [1] The Seventh Story invites us to be participants in a great play about the evolution of the story of love. To be friends, not enemies, no matter what anybody else is doing. Not us versus them. . . .

Many of us are so immersed in the six stories of separation, selfishness, and scapegoating that some decisive action is required. . . .

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