The summer collective is designed by and for our members, so we’ve created our community agreements together.
Click here to submit your ideas on how to create fun and accessible community agreements.
Leave a comment: What kind of environment helps you tap into kindness & courage?
our community agreements
While we can’t meet in person, we can still spend a couple minutes transforming the space where we connect with each other through sensory triggers. Take five minutes to prepare, as if inviting good friends over who don’t mind a bit of mess.
Don’t go overboard – no need to scrub the baseboards. Unless that’s your thing. Do what makes you feel clear-headed!
Ask: what small adjustments can we make so this gathering is different from all others?
- Light: Find a cool dark room as a respite for the heat, or bring your laptop outside during our hangouts to enjoy the sunshine.
- Touch & Pressure: Add some cozy pillows to your favorite patio lounger. Grab your softest sarong and a glass of your favorite kombucha. Invite the dog to hang out with you. Bring your favorite fidget toys, or work on a low-attention knitting project to keep your hands busy.
- Sound: Find a window away from the kids’ cartoons and the nosy neighbors, your favorite window that allows you to enjoy more birdsong and less dump trucks. Zoom will block most background noises, but you can adjust your settings.
- Smell: Avoid kitchens or bathrooms if you can, bring in a smell that you find comforting or energizing – cut some fresh flowers, light your favorite citronella candle, make some iced chai, bring an old stuffed animal, cut up some fruit.
This Summer Accelerator will be unlike all future collectives.
So we’ll rearrange our spaces to create shady nooks, wear our favorite summer outfit, bring a tasty sandwich, and take a few deep breaths before entering our shared space.
Everyone has made an effort to show up for each other, including arranging for childcare, taking time off work, and setting alarms and saying ‘no’ to other fun things. This community can only work if we all do our part to respect each other’s time and build trust. Commit to staying present and giving the gift of our attention.
We will make a proactive effort to shut out distractions but give our bodies permission to move. Creative examples:
For catching up on Caper videos & polo discussion messages
- Set daily alarms to go for a walk while checking in with the group messages.
- Get comfortable with ending a polo message mid-sentence – you can always come back us when your kid stops peeing on the rug (and with a good story to laugh about!)
- Watch videos while doing mindless tasks like washing the dishes or folding the laundry.
- Create a plan for how to identify and take action when we’re overwhelmed or triggered – do we open Instagram? Stomp out of the room? Blank out? How will we redirect ourselves to stay engaged when we’re avoiding checking in?
For staying present during live hangouts:
- Grab everything we need to nurse and care for infants during our live hangouts. Have a plan for inevitable toddler invasions.
- Commandeer the shadiest, most cozy corner of the garden, this is your new office space!
- Silence phones, disable alarms and notifications. Place other devices in another room.
- Close apps and browser windows. Commit to not browsing the web, catching up on email, or checking your phone.
- Don’t volunteer to deliver that thing, take on a last-minute shift at work, or double-book yourself in the hours before and after our live hangouts – you will get stuck in traffic or roped into one more task at work.
The world will always demand our attention, so we must get creative and unapologetic about showing up for each other while making space for our regular lives..
Your Best Self is NOT INVITED to this party.
Let’s not pretend we have our shit together. This is not a space for folks who try to ‘win’ a neighborhood picnic.
We are not here to compete, we are here to create a sense of belonging. We’re inviting each other to show up as our full, messy selves. Which means creating a space where we can each feel accepted and whole even when we’re vulnerable, imperfect, and messy.
If wearing itchy matching underpants and sitting in front of our favorite painting calms us down – this can be a healing part of checking in and letting us know what’s up with you in our polo group. But let’s just notice and acknowledge when we’re curating and minimizing ourselves.
- Are we avoiding walking while recording a message because we’re worried we’ll wander into traffic? Or because we don’t want folks to see us huffing, puffing, and sweating up a gentle hill?
- Are we awkwardly standing in front of the only pretty wall in the house because it’s easier to think without clutter, or because we’re worried folks will see the peeling wallpaper and dirty dishes everywhere else?
- Are we policing our natural speaking voice and the things we say to minimize harm to our friends, or to sound savvy and impress others?
- Are we shutting off our screens to give ourselves a rest from Zoom fatigue, or hiding the scars that betray our lack of access to healthcare and professional stylists?
On the flip-side – it’s equally unhealthy to hide our privilege. We all have enough mess that we don’t need to manufacture bed-head. If our coziest chair puts our camera in the line of sight of a diamond chandelier, own it. We show up as real selves in our real spaces.
We will make choices that help us feel safe in showing up, not choices that divide, compete, or entrench social superiority.
It sucks, and it hurts, but cracks are how the light gets in.
Creating space for conflict and moving through it with a commitment to healthy repair and transformative justice is how we build trust within our community. This is how we model resilience for our kids.
Each of us is invited, but not compelled to share our stories and reflections. Be willing to take risks, to say the wrong thing, to provoke a challenge, to piss each other off – but none of us are obligated to push ourselves toward a trauma reaction for the sake of another person’s edification.
Maybe discomfort looks like disagreement. Maybe it looks like awkward silence. Maybe it looks like resisting false urgency and moving slower. Or moving faster and taking action before we feel fully ready.
We notice, name, and hold space for our discomfort without pushing it (or each other) away.
Make space to believe each other when we’re having a hard time with something you’ve already figured out.
We’re not gonna force each other to reject unsolicited offers, explain how we’ve already tried that or disclose painful details to justify why our challenges are not so easily solved as an aunt’s-friend’s-dentist who had a similar problem.
If we can’t handle our own reactions to seeing someone in pain, we may try to solve each others’ problems with advice, information, or volunteering unwanted services.
Even if the intent is kind, unsolicited advice creates a challenge for unwelcome emotional labor. When we ‘offering’ advice, we can come off as dismissive, or force folks who are already having a hard time to defend themselves and their choices.
So we’ll connect by listening to and respecting each other’s lived experiences. We can share our own similar experiences and emotions. And we can do this without attempting to adjust someone’s experience or feelings about their own obstacles.
It’s okay to ask ‘are you looking for advice or resources?‘ and problem-solve with consent. However, it’s not our role to jump in and to fix, rescue, or save each other.
It’s our responsibility to show up, listen, and make space so our friends can talk about hard things without challenging them about it.
Cheerfully disagree about practices and methods, celebrate our unique perspectives, and get really curious about the different ways we process and take on this work.
If we are to transform and make change, we have to tell the truth. We can’t expose or heal the flaws in our system, in our selves, if we’re unwilling to get curious about choices and behavior we don’t understand.
We have been trained to respond with discomfort, avoidance, offense, shock, anger, or revulsion when folks challenge our most toxic cultural norms. So let’s breathe through it, and accept this gift of disagreement as a way to understand the bigger system.
Get curious about the personal conditions and decisions that led to actions we disagree with. Get curious about our own reactions – and remember that they say more about ourselves than the person we’re reacting to.
Content warnings DO NOT mean topics are completely off-limits.
We use content and trigger warnings so the folks we’re talking with can make informed decisions and consent to stay engaged – before getting BAMMED IN THE FACE with a story that might dysregulate us.
This gives individuals in the group a moment to assess whether we’re too stressed to handle a certain topic, or have the energy to engage in a brave-space conversation.
If you’d like to discuss stories relating to the following topics, please make sure to include a content warning so we can brace ourselves:
- Neglect- or famine-based starvation
Some helpful conditions & experiences to understand in our Summer 2022 group so we can show up for each other with our unique quirks & lovely personalities.
If you have lived experience with a hardship, targeted identity, or obstacle, and you’re willing to recommend a resource on how we can support you, comment with your suggestions or submit an anonymous message with ideas on how fellow members can normalize access within our space.
We Leave this space better than we found it
Every day we share responsibility for creating brave spaces.
Leave a comment below so we can grow together.
The group norm that is super important to me is “Acknowledge, welcome and make space for discomfort” and the one that makes things feel most accessible is “Replace judgment with curiosity.” Fear of judgment can really stop me in my tracks, so I can definitely list/share more easily when keeping this one in mind.
* listen/share (not list)
That’s insightful! I usually assume *I’m* the one being a judgemental asshat, but that’s a great point – if others know how curious I am about the stuff they do (particularly when I don’t understand it) I think it takes the bite out of the risk of showing up as our full selves and sharing our ideas and perspectives.
Another member chose “Cheerfully disagree” as a group agreement for this summer, and I just realized it’s right in line with the idea of replacing judgement with curiosity. ‘Cause both cheer and curiosity are linked to joy!