Small-Group Session (2 of 2)
Before the session starts, the leader should set chairs in a circle, with a chalice and matches on a small table in the middle, or somewhere visible to participants. Make sure the strips of paper for “Readings from the Common Bowl” are in the bowl. Welcome people, and allow folks to settle before lighting the chalice.
Chalice Lighting and Opening Words
The group leader lights the chalice (or asks someone else to) and then, with the intent of creating sacred space, reads the following words:
From “Go to the Limits of Your Longing,” Rainer Maria Rilke
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,go to the limits of your longing.Embody me.
Flare up like a flameand make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.Just keep going. No feeling is final.Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
Invite each person, in turn, to share a brief answer to the check-in question. The check-in question is:
“What helps you feel a creative spark and be here with us in this moment? What is keeping you from being present to one another?”
Readings from the common bowl
The leader passes around the bowl, with strips of paper that have quotes on them. Invites each person to take one strip/quote out of the bowl. Then, invites each to read the quotes. They don’t have to read in order, one right next to the last one. But instead, invite them to allow some silence after every quote, and then to see if the quote they picked out of the bowl should go next or not. (See additional section below for quotes; these are the quotes that will be torn into separate strips, and put in the bowl before the meeting)
After everyone has read the different statements, the leader asks the central question that will guide the session’s discussion: “How do you tend to your creativity? Are there ways you find your creativity is encouraged?”
Leader invites attendees to take no more than 2 minutes to share a response to the question. Find a way to gently hold the group to the no-more-than-2-minute limit. Also, let people know there’s no cross-talk to the responses: group-members don’t answer the statements people make. One person speaks for oneself, then the next person does the same. It’s not a conversation, so much as a series of statements. Again, each with some silence or space between. And, again, voices don’t need to go in order, with people sitting beside each other speaking—just as the Spirit moves.
After hearing everyone’s statements, the leader invites the group to sit in silence for 2-3 minutes. This is not time for them to plan what they’ll say. It’s time to sit and be present, to let whatever comes up, come up.
Second round, reflections on what was heard, with additional thoughts
Whereas in the first round, attendees were encouraged to stick to their own thoughts, here in the second round, people can respond to some of what they heard. Again, encourage brevity—whether a formal 2-minute limit is enforced or not, encourage the conversation to move from one place to another in the circle, not getting dragged down to one or two voices who speak at length. It’s OK for people to respond to each other’s comments.
Likes and wishes
The leader asks for people to share, as they’re moved, what they liked about the session, and what they wish for next time, that they may or may not have experienced this time.
Closing Words & Extinguishing the Chalice
Out from the sparks,
Let us burn bright
Casting light about us
And room for shadows
Dance may we find
the strength in the small flame
and the expanse of lamination
from one life
Quotes for The Common Bowl
“Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”
“Cease to be a drudge, seek to be an artist.”
“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”
“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with. He cannot inflame the minds of his audience.”
“Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.”
“People who do a job that claims to be creative have to be alone to recharge their batteries. You can’t live 24 hours a day in the spotlight and remain creative. For people like me, solitude is a victory.”
“Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.”
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”
“Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts and never hope more than you work.”
-Rita Mac Brown
“Creativity takes courage.”