Right speech 

— We will practice deep listening with a not-knowing (not-too-sure) mind.

— We will strive to not interrupt and create mindful pauses between two sharings. 

— We will mindfully give space to diverse voices with respect to gender, race, age, experience as an activist and/or empowerment level as a Buddhist teacher.

— We can always choose to be in an observer’s role and be silent.

— We will observe how much we have spoken in comparison to others in the room and step-up or step-down as appropriate.

— We will appreciate that everyone will be on a different spot in their unique Ecodharma path (i.e, spiritually-rooted action or activism informed dharma). Thus, we will strive to avoid the use of abbreviations and complicated concepts popular in one tradition/sangha/activist group. 

Other guidelines

— We will strive to arrive the venue(s) before the start time. We will let one of the facilitators, our roommate or camping-buddy know if we need rest.

— We will practice confidentiality. Specifically, we can share overarching lessons and stories with others after the retreat but we will not share identities of people who made specific statements without their permission. 

— We will seek permission before publishing any photographs or videos from the gathering.

Facing grief, anger, and “conflict”

We will discuss the most pressing issues of our times. Thus, we expect both ecological-grief and personal anxieties to surface during this gathering. We encourage everyone to create boundaries for themselves, rest and take a break from group activities, if needed. Please also ask for help when needed.

When under stress, we might also experience our disagreements as hard conflicts. However,if managed skillfully, disagreements and the sense of conflict can become parts of a healthy pathway to learn and grow. We suggest that when we feel charged and/or in conflict, we will release some of our emotional charge by going for a walk and/or getting neutral perspective of someone else. After releasing our charge, we might approach the individual(s) we are feeling disagreement with, state our truth using “I statements” without generalizing anyone’s behavior and stay curious about perspectives of others.

In all cases, we want to be aware of power differential (age, race, gender, empowerment level) between ourselves and the person we are speaking with. In general, when one feels dis-empowered, one can end up needing an outburst to state one’s truth.