A Love Movement
Purpose of the love course: To provide participants with access to their lives as love. To instigate falling in love (with oneself, a community, a planet) as a new political mode of power and action.
Love exists in life as a powerful, unconditional and infinite entity.
Culture creates our expressions of love, but love is not limited by culture. One manifests love as joy, passion, trust/faith, compassion and connection inclusively.
– International Black Youth Summit
August 4, 2001
Set-up: quotes and pictures of love-lee things around the room, people can do love shout-outs and add quotes and pictures throughout. Also have a love bag so that people can write notes to each other.
Musing: Focusing exercise. Everyone writes on a piece of scrap paper (and may or may not share it) for the length of one song. A smart facilitator might choose a love song…broadly defined. (Though right now…I’m thinking Sade’s “By Your Side”…the Fela Kuti Remix from Red Hot Riot)
*be sure to underline what part of the curriculum we are in
Love exists (10-15 minutes): Each participant introduces themselves using their name, where they are from and by invoking the presence of a loved one. Who do they want to dedicate their time here to (it could be to themselves) and why? (I think that this dedication can serve as what the participants have at stake…what do you guys think?)
Ground rules: (5-7 minutes) Offer participants the opportunity to choose their own participation. Ask people what ground rules we need to have in the room for them to feel safe. If no one says, confidentiality, speak for yourself, don’t interrupt, don’t attack anyone, step up/step back…the facilitators should request these things. Facilitators should explain the phrase “permission to engage”.
Introduction: (5 minutes max) The facilitator(s) do a brief introduction of what the International Black Youth Summit has been up to. And what the purpose of this day is. Introduce the distinctions (which should be written on a large piece of paper that everyone can see).
In Life: (15 minutes)
Include the distinctions trigger, quick-fix, listening, no right way to be and no out there and love. For each distinction ask the participants to think of examples of how those distinctions show up individually and on a broader social level. (eg. trigger could show up individually when someone mentions something that I am struggling with…like skinny girls aren’t really black, and on a social level trigger could show up when the United States responds to Sept. 11 with a war on terror instead of with a re-evaluation of foreign policy.)
Spend more time on the love distinction. Find out if people want it.
Powerful, Unconditional, Infinite (15 minutes)
Break into partners and share with your partner everything that represents love for you. (Cupcakes, hugs, lemonade, my mom taking care of me when I’m sick, sunsets, babysitting, going to concerts etc. etc.) Encourage participants not to stop listing things until the facilitator says that it is time to switch.
In the big group share your experience of the exercise.
Culture creates our expressions of love: (as long as it takes) Still in the big group have a conversation about what love sounds like. Participants take turns name songs that they associate with love. Facilitators should ask participants what that song teaches us about love. Does that live up to the distinction we’ve made about love? Is anybody triggered by that version of love?
…but love is not limited by culture. (as long as it takes) The facilitator chooses a music video for a “love” song. Everyone watches. This introduces a conversation called “Lies you told me about love”. Why is love dangerous? How have we been betrayed? When have people given us something called love that was not love? What did we make that mean? How can the lessons we have learned from this allow us to love ourselves? How can we relate to these experiences in a way that affirms love as infinite, powerful and unconditional. What would it take to forgive…..ourselves.
break/ revolutionary interlude:
over the break everyone gets a handout with a quote about love by someone like Audre Lorde, Angela Davis, Che Guevara, James Baldwin, Fred Hampton, Ghandi, Assata Shakur or some other revolutionary. The homework is to read the quote and present it to the group when you get back. How can you apply this quote to your life…to your love?
One manifests love as: This conversation is a recontextualized version of “what is your vision?” The question is “What would your life and the world look life in a full manifestation of love?
kiss around the world
Stop in the name of love? Fear is the opposite of love. What are you afraid of. (Hint. It is most likely a conversation you are having that is insisting on the exact opposite of your vision.) So if your vision of love is “people connecting in full trust everywhere all at once” your stopmode conversation is probably something like “people can’t be trusted’.
What do you declare instead of this stopmode conversation. (Stopmode isn’t really a word. Does it work? What should we call this?)
joy, passion, trust/faith, compassion and connection inclusively…
Each participant stands and powerfully re-declares their love-vision (The World Is…) and sets a specific measurable goal of something that they are going to do that fulfills on their love-vision.
Each participant chooses a buddy (who hopefully lives near them) and gets their information and sets a check-in date. They should choose this partner because their vision speaks to them. The facilitators will pass around a sheet on which people put their names and contact info and their partners contact info..
Love this? Invite folks to become members of the facilitator body. A facilitator shares about how their participation in the body is love, and invites anyone to sign up to be a facilitator and invites them to the next call, and adds them onto the email list. (should this happen before the buddy exchange? Could the participants declare their visions and say that one do the things that they are doing to fulfill it is becoming a youth facilitator?)
Group hug up, squeeze up, love up photo.