The SD Forum (not to be confused with Salt Spring Public Dialogue series) is a deep practice of community trust-building and communication. It allows sharing our deeper truths which we usually keep private, or share only with close friends or family (if at all). From this place of truth and witness, we bring insight to our personal challenges, revealing that our wounds are universal. We cannot heal ourselves alone, we must heal together.
The practice itself consists of sitting in circle. Two facilitators guide the evening. They will begin with sharing some basic Forum guidelines and establishing a circle of trust. From there, any member is invited to step into the circle one at a time, and “perform” what they dare. The goal is to dis-identify with the issue, to bring play, movement, humour, and more. The facilitators may “provoke” a deeper truth if they decide.
Once the share is complete, community members are invited to step in and “mirror” what they saw – offering insight into the challenge that the individual cannot see. It is a beautiful practice being witnessed and held, in service toward a new peace culture.
Everyone is invited to attend the SD Forum.
Join the private FB Group – Forum BC
The Purposes of Forum
- To express what is Authentic, Alive, and True
- Promote trust through transparent sharing and communication
- Express our individual joys and concerns in a group or community
- Enjoy the liberation of being witnessed, held and accepted by your community
- Helps you realize that you are not the only one with your perspective
- Helps you step into connection with your community.
- Opens the door to permanent connection, with repeated Forums
- Move through fear, shame and other frozen emotions or repeating patterns by authentic sharing with your community
- Models a successful form of communication for an ongoing community
- Forum is neither a conflict resolution exercise nor a form of therapy, though it can initiate change.
- Forum is seen as an experiment and is followed by a 5-15 minute debrief to gather comments, questions, data for change.
Zegg Forum Guidelines
For Audience during performance:
- Participate SILENTLY as sacred witness, with full attention on the performer.
- No comments or one liners, do not divert people’s attention from the Performer
- Practice an attitude of non-judgmental curiosity and unconditional acceptance
- Take breaks between performances only, and after mirrors complete. Never walk through the middle of the Forum space during a performance.
- Keep laughter to a minimum, so as to not encourage performer to play to audience laughter.
- If invited to be a statue or play a role in a scene, do not add your own ideas or words or change the scene, unless asked by facilitator to do so. Keep it the performer’s piece and let the facilitator guide it.
- Offer mirrors when you feel warmth and support for the person or issue, not when you feel triggered or reactive.
- If you want to discuss a performer’s piece after the Forum, ask if they are willing to do so first, and do so without giving advice or “fix it” input. Be compassionate as they may feel very opened
- If and when you are triggered into your “stuff” from what is brought up in the middle, wait 24 hours before bringing it up to the group or the participants.
- Hold confidentiality: do not talk about a person’s performance, without their permission
- Please arrive on time: Latecomers will not be the first choices for sharing
- Say your name and tell briefly why you have come into the middle, giving an overview of what you seek. Everything is welcome – joy, sadness, confusion, amazement, even not knowing what you want to say or do.
- Hold the intention to make yourself visible and to reveal your authentic truth in this moment.
- Keep moving around the circle.
- Be open to experimenting and following the facilitator’s suggestions, even if they feel unusual. Try out what is suggested, set a boundary if that feels important to you. Remember…you are always at choice!
- Be prepared to spend more time with feelings than story. You can speak about people who are present, but only in third person, without looking directly at them.
- Remember much healing and growth comes through mirrors and what you experience with them and in the time following your share.
- If you need to make loud sounds, tell us so we can get you a pillow.
- You can ask to have no one discuss your performance with you for 24 hours or longer.
- If your emotions, feel so raw that you cannot play with them or if you are overwhelmed with rage, Forum may not be the right format in that moment. Consider getting emotional support instead of getting up for a longer piece.
- The facilitator may ask you to sit down if they feel that the piece is complete for now or if your emotions are too raw for the Forum.
- The purpose of mirrors is to give the performer an outside view of what they expressed or what may have been a part of their truth that seemed not yet fully expressed.
- Mirrors can be given in first person, as if mirror-giver is that person, in 3rd person, talking about the presenter, or as commentary (Universal Mirror). Say what kind of mirror you are giving, i.e., “I am Joe.” (lst), or “When Joe presented, I noticed…” (3rd), or “This is a Universal Mirror.”
- Mirrors are kept brief to deliver a pithy truth – (15-30 seconds)
- Mirrors can be expressed with words, sound or movement or through metaphor.
- Mirrors can be given in individual, group or universal terms
- Mirrors are not advice, nor should they be criticism.
- Rather than being a synopsis of what was said, mirrors are meant to reveal something not fully revealed, to flush out something suggested in the piece but not fully expressed.
- Mirrors are given when you feel love for the person, are genuinely interested in them and what they expressed. Only give a mirror in a spirit of love and contribution.
- Respond from a self-referenced expression of honesty rather than giving advice, without giving your own personal story.
- Mirrors open a window into a performer’s blind spot and may take time to digest and assimilate.
Forum Resources – Zegg
Towards a New Culture [PDF] – Dieter Duhm
The Healing Biotopes Plan [PDF] – Dieter Duhm
” Forum cultivates compassion and non-judgment for the authentic, raw emotions of its members. It’s a ritual grounded in peace that teaches acceptance, while holding space for all the expressions of the heart: love, ecstasy, pain, betrayal, and so on. This looks exactly like the kind of local, start-with-yourself healing that the people of the world need to permanently and intentionally transcend conflict as we know it. ”
“As a visionary and community builder over the past 5 years on Salt Spring, I am really excited about what the forum has presented to me personally and to my sense of community. Witnessing old and new friends dive in so deeply, and being held in circle myself, I am touched to discover again and again how related and relate-able we are. I can already see how the Forum is helping this community to gain strength. This profound yet simple practice holds a key in creating real intimacy in community, thus empowering us to work together to create the world we dream of.”
“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this opportunity to share my feelings and support the people that I love in this community. The honesty and support in that room is exactly what I feel is missing in my life. It isn’t that it doesn’t exist, but I think so often we take for granted that people feel supported and loved (and yes, criticisms can be love) but never really make space to actually tell them. We need more of this.”