All Episodes

April 6, 2023 66 mins

How we gather matters. A lot. And what is a nation but a big ol’ gathering of gatherings? Baratunde talks with Priya Parker, facilitator and author of The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why it Matters, about how we can use gatherings as a tool for strengthening our relationships by doing things together that invoke joy and have meaning. Listen till the end to hear Priya answer a listener’s pressing question during the live taping. 

 

SHOW ACTIONS

Internally Reflect - Gatherings & their impact

Think about gatherings in your life. What was a great one where you felt connected, fulfilled, and a sense of purpose? What was a bad one? Was there one that surprised you? See if you can remember how you felt attending each one. Did it bring you closer to other people?

Become More Informed - Meetings can be where you practice democracy

Check out Priya’s conversation with Brené Brown on her Dare to Lead podcast. They go through an example of Priya’s Gathering Makeover. It’s focused on improving a weekly leadership meeting which may sound like it has nothing to do with practicing democracy, but it’s actually quite the opposite.  Also check out Priya’s website and The Gathering Toolkit.  

Publicly Participate - Practice gathering

Download her free guide on The New Rules of Gathering. Then, plan a gathering based on this workbook. It can be anything: poker night, tenant association meeting, or congressional hearing. See if you and your folks feel differently about this gathering than others.

 

SHOW NOTES

Find How To Citizen on Instagram or visit howtocitizen.com to join our mailing list and find ways to citizen besides listening to this podcast! 

Please show your support for the show by reviewing and rating. It makes a huge difference with the algorithmic overlords and helps others like you find the show!

How To Citizen is hosted by Baratunde Thurston. He’s also host and executive producer of the PBS series, America Outdoors as well as a founding partner and writer at Puck. You can find him all over the internet

 

CREDITS

How To Citizen with Baratunde is a production of iHeartRadio Podcasts and Rowhome Productions. Our Executive Producers are Baratunde Thurston and Elizabeth Stewart. Allie Graham is our Lead Producer and Danya AbdelHameid is our Associate Producer. Alex Lewis is our Managing Producer. John Myers is our Executive Editor and Mix Engineer. Original Music by Andrew Eapen and Blue Dot Sessions. Our Audience Engagement Fellows are Jasmine Lewis and Gabby Rodriguez. Special thanks to Joelle Smith from iHeartRadio and Layla Bina.

Additional thanks to our live audience voices Cassandra S. and Katie R.

See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mark as Played
Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:01):
Part of citizenship and part of gathering with a small
g is that all of us, whether we're guests or hosts,
are participating, one beat at a time, in whatever might
be happening. And all I'm saying is, wake up and
decide what you want to attend and what you don't
want to attend. And when you're thinking about being a host,
think very deeply about what it is you're bringing together,

(00:23):
because whatever you're doing will spread. Welcome to How to
Citizen with Baritune Day, a podcast that reimagine citizen as
a verb, not a legal status. This season is all
about how we practice democracy, what can we get rid of,
what can we invent, and how do we change the
culture of democracy itself. We're leaving the theoretical clouds and

(00:46):
hit in the ground with inspiring examples of people and
institutions that are showing us new ways to govern ourselves.
Over the years, I've attended several Democratic National conventions I'm
talking Boston, North Carolina, Philadelphia, and Denver. But the best one,

(01:08):
and really one of the most memorable political gatherings I've attended,
it happened online during the COVID lockdown of twenty twenty now,
at every major political convention, there's this ceremonial counting of
the delegates where people from different states stand up with
their little flags on the floor of the convention hall
and say something like, the people of the Great State

(01:29):
of Hawaii nominate YadA, YadA, YadA YadA. But we obviously
couldn't do that in twenty twenty. Instead of cutting it, though,
the organizers asked people to film themselves doing the roll
call in front of something iconic that represented their home.
It's time to begin our virtual trip around America. Alaska,
we must elect the president who respect our voices, protect

(01:50):
our waters, and address climate changed. Alaska cast seven voices
Bernie Sanders and troll voices for the next President Joe Biden.
North Carolina. I've been doing this for a long time,
so let me just be playing black people, especially black women,
on the backbone of this party. And if we don't
show up, Democrats don't get elected. North Carolina cast thirty

(02:13):
nine votes for Bernie Sanders and eighty three votes for
the next President of the United States, Joe Biden. Maine
My American Dream. I'm living in a twenty five acre
organic farm on the lake, a roadside farm stand and
a bedding breakfast. My husband and our aren corporate tycoons.
We just want to make an honestly the US Virgin Islands.

(02:36):
We bring in a greatance from the Virgin Islands of
the United to six. We were young, Alexander was raised,
were Castle A thirteen voots for Joseph our Biden. Yeah,
this digital parade of delegates was a beautiful reflection of
who we are because we got to see each other
in our context. And I remember saying to anyone who

(02:58):
would listen, that is the mirror of America. I want
to see that looks like us. It felt like true storytelling,
not just political pandering. Of course, there's always going to
be some political pandering, but I think they produced the
hell out of that gathering, which had the potential feel disconnected, awkward,
and useless, and instead left me emotional and motivated. I

(03:24):
think a really fundamental premise of our democracy is that
we come together to figure things out, and we do
it in a way that's non violent, that serves as
many people as possible as best as possible, so we
can all move forward. And I think it's pretty non
controversial to say we're not doing great at that in
many levels of our society, the way Congress operates is whack.

(03:47):
Local school board meetings they're violent or nearly violent, and
online discourse. I mean, I don't even have to explain
that one do I from the political to the petty,
which is sometimes the same thing. We have proven that
we're out of practice at coming together meaningfully, effectively, or
at all, and it's weakening our ability to self governor

(04:09):
when we don't know how to listen or have a
shared purpose when we gather, when we don't know how
to interact with each other, it shows up everywhere. Think
of it like this. If we don't know how to
host a meaningful birthday party, how are we going to
handle a council meeting. Look, we have a gathering crisis,
and my friend Prea Parker, she's dedicated her life to

(04:30):
addressing it. In her book The Art of Gathering, How
We Meet and Why It Matters, Prea sharees practical guidance
for creating relevance, meaning, and connection when we come together.
Rethinking and reimagining the ways we spend time together. It's
essential to improving the way we practice democracy and to
the way we citizen and while our previous guest, Tim Phillips,

(04:52):
gave us a sense of how dangerous they're growing political
divide is in our country. Priya is giving us the
tools to start addressing that tension and disconnection in our
own communities. She's a facilitator and strategic advisor and liked him.
She's trained in the field of conflict resolution. She has
been the last twenty years guiding leaders and groups through

(05:14):
complicated conversations about community identity and vision in moments of transition.
I first met Priya and her husband, the writer An
and girded us before they were husband and wife. Back
in Paris over a decade ago, Annan was speaking at

(05:34):
a museum and I was there as part of a
delegation of young civic minded Americans touring through Europe. Anna
Impriya were the only other young people in the room,
so we were all like yo Americans, young people, brown people, Yeah. Hey.
It was super exciting and a sea of really old
art loving white French faces. They ended up joining our tour.

(05:57):
The three of us traveled together a lot more from there,
and we quickly realized we had a lot in common.
During that time, I had the opportunity to attend many
of their gatherings from neighborhood walking tours. Preya became known
for to their wedding in India, where by the way,
I did a great stand up comedy set. It was

(06:18):
super funny. There's no tapes. You're just gonna have to
trust me anyway. I can't count the number of times
I've had dinner at their place, met fascinating folks, and
left feeling full both intellectually and gastro Intestinally, so Priya
has been practicing what she preaches even before most of
us knew she was preaching it. As I think on

(06:40):
this entire season, Priya is answering a question posed by
an earlier guest, John Alexander, who asked, how do we
invoke citizenship as practice? And I think Priya answers with
some really valuable tangible tools for us to get out
of our rut and try new things and challenge old
assumptions about how we show up citizen Together. After the Break,

(07:07):
Priya Parker on how gatherings are about people, not logistics.
Pria Parker is a facilitator, acclaimed author of the Art
of Gathering, How We Meet and Why It Matters, and
executive producer and host of the New York Times podcast
Together Apart, we have been a part of each other's
lives for over a decade, and I got to see

(07:29):
her becoming the queen of gathering through a small series
of intimate friend events that she did in New York
City called I Am Here Day. And this was an
intentional exploration of a neighborhood all day long and was
mind blowing. It really changed my relationship with other people
that I knew, It changed my relationship with New York City.
She's had a huge positive impact on my life professionally

(07:53):
and personally, and it is a thrill to have her here.
Welcome Priya Parker, Thank you there today. What a treat,
What a thrill. You are the master of many things,
but one of them is openings and introductions, and I
feel really touched. I'm so happy to be with you. Yes,
so so Pa. Look, you're somebody who really knows how

(08:13):
to host. Let me know if you have notes for
me later, taking copious notes. But your work has moved
help people move away from this idea of gatherings as
exercises in logistics, things to coordinate, to putting the focus
on relationships. Can you just talk about that important shift

(08:33):
from the logistics focus to the relationship focus. I, as
you know, am a group conflict resolution facilitator. That's my training,
that's still my day job. And so much of what
I learned with my peers as we were young Green
facilitators is we were trained to basically think about how

(08:57):
to bring a group of people around specific need and
kind of get them off their scripts. Figure out how
do you help people meaningfully connect without all having to
be the same. How do you help people meaningfully connect
despite sometimes because of their differences. Yeah, and so much

(09:18):
of what I was trained to do very kind of
minute by minute. How do you actually set up questions?
How do you set up the space so that people
feel protected, not so overwhelmed by a space, but also
not excluded. Had very little to do with what we're

(09:39):
taught in popular culture about what makes for example, a
good dinner party or a good baby shower, or basically
nice like silverware. Yeah, paint the onesies and then the
baby will come, you know, whatever, whatever, whatever. But this
very deep focus on stuff like I often say, if
you go to a bookstore, you walk into a library
and you look for a kind of like the gathering section.

(10:02):
You'll go and you read a lot of cookbooks, right,
or flower shaping skills. And it's not that those things
don't matter. They absolutely do their incredible skills on their own.
But over time we've conflated the shaping of things with
the shaping of people. And I love food as much

(10:22):
as the next person. I love a beautiful space as
much as the next person. But how do you basically
put people back at the center of our interactions and
how do you think about designing interactions that help people
feel like they belong but they also aren't disappearing. You
mentioned the goal of getting people off their scripts. Why that?

(10:46):
What is the danger or the risk of letting people
stay attached to their script and what does it mean
to knock them off of that routine? Scripts serve us
in certain ways, like we are taught how to professionally
introduce ourselves or we're taught and different cultures have different scripts.
I went to the University of Virginia, and I learned
very quickly that one of the first things people ask
you is what are you? And I had to learn
very quickly my answer to that question. Right, So all

(11:10):
of that to say is in so many of our
modern life where we're meeting people we don't necessarily know
this kind of corporate culture or like entrepreneurship culture of
like the pitch has infiltrated, friendship has infiltrated, community has
infiltrated dinner parties, like if you go to My husband
grew up in Europe. For some part of his life,

(11:31):
I lived in different countries because of my parents work.
If you go to most other is changing, but most
of their countries. If you have dinner, multigenerational dinner and
anyone's home, you can leave after twelve hours and you
have no idea what anyone does for a living, right,
it's a deeply yes. I had a direct experience of
that in Europe, this summer bonding connecting, no idea what
people do for work. Whereas a brunch recently in California,

(11:55):
I felt like the person assumed I was an investor,
you know, and we're just like in this my growth
turnets and look and we opened up these many locations
and I'm like, Hi, what's your name again? Yes, it's
like the self launch, right, Yeah, And so part of
a script is scripts help people know how to navigate
an uncertain situation. They're not bad necessarily, but part of

(12:19):
what we were taught in conflict resolution was that often
moments of authenticity and connection happened when people got off
their scripts, when they say the thing they weren't planning
on saying, when they're not representing their institution, when they
give their sprout speeches rather than their stump speeches. Those
were the moments in which all of a sudden, again,

(12:40):
as a dialogue facilitator that's trying to shift the relationship
in the room, those were the moments of light. Those
were the moments where people stop being a monolith. I
think you have developed many kind of shorthands and quick
rules for anyone to think about in terms of any
gathering that they're considering. You know, a birthday party, which

(13:01):
should be pretty simple. Can you quickly give us some
of pre as hacks on like the questions we should
be asking how you might prepare your own absolutely the
down on dirty everyone can just like fast forward to
this part of the podcast. Step number one. So the
first is the biggest mistake we make when we gather
is we assume that the purpose is obvious and shared. Oh,

(13:24):
I know what a birthday party is? Oh, I know
what a staff meeting is. Yeah. And also in so doing,
we skip actually asking what is the purpose, and we
get too quickly to perfecting form, which is almost the
same as focusing on the stuff. It's over the people exactly.
And so the first thing to become a more artful gatherer,

(13:45):
and I think a more artful citizen seek yes, is
to determine and to actually ask what is the need here? Yeah,
what is the need in this community at this moment?
What is the need when I'm thirty two versus forty
two versus eighty two? And who are the people in
my life that might be able to address that need

(14:06):
this year? And then figure out the form. Don't start
with logistics, And instead of asking should I throw a party? First?
Ask am I lonely? Am I board? Do I need
to shake things up a bit? Am? I kind of
disillusioned with my normal friend gang? Like, what is actually
it's actually the art of paying attention what is happening here?

(14:28):
And gatherings are kind of these excuses to make us
make decisions about how we spend our time and with whom.
So I'll give a simple example. Years ago, I had
a friend who turned fifty, and he said to me,
you know, most I'm not really a birthday person, like
positively or negatively. You know, it doesn't I've never worried
about aging. It's not a huge deal to me. But

(14:50):
fifties feeling a lot, and I want to do something.
And he kind of, he said, his wife kind of
helped him think about it. Why are you why are
you so anxious about this age turning the stage? And
he thought about it, and he said, I think a
lot of people in my life I've watched as they
turned fifty, many people basically start contracting. They take less risks,

(15:14):
they take, they don't move to the same cities that
they would have. And I'm kind of terrified by that.
And yet there are some people I know who, even
when they turned fifty or sixty or seventy, continued to expand.
What if I threw a weekend or a dinner where
I invited the people in my life who have always
represented expansion, right, So what he did, first of all,

(15:37):
he paused first and didn't say what form should this
birthday be? And he just paused, like the first step
of actually artful gathering is looking in. Yeah, then the
second thing is He then found a specific, disputable need.
It's really specific and disputed. You're only going to invite
the people who expand in your life, like what are
you going to say the people who contracts like sorry, yeah,
especially if you're married. Well, in part I said this earlier,

(16:01):
gatherings often force us to face ourselves. This is why
weddings are often sites of conflict. This is why funerals
are sites of conflict, because gathering is an act of
line drawing. What is this about? Who is this for?
And who should be here? And who should not be
and who should not be here? And I'll just say
the third tip is artful gatherers, as hosts or guests,

(16:23):
are really good at meaning making and meaning making often
at the beginning of an event or a gathering in
the invitation, but also when they arrive. So, just to
close the story, at the beginning of this birthday weekend,
it's birthday dinner. He dung his glass as he recalled
it to me, and he said, I realized I was
terrified turning fifty, and I realized what I just told

(16:44):
you earlier. And each of you sitting around this table
to me have been examples and beacons of adventure and
expansion and people who I always look to when I
think about the decisions I want to make. What would
they do? Yeah, as I turn fifty, I want to
thank you for showing me that there's many ways to

(17:05):
do this, and I want to ask you to keep
me honest in those moments where I want to contract. Yeah, wow,
welcome thirty seconds. Yeah, he's changed the whole thing. He
switched here. I feel changed just hearing it, because there
it's not just that he had a purpose. He made
it clear to them and then they feel a sense

(17:25):
of ownership of and honoring and you feel, yeah, like
you chose me not just to be at your party, yes,
but for this thing that I do for you, which
is its own gift, the acknowledgement of the gifts of others.
He moved. He moved it from the category that many
of us can fall into of using them. Yeah. Right,
gatherings can also be kind of transactional. I have an

(17:46):
art museum launched get bodies in the room, right, like
we gotta get and who's got a lot of followers.
So he moved from using them. It's a very subtle
shift to making them of use in the deepest sense
of that word. I often say gathering as culture making.

(18:07):
They are going to remember that for the rest of
their lives. They are going to remember, Wow, that's the
way he thinks of me when they start thinking about decisions.
Am I contracting or am I expanding? Do I choose? Right?
This is like the way we gather reflects our norms,
our beliefs, and so often positive or negative. Like Trump
rallies are great gatherings. They are full of purpose and

(18:32):
specificity and boundary and emotion and ritual and symbol and
their lines like watching shows like the Circus and watching
the lines outside of a Trump rally versus outside of
a Democratic contender rally, like there is a fundamentally different
ritualistic experience going on. Gatherings are morally neutral, yeah, and

(18:56):
they spread values. Whatever the values are, they're spreading them.
How does that work if the gathering itself has kind
of harm associated with it, or if if it can
lead to harm. Can you just clarify where morality sits
in terms of not all gatherings are made equal in
terms of the impact they can have on folks. The
tool is morally neutral and it can be good used

(19:18):
for generative health, and it can be used for deep harm.
Hitler is one of the greatest gatherers in history. M Yeah,
so it's a technology, technology and sense too. And I'm
saying this in part because people often associate like, oh,
gathering sweets, Oh gatherings fun, Oh gatherings word, and in

(19:40):
part because it's like, don't be fooled, right, don't be
fooled by the rocks that I got, Enny, And this
is exactly it's like when you can see we're actually friends,
my terrible terrible, like you know, nineteen ninety three. References
are coming out so often either we under value what
this is, Oh, it's just a baby shower. Well, because

(20:04):
somebody thought it was a sweet idea at some point,
and they're trying to literally figure out what to do
in terms of the activity. Decided it could be fun
to focus on the moment of gender revelation. Literally, if
you look at this history of this new phenomenon, it
was like, how do I feel this time? Yeah, where
is there an unexpected outcome? What would be interesting to

(20:25):
this group? And then over time, in some places it's
been co opted or has become problematic to assume or
even to think like, why is all of the things
that we're doing over the course of these two hours
focusing on revealing their gender. Yeah, And if I look
at that example, you're celebrating a life, You're welcoming someone

(20:47):
into the family, Like is your primary purpose really the
information of communicating the gender of the child? Rarely starts
like that. That did not start on a need based
analysis exactly, and it became focused on the form. It
became colors and all this other distress. And so often
I love the example of a baby shower in part

(21:09):
because it's that kind of Trojan horse where it's like, oh,
the sweet little thing, and actually, like these are moments
of norm formation and so slightly shifting that, you know.
I have a friend who, for her she and her
partner did not want to have a baby shower, traditionally minded,
but she realized she did have a need. And as
she paused, she thought, Okay, I have these two needs.

(21:31):
One I'm terrified of labor, and two, neither me or
my partner want to raise our children mostly how we
saw our parents raise us. What do we do? And
so they ended up having two gatherings. One was she
gathered six female friends had been through the process of birth,
and they created a little ritual. She asked one of

(21:52):
our friends to do it, and the friend invited all
of us to bring a quality and a story of
our friend that we believed would also serve her in labor. Yeah, courage, resilience, humor,
remember this time when we were blah blah blah, and
you like, I give to you humor. And then the
second thing they did is they invited who are we inviting? Right?

(22:14):
What is it a political act? Why are women the
only people invited to baby showers? If we're expecting and
asking for men to also co parent, where do the
roles start from the very beginning, before the kid's even here?
Who actually needs this knowledge? So they invited both men
and women to share a story from their life of
one way that they were raised that they loved and

(22:39):
one thing in their own life that they would want
to let go of. And they had this beautiful dinner
and everyone understood the purpose and they could choose if
they wanted to come and share that kind of thing
or not. You can totally not come. But again, it's
like movings to being used to being of use, and
every other person at that dinner table. I promise you
was listening very closely. Huh, how might I want to

(23:01):
raise my kids? What are the norms? What are they expect?
What language are we using to talk about this? Yeah?
And part of what I part of citizenship and part
of gathering with a small G, is that all of us,
whether we're guests or hosts, are participating, one beat at
a time in whatever might be happening. And all I'm
saying is wake up and decide what you want to

(23:23):
attend and what you don't want to attend, and show
up in the ways you want to. When you're a guest,
and when you're thinking about being a host, think very
deeply about what it is you're bringing together, because whatever
you're doing will spread. Wake up. I'm fully awake, and
I'm remembering. I mean, I have a big fandom for you,
as well as for Chris to Tippett and on being

(23:45):
and I remember hearing your conversation with her, and you
said something very close to the following that gathering is
a political act with a small P. I like how
you lowercase the letters, and that anytime we're bringing together
three or more people, even works with groups of two,
there are these power dynamics that exist in those relationships
and in those groups. And that's not necessarily a bad thing,

(24:06):
but it's an opportunity for generous authority, right to use
your power as the host for the good of the
group to achieve its purpose. And coming back to first principles,
when I say that gathering is a political act, small
p what I mean about that is it is a
context in which power is up for contestation. And this

(24:27):
is true any time people come together, but particularly I
define a gathering as any time three or more people
come together for a purpose with a beginning, middle, and end. Okay,
so take something super simple a book club. A book
club is a wonderful example of these core questions. What
is this for? Is it to see each other and
have an excuse to come together and like the book's

(24:49):
kind of on the side, and like I really like
having kombucha or t Or is this fundamentally to make
us more informed environmentalists? Or is this fundament mentally to
shift the patterns away from hanging out at the bar
and substituted for something else. The second thing is book clubs.
When I say decision making, oh, it is one person

(25:09):
facilitating conversation is it a free for all? Are we
going to talk about chapter one, two, three, four or five? Six?
And you can kind of see. I mean, I love
book clubs as cultural examples because they sound really like
sweet and book clubs are full of drama, like how
long you know? So and so always talks over everyone else? Well,

(25:30):
how come they come they haven't read the entire book?
Well are you actually reading the book? How come she
always gets to choose the one? How come they always
get to decide whether this fiction or nonfiction? We're reading
too much? Right, And so I use it in part
because we don't have They're not loaded and baggaged contexts,
but they're wonderful examples of in any group, a group
or a gathering has to decide or fall into how
do we actually share time? And every time people come together,

(25:52):
you're kind of deciding who has airtime? What are we
actually talking about? And that's a question of power. It's
shorthand for power in a gathering context is decision making,
what's the agenda, who's at the table every single time
we come together. It's actually a navigation between people about
how you're going to spend their time. And it's the

(26:13):
role of the host to basically enforce the reasons that
we're there. And there's lots of ways to do it,
but gathering is a political, small p political act, which
is people have to coordinate how to be and then
when they go off the rails, how are you going
to reinforce and get people back on track? For me,
that's a great transition to a different type of gathering
of democracy, this vaguely defined project for many of us.

(26:37):
But follow me on this, on this train, and it
starts again with something you've written that what makes a
gathering successful is put in place beforehand. And when I
think about some of our rituals around practicing democracy, preparation
is required going into the voting booth prepared much more
helpful than just showing up cold trying to figure it out.

(26:57):
And when we define citizen as a verb here, it's
like understanding your power, investing in relationship, showing up and participating,
valuing the collective. That all has some preparation baked into it.
How do we apply this guidance, this preparatory guidance around
gathering to approach the ways we come together for more
explicitly civic purposes. So past baby showers, and birthday parties.

(27:22):
We need gatherings for our democracy to literally function, and
I'm thinking about school board meetings, some of which have
gone way off the rails in so many of our experiences.
What can we take from your experience and knowledge of
gathering to apply to these critical infrastructure functions of our
sometimes flailing democracy. I mean, the first thing is, I

(27:45):
don't think of this as a binary. That there are
civic gatherings and non civic gatherings and so often part
of civic life, like all get to school boards, but
the school board, when I say, it's not binary. Part
of the reason these school boards are falling apart is
in part because wealth, a lot of different reasons, but

(28:06):
in part because we have fundamentally different norms and values
and understandings of what's actually happening in our culture and
more and more in our baby showers, in our birthday parties.
We are lacking bridging infrastructure. So sociologically, there's groups that
have bridging meaning, like you have a Republican and a Democrat,
you have a Yankees fan in a Red Sox. We

(28:28):
will go to dinner together. It's okay, We'll put our
baseball politics aside and then there's bonding, which is sort
of like and like, And basically, over the last fifty
years in the US, at least, our bridging infrastructure has collapsed,
and it's in part because our social and public infrastructure
has collapsed. The privatization of everything has also led us
to having more inequality and also having less civic shared

(28:50):
spaces in which people who have difference spend time together.
And so the first thing I would say is when
we think about our civic life, one of the underlying
purposes or needs and perhaps all of your gatherings is
to really think about this larger project, which is who
am I inviting and how do I make space for

(29:10):
people who aren't exactly like me? And in conflict resolution,
one of my mentors is a man named Harold Saunders,
and he trained my peers and I in this very
specific process called sustained dialogue. You bring people together, you
talk very explicitly about your backgrounds. But he would say
to us, always, don't become sustained dialogues salespeople. So often

(29:34):
what we actually need is shared experiences where we're literally
talking less. Dialogue is one form of communication, and sometimes
it's incredibly helpful and sometimes there are so many landmines
that actually, what you need to remember is that there's
other ways to be. I'll give one more example. A
woman wrote to me recently about her church and as

(29:57):
a small church in North Carolina, and she basically wrote
to me and she said, like many churches in this country,
we've been doing a lot of missing of each other.
We haven't actually gathered to congregate in over two years
in person, so we've literally missed each other. And then
the racial uprising has revealed fishers within our church that
we didn't know we're there. And it is fundamentally getting

(30:18):
down to like our core beliefs about the Bible, our
core beliefs about how we come to know what we know,
like it is as existential as it can get. What
do we do? And I said, well, what do you
think is the first deepest need in this community right now?
And she said, people are so deeply in their camps
and there's so much distrust that I think we need

(30:40):
to remember why we enjoyed each other in the first place.
We kind of need to grow the love. And so
she threw a parking lot party and she convinced her
board to rent a dunk tank and the core of
the parking lot party was dunk the deacon. Yes, right,

(31:02):
and we can all come together around that like throw
that ball. And I love this example so much in
part because again it's like even then you think, like, okay,
the preconceived form of a church that's in conflict because
we need to come together and stare at each other
and talk about the most important parts of Christian theology. Right,
it's so easy to get into we have a problem.

(31:26):
We should come and talk about a problem. Yes, and
sometimes yeah, And sometimes that's why it's like, look, part
of what this woman is doing is she was paying
attention and really looking at It's almost like reading a
body and trying to figure out, like where is this unhealthy?
And part of what I love about this was she
then you know, I taught how to go and she
said it was so fun and people kind of came

(31:46):
and their arms were kind of across. Not everyone came,
but there was like the band did cover songs and
people there was a baked It gave people something to do.
It was in the parking lot. Also very interesting the
location of gathering matters. It wasn't an inside the church,
but it also wasn't at some fancy venue where people
could be like, this is what we're spending our money on. Right,
She defended the purpose of the dunk tank and the
purchase of it or the rental of it, and then

(32:07):
she said later, she said, you know so many people
the ways their bodies looked after from where literally their
body language. Yeah, as they left, it was like there
was some relief. And so I can't tell you how
many people told me, wow, I needed this. So needs discovered,
needs found, and also needs met. It's a nonlinear approach

(32:32):
to some of the challenges we're facing into and maybe
the best gathering isn't a debate or a dialogue, but
it's a dunk tank. I experienced this with the America
Outdoor show I made, which allowed me to experience the
country and all this difference on literally different terms, different ground.
Oh we're kayaking together. We're in the same boat, very

(32:54):
different from being on the same dais completely with a
card in front of me labeling me this and labeling
me that. The idea that shared experiences can be the
foundation on which we build more productive dialogue. It's a precursor, right,
So the prerequisite and that you can shift the energy
between people again by uniting them in dunking their deacon

(33:16):
and creating just like having different staring at a zoom
screen right right experience, and that that energy shift. It
is a democratic process as well. So many of us
are educated in like a formality it involves a town
hall and involves a speaker and a box and a podium,
and you say, oh, it could involve a dunk tank

(33:38):
and you can grow the love that way. Election day?
Is this explicitly democratic ritual that we have that is
a bit tortured for for a lot of us. Is
there something you would do to change about our ritual
gatherings and events in these moments of election days themselves?
How could you reimagine a reapproach that I think your

(34:00):
question is really interesting to kind of to zoom out slightly,
which is like, which are the national civic rituals that
we should actually rap meaning around and which should be
so like just the facts, ma'am, and so much of
what's in this moment of democratic crisis of what's under's threat,
Like if you think about the January sixth co attempt,

(34:23):
what did they specifically try to attack? What was the
boring democratic moment that they were trying to interrupt the certification,
which for like one hundred and fifty years most citizens
didn't even know what it was. Right, it was a certification.
It was a ritual in which different states read out
their ballot count and the vice president certifies the election.

(34:46):
It was a very strategic, tactical, surgical attack on before
what was actually a mundane civic ritual that had a
functional and a ritualistic power, but all of a sudden
that has become loaded and baggaged and so versus. Like
I was so moved at the beginning of that kind

(35:07):
of May June, April, May, June July, of the pandemic,
when we finally got our first vaccine. To me, those
moments standing in line watching I went in Brooklyn. The
place I went was operated by the National Guard. It
was safe, it was orderly, it was full of volunteers.
It was this like I was weepy. It was this

(35:29):
beautiful national civic ritual of walking in sitting side by side,
six feet apart from other citizens or non citizens, but
other human beings in that moment to all get the
shot in our arm. And to me, like, those moments
are moments to actually up the civic celebration. Right if

(35:51):
you walk outside and everyone starts clapping, like these moments
where you actually see this is what government is. Right.
Government isn't just that election once a year. This is government. Yeah, right,
when we do it at the Apple store, you know,
when they launch a new product and people line up
and they clap congrats. You spend too much money on
a device, you're gonna have to replace it a year.
And we absolutely we could do it for first Like

(36:11):
if you think about schools, you know, looking at schools
as these educated places. The difference between schools that on
the first day of school, like everyone just runs in
the door, versus schools in which these are all real examples,
a principle stands outside the door and greets every student
by name. Yeah. Another school in Connecticut where trying to
stop particularly black student attrition, black fathers would stand in

(36:36):
their professional uniforms from where every bus opened the door
to the door and would clap as their children entered
the room. Yeah, that's great, and that's sparking. Where do
we invest where do we add meeting, as you said,
and what's worth celebrating in terms of our civic college apart,

(36:58):
I can I just tak one thing part of like
when I said earlier, gatherers are meaning makers, Like there
is a lot of our civic life, in our democratic
life that actually still works. And sometimes it's actually trying
to figure out where to put the spotlight and saying
this is something to celebrate. It was resonantly rereading their
eyes were watching God by Zoraneil Hurston. And there's this

(37:20):
moment in the book where basically the man she marries
is in this new town and he becomes mayor, and
one of the things he agitates for is getting electricity
into the town. And the first street light arrives and
the narrator basically says something like I just thought we'd
like stick it in the ground. But what I didn't

(37:40):
understand about my husband was that he was a man
of ceremony. And he got the entire town cooking for
three days, and we began to get everyone excited, and
then we gathered around and then the first moment when
there was literally light, the entire town was gathered, everyone clapped.

(38:02):
He understood what and how to make meaning around certain
moments of civic life. And the leaders we mean now
and the citizens are moments to know what to celebrate
and to grow. It's like parenting, like grow the good
and to also I mean like the media I think
is doing a slightly better job at this now than
they were four years ago. It's also like what to
not pay attention to? Yeah, what should remain boring? Just boring?

(38:28):
Don't don't grow agitation, don't grow hate speech, don't grow.
Don't retweet whatever you know so and so might say.
After the break, Preya Parker on how we can reimagine
the ways we gather for democracy. I want to bring

(38:50):
us back to kind of neighborhood's, families, workplaces, these places
where we gather the most. And we got this question
in advance from a listener, Sarah Takehara, who row, some
of us are eager to gather and build community, but
we've been hurt in past community offerings. How do those
of us who are worried about feeling safe and at
home in community move forward? How do we honor our

(39:11):
need to self protect while still actively looking to participate
in the richness of a community gathering? Welcome to being alive?
Do I love again? Do I decide to open my
heart to a friend again? Do I decide to try
something new. What I would say to dear listener is like,
what is your deepest need? Like which community? Whose community?

(39:33):
What are you trying to build a community, trying to
join a community? Are you trying to be in community
with people who have hurt you and you're trying to
create some repair? Are you trying to new people and
you're just feeling a little tender from the where you
were before. And I know I sound like a broken record,
but it's coming back to basics, which is really asking
and pausing, what is the need here? What is my need?
And what do I see the need in this community?

(39:54):
Who might share that need? And then are there boundaries
that you set up well ahead of time time to
create the gatherings you wish existed. I mean, one of
the things I thought was so interesting when I did
research for the Art of Gathering, So the Art of
Gathering as a book is yes, it's me as a
facilitator kind of giving you my lens, But I also
interviewed over one hundred different people, including you, Bartende, including

(40:16):
me and Elizabeth and Elizabeth Stuarts and my wife. Yeah,
and you're both great gatherers and one of the things
I found and I learned from so many people was many, many,
many of these gatherers. And I found these people in
part because these were people who other people consistently credit
with being great gatherers or creating meaningful experiences. One of

(40:36):
the things I found was, again and again and again,
many of these gatherers self identified as introverts, as often
suffering from social anxiety, as people often on the outside
of things. And I it wasn't my frame of what
who we think of as like the magnetic host or
you know, like the person in the middle of the
room who can handle it staying. I hand me the

(40:59):
mic and I asked one person, I said, why do
you think this is? And this person said to me,
I create the gatherings I wish existed in the world. Yeah,
and I don't rely on the uniqueness of my personality.
I create just enough structure and just enough context to
allow people to really know if they want to enter.

(41:19):
And I make sure that there's someone kind of at
the steer of the ship so called, so that there's
a light hand pushing people through. They know what they're
signing up for. And I'm kind of creating just enough
guardrails that I wish I had when I walk into
a room and it's vague and diluted, or I'm getting
cornered by someone forever, but I don't know how to
politely sidestep, and so so often to go to even

(41:41):
to the how do you re engage in community? To
first pause and just ask what kind of community do
you want to create? Like it's not a ad water,
This is an organic and somewhat synthetic designed experience that
takes courage and is risk taking. But also to get
really clear on your intent, I think allows for some

(42:01):
of the courage to be built brave spaces, beautiful courage.
Thank you. This idea of planning gatherings for good controversy,
which is something you've also talked and written about, can
feel a little stressful, well nerve racking, like inviting controversy
maybe conflict, but especially if you're not a trained facilitator.

(42:22):
And you've just spoken about the types of hosts who
who aren't the extroverts, but they want to create something
that they saw missing in the world. You've also added
and said that human connection is as threatened by unhealthy
peace as unhealthy conflict. Break that apart for me, and
then I got to follow over me. So I come

(42:43):
from I'm a child of divorce. When my parents announced
their separation, I and everyone else was shocked because they
never fought. And I understood over many years that I
come on both sides, from my Indian side and from
my white man coincide from my like three generation of ostriches,
people who just bury their heads. Just stick your head

(43:06):
in the sand, hope it passes. And I think, in part,
you know, I'm a conflict resolution facilitator who is conflict
a verse. Oh that's right. I like even now, it's
like start things start to heat up. This is my job.
Things start to heat up, my hands get sweaty, you know,
my heart starts beating. I've trained myself physiologically to like
stay in the game. But I also deep empathy for

(43:28):
those who are conflict of verse. I actually understand their
deep desire to just flee, because I'll want to do
the same. And I think there's some conflicts you just
exit it's actually not worth it or it's revealing. But
part of what I realized as a facilitator is heat
is relevance and whether it's a community trying to figure

(43:52):
out how to allocate its budget, or whether it's a
newspaper designing which six stories get on the front page.
Like it. It goes back to all gathering is political.
All systems kind of have to decide like what are
we about? And the juiciest of those conversations usually have
a lot of heat. So I'll give a simple example
someone I know who was running a team. She had

(44:13):
a weekly staff meeting and she was trying to figure
out basically how she wouldn't use this language, but how
to bring more heat to the room. She was like,
can tell they're not really they're holding back. I can
tell they're not really like saying what they think. I'm
not really sure why. And so I said, you know,
don't try to change everything. The way you open a
gathering matters. How are you opening your meetings? And she
told me, and I said, why don't you try this

(44:34):
for six weeks. You have sixteen minutes, spend the first
five to ten minutes doing a very simple technique called
rose and thorn. And it's something often from parenting circles.
You zip around, you say what's your best thing in
your week and what's the worst thing of the week.
And that's it, and people could decide if it was
work or if it was from their own life. And
I called her up later and I said what happened
and she said, well, first, since we did it regularly,

(44:55):
different people took different risks over time. Some people chose
to just keep it at work. Some people thought work
is more risky. I'm going to keep it, you know.
My two year old stubbed their toe, like, I'm going
to keep this low risk. But basically, over time people
started expanding their geographical conversation in terms of what they said.
But something else happened, which is she said, I this
is her language. I didn't realize that I was. I've

(45:17):
always been perceived as a cheerleader, somebody to like bring
things to and grow. I didn't realize that they didn't
want to bring me bad news. And by shifting, by
starting with a rose and thorn and giving them equal weight,
we culturally normalized thorns. It's okay to bring thorns into
this space. It's okay, and it's not even like even

(45:38):
more than okay. It's normal. And so part of like
really thinking about creating cultures for a healthy conflict. Often
it can be really sometimes you do need an external facilitator,
And like some of the things I would tell you
to do, I would say, don't try this at home.
But one of the things we can all do is
really think about what are in the first five minutes

(45:59):
of how you open something, What is the civic ritual,
even if it's on a zoom chat, of getting people
to practice that muscle in low risk ways. I also
just really appreciate you, the expert, the author, the ted speaker,
the conflict resolution specialist saying my hands field with clammy,

(46:19):
and that we've prized comfort so much in life. In
our economy, we create products to ease all kinds of discomfort,
and in our political and civic life too. So if
something makes us feel icky, we want to crush it
or avoid it, or know or flee from it. And
to see you practicing living with it and sharing stories
of people inviting it, normalizing like discomfort is also part

(46:42):
of the process. I think that's a really essential takeaway
from this. So much of gathering and the way we've
talked about it and the way I've i hear folks
talk about is focused on the hosting. How to host
any tips for guesting? How do we better attend and
guest so that our gatherings it takes, it takes both
those functions. This work is called the art of gathering,

(47:05):
not the art of hosting, in part because I think
guests have a lot of power. Guests absolutely shape a gathering.
If someone is in the room and they are checked out,
everyone can feel it, right, If someone's like texting under
the table, everyone can feel it. And most of us
are guests much more often than we're hosts. That's true
for me, certainly, and so often. To think about, first

(47:28):
of all, sort of stepping all the way back. If
a gathering starts before anyone enters the room, it starts
at the moment of the discovery. First of all, all
these invitations come in invitations. Are these like little vessels,
one gathering at a time to think about, to consider
how do you want to spend your time and with whom?

(47:49):
And to pause and to ask first to build what
I call discernment muscles, which is to pause like, how
is this invitation making me feel? Which ones are you
rolling your eyes at? Which ones make you a gree
Which ones are you like you know what? I'm going
to leave this company? This is so disrespectful, right, like
we react even if you're not paying attention. Which ones
are you so excited that you start clapping when you're

(48:09):
so excited you got invited to something? Just notice? Then
the second as a guest, really thinking about you know,
we talk about nutritional diets, right of a culture or
a community? What does a group of people eat? We
talk about informational diets, what do we read? What do
we doomscroll? When do we limit our doomscrolling? And I
want to introduce the sort of the idea of a

(48:29):
gathering diet, how many what type with home over? What
gatherings do you want to host or guest to maintain
relational health but also boundaried a boundaried life and what's
the right balance for you? And then the final thing
I'll say is in terms of an intentional guest. And

(48:51):
this is like, if you remember nothing else from from
our conversation, an invitation is like someone throwing you a ball,
And so often we think the only way to throw
a ball back is if you can go, is to
say yes. And when it comes to invitations, don't be
a maybe it's a delusion of everybody's energy. Well I go, Well,

(49:12):
I not go keeps this question open your head keeps
their question unless they're literally like, come on by, if
you want open house, no big deal, don't rus would
be great, go do that. But basically to practice either
an enthusiastic yes, yes I choose to go to this,
Yes I want to be there, or a connected no.
We often think saying no is actually not throwing the
ball back. Not responding is not throwing the ball back,

(49:35):
and actually by saying I thank you so much for
thinking of me, I won't be able to make it,
it's actually yeah, it's citizening. It's throwing this ball back.
And so so often, how we actually model these moments
of transaction affects so much about how we spend our time,
in part because then you are choosing what you want
to go to, and to be in a place you
want to be is a beautiful experience, and also you

(49:57):
show up differently, and then not being someplace is also like.
Our gatherings are affected by who's there and who's not there,
and people saying not to stuff is also data interesting,
why did they say no to this? Maybe we should
shift it? Interesting, No one's coming to our conferences here,
Maybe we need to figure out why are they saying no? Right.
It's an ongoing practice and conversation in communities, which is
like trying to figure out what is the need, how

(50:19):
should we gather and who decides? As you know, citizen
is a verb in the title of this show, right,
how to citizen? And so I'm going to ask you
what would be your definition of the word citizen if
you choose to interpret it as we do, as a
verb to pay attention to the needs around you, to

(50:39):
choose with discernment which ones you choose to address, to
galvanize the people with a shared need, and to do
it in a way where you don't all have to
be the same beautiful we are entering the community, ask questions.
This is a q anda. We like to do these

(51:00):
things live, and so if we have Cassandra or Cassandra,
you will tell us which it is and your question. Hi,
thank you so much Cassandra's staff. As what I say,
I respond to both. And I'm in San Jose, California.
This has been very interesting and inspiring. I am starting
a new job soon and I'm wondering if you have
any advice for gatherings to establish meaningful connections with about

(51:23):
one hundred people in my first ninety days on a
nonprofit budget, and you know, something like an alternative to
surveys and one on ones. So two questions, is it
online or in person or a mix mostly in person?
And do you have institutional authority? I will, you will. So,
first of all, the reason I ask about the institutional

(51:45):
authority is in a work context, like who is calling
the meeting? And your ability to call a meeting or
gathering really depends on what type of power and role
you have in an organization. And I mean I will
just I'll give a few examples of different forms that
I think have been effective for people. The first is
think about what are the types of gatherings that are
low pressure but high interest. So what I mean by

(52:08):
that is something like a brown bag lunch, right starting
a series speaker series that's a you know, local activists
in the San Jose area. I'm making this up right
where you come in and it's voluntary, but they're every
Tuesday at noon, there's a brown bag lunch. Right. It's
broadly informal, but you're also seeing kind of who's coming,
particularly if it's in person, like the before chat, the
after chat, like it's low stakes, but it's relevant to

(52:30):
the organization. One of my favorite books of the last
year is Oliver Berkman's four Thousand Weeks? Do you Know?
Do you know what four thousand weeks is? So? Four
thousand weeks is the number of weeks one has in
their life should they be lucky enough to live till eighty.
So the subtitle of the book is time management for Mortals.

(52:53):
And the second half of the book is really interesting
for me and the people who are interested in kind
of gathering in collective life, because he talks about this
concept called the social regulation of time. And this idea
is basically that when we choose to come together at
the same time at the same place, by definition, we're
giving up some amount of individual freedom. Right can I

(53:15):
listen to the meeting whenever I want? Or do I
need to be there in person at the same time
at the same place. And he talks about this Swedish
tradition called the fika, and he says, in Sweden, in
many workplaces at around three o'clock, everybody gets up and
goes and has a coffee in the office. And this
is different than having like a cappuccino machine or coffee
machine you kind of go to whenever you want. This

(53:36):
is a social regulation of time. And one of the
managers in the book said, if I want to know
what's happening in my workplace, I attend the FIKA. And
he says it's not required, but you'd get a side eye,
you know, a Swedish side eye if you don't go.
And again I'm not saying like you should institute a FICA.
You have to figure out what is your cultural appropriate
way to have low stakes but high relevant scatherings. And

(53:57):
some of this is also running a bunch of experiments.
Who are these people? Are these people who are really
interested for novelty and saying, Wow, it's so amazing having
all these outside speakers or is this a culture? It's like,
why are they bringing in all these outsiders? Right, experiment?
But I would have specific and focused ways in the
first ninety days in which you are sharing your agenda,
you're letting them get to know you. And then I

(54:18):
would have ways in which it feels more low stakes
but still relevant to the organization. It's not gratuitous connection
for connection's sake, it's connection to the purpose of your organization.
Thank you, We're going to call on Katie Riley. Hello,
and oh what a treat. So I'm Katie. I'm an organizer.

(54:40):
I live in Queens, New York, and um, you know,
big fan of democracy and citizenship. So this is super cool. Um,
you know, as somebody who is very fond of the
harder gathering, of thinking about different ways to gather. Like,
where do you see the most untapped potential right now
in creating gatherings, particularly for organizers and people who really

(55:01):
care about protecting democracy? Beautiful question. The most untapped opportunity
right now is to create pockets and moments of deep joy.
We have models like during the pandemic, Saint James Joy,
this couple, as I understand it, who basically DJed off
their Brooklyn stoop and you know, and people would come

(55:22):
and dance and kind of get it out once particularly
we knew that it was safe to be outside together.
But I think so much of what's happening in this country,
there's so many underlying structural reasons as to why we
are a hot mess. To put it, sociologically scientific inequality,
the loss and confusion around roles in so many different ways.

(55:43):
And like when I look at kind of I talked
earlier about almost like metaphorically reading of bodies. I would
go back to that parking lot example, which is like many, many,
many people are lonely. Many many, many people aren't doing
this the basic steps of like getting outside and doing
something that's fun. We've been kind of like physiologically crouched

(56:06):
for two and a half years for a lot of
different reasons and having pockets of joy. And there's so
many examples, even during the BLM protests, of like the
Cupid shuffle in the middle of the street, right that
we don't not know how to do this. But I
think so often we think like we need to have
these intellectual discussions, and so often like we need the
medicine of joy, of relief, of laughter, of humor, and

(56:30):
ideally of experiencing some of that with strangers, and part
of creating spaces that you literally feel safe in public spaces.
It's not a lack of danger, it's a presence of beauty,
of joy, of laughter, of release. And the second thing

(56:50):
I would say is we've been through a traumatic period
with the pandemic, and it's it's continued. We're still living
a different phase of the pandemic. But for multiple years
we were as a nation like in like deep fear.
And I think that the second civic need is finding
appropriate ways to grieve, beautiful answers. The thing that bridges

(57:14):
this for me with Katie's question, your answer prea is
the Lincoln Memorial. I recently was in Washington, d C.
For a big civic event, popped over to the Lincoln
Memorial with friends and at the foot of the Lincoln
Memorial was a group of teenagers dancing. They had loudspeakers,
they were choreographed. We thought, is this a music video?

(57:38):
Is this a TikTok challenge? And I so I went
up to two of these kids, Let's say, what is
this beautiful thing? And they're like, oh, they had a
name for it. They just know each other through Instagram,
but they don't know each other like they know that
they're connected to this thing. And it was a flash
dance mob and they were so happy. The physical metaphor

(57:58):
of one of them being in their body and expressing
joy of being around strangers, of being in a public
space between the Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pool that
was America, Like that was the best of citizening and
gathering and joy and it's everything that Katie asked, and
it's everything you answered. In an instance, they're breaking our
idea of the form of what is supposed to look

(58:21):
like honoring. Right. It was like silent, hollowed tones of
going and that may be honoring in some places, right,
but to reclaim we can do this right And it's
and it's kind of controversial, like in certain cases, is
what does it look like to honor? And so I
love this example in part because it's actually bringing relevance

(58:43):
to the most one of the most important physical symbols
that we have in the country. I appreciate you Prea Parker,
thank you for having me a total joy, it really is.
And I think there's something elemental in your interpretation of
the of how to and the power of gathering that
what we see reflected that feels ugly and unapproachable and

(59:06):
even dangerous, and some elements of our politics and civic
life could be addressed if we gather differently, and if
we practiced differently, and even if we said no differently
but said something and leaned into discomfort in someplace. But
most essentially, if we acknowledge the need, if we discover
that need and then with that clear discovery, find creative

(59:27):
ways to meet them, and are always honest about needing
to refresh that because some old ways we have may
not be discovering or meeting our needs. And that's okay,
let's do something different. So you've provoked and inspired. I
appreciate you so much, Thank you so much, beautifully summarized.
You are a beautiful host and you listen so deeply
and I couldn't put it myself, so thank you for

(59:50):
having me, and thank you for letting me part of
your community. Thank you for being a part of ours,
so so much, Thank you so much for having me.
Love love, love thy 'all. Priya's instruction to stop and
assess the purpose and need of these moments is a powerful,
clear takeaway to help us make the time we spend

(01:00:10):
together more meaningful and more relevant. Before this conversation, I'd
never thought of the act of gathering as a technology,
specifically in the context of morality. When Priya described Trump
rallies those gatherings as morally neutral, that was kind of
like a record scratch moment. But as someone with so

(01:00:31):
many thoughts and feelings about what technology is and means,
it made sense. Gatherings to me, are a real low
tech technology. And we often think of technology as a
hardware as software, and it can be represented in those modes.
But technology is a reproducible practice. It's a way of
coordinating our knowledge, and I think gatherings qualify in the

(01:00:55):
same way that Ruha Benjamin, one of our earlier guests,
talked about social technology. Gatherings are a social technology, and
it's a technology that can help us get things done.
Gatherings can help us see each other, hear new ideas,
reach consensus, can help us citizen or they can help
destroy the fabric of democracy. It all depends on how

(01:01:18):
we use them, and like with all tech, gatherings need
to be honestly assessed and reimagined when they no longer
serve us. So follow me on this little journey. If
we can get more creative, playful and purposeful and the
ways we bring people together and show up, I think
that can have a bubbling up effect where with time

(01:01:39):
we can start to embody a different way of being
together in our every day and I think that could
change how we come together on very special days like
election days. Gathering better can help us citizen better. Now

(01:02:00):
it's time for some actions like we always do. Here
are things you can do to practice what we've been hearing.
We've organized these into three categories. The first category internal reflection,
something you can do inside your own head. I want
you to think about gatherings in your life. Try to
think of a great one where you felt connected, fulfilled,

(01:02:23):
and a sense of purpose. Now, try to think of
a bad one where you felt the opposite of those things.
Think about it. There's any gatherings that really surprised you
versus what you expected of them. And as you reflect
on these, can you identify what about the gathering made
you feel the way you do about it now. The

(01:02:43):
second recommendation is in the category of getting more informed.
Check out Preya's conversation with Brene Brown on her Dare
to Lead podcast. Will have it linked in the show notes.
They go through an example of prey as gathering Makeover,
which is focused on improving a weekly leadership. That may
not sound like it has anything to do with practicing democracy,

(01:03:04):
but it's got everything to do with literally practicing democracy.
And our final recommendation is an action in the form
of public participation. I want you to check out pre
as brand new digital course on the art of gathering.
It's specifically designed to help you plan an upcoming gathering,
whether it's a wedding, a weekly meeting, or something in between.

(01:03:27):
With purpose and with meaning. Head to course dot preaparker
dot com and use the code baratun Day for fifteen
percent off. I know right, I got a code. It's
my name, so cool. If you take any of these actions,

(01:03:48):
please brag about it online and use the hashtag how
to Citizen. Also tag our Instagram how to Citizen, or
you can email us comments at how to citizen dot com.
I am always online and I really do see your messages,
so send them. You can also visit our website, howard
to citizen dot com, which has all of our shows,

(01:04:08):
full transcripts, actions and more. Finally, see this episode show
notes for resources, actions and more ways to connect. How
to Citizen with barrettun Day is a production of iHeartRadio
Podcasts and row Home Productions. Our executive producers are me
barrettun Day, Thurston, and Elizabeth Stewart. Our lead producer is

(01:04:31):
Ali Graham. Our associate producer is Donia Abdelhamide. Alex Lewis
is our managing producer, and John Myers is our executive
editor and mixed engineer. Original music by Andrew Eapen with
additional music by Blue Dot Sessions. Special thanks to Joel
Smith from iHeartRadio and lay Labina. Next, on how to Citizen,

(01:05:04):
I think it's important if you're going to be involved
in the community and involved in some kind of social
change that you're looking for, find a passion, find something
that you're particularly interested in, and focus on it and
read about it and get to know your subject. For me,
that topic is gun violence. I lost my dad to
gun violence when I was eighteen years old, and so

(01:05:26):
that issue is my passion. NBA Championship winning coach Steve
Kerr talks teamwork and flexing our civic muscles on and
off the court with leaders from the world of college athletics.
We all belong to a team, so what can we
learn from people who practice teamwork as their job. Yes,
we're running hard with the sports metaphor, but it works.

(01:05:48):
Find out how on the next episode, Row Home Productions
Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

Dateline NBC
The Nikki Glaser Podcast

The Nikki Glaser Podcast

Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.

Connect

© 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.