GRIT & PEARLS
The newsletter of the ITZI Conference “NO PEARL WITHOUT GRIT: The psychology of suffering and awakening”
Soesterberg, Netherlands in September 2019.
The latest conference leaflet is now at http://dld.bz/gSxwJ - do put it around.
This first issue of GRIT & PEARLS is being distributed to
- everybody who attended the last conference in Belgium
- conference organisers
- Amida Academy people
- those who have already booked for Conference 2019
- additional friends who might be interested.
If you would rather not receive it, it is easy to unsubscribe - just click the button at the bottom.
The idea is
- to share thinking about the ITZI Conference 2019,
- to prepare the ground, so that the community is already forming
- to give advance notice of conference features and events as they develop
- to provide a medium for your input.
EACH CONFERENCE GETS BETTER
Speaking for those of us most centrally involved in this process, one of the things that has focussed our attention is the fact that although the first conference in Spain was good, the second, in Belgium, seemed noticeably better. You may agree. Some hunches about why the second conference was more engaging follow, but there may well be other factors too. Event leaders at the second conference - even when it was the same people - seemed to engage the audience more effectively and share in a more personal way. They did not simply present their material, but got the audience doing things - responding to questions, doing exercises, engaging in role play, and so on. There were also more instances of audience members engaging directly with the event leader. I would really like to see this trend continue.
THE FEMALE TOUCH
Another factor was that at the second conference there were more women presenters - did this make a difference? Encouraging more women to lead events came out of direct feedback at the end of the first conference.
Also, there was a greater proportion of leaders who had relatively little experience of presenting at events of this kind. I do remember that one of the more engaging presentations at the first conference had been by an event leader who was doing it for the first time. You cannot generalise too far from this observation, but it can be the case that new people bring a vitality and freshness that old hands, like myself, have less of. Certainly, we have no intention that the ITZI conference become - like so many conferences - a celebrity showcase. Vitality, ingenuity, engagement and interesting chemistry are higher priorities. It also seems to me that it can be an important function of ITZI to provide a springboard for people who are not already “on the circuit” to present their thing and that can enrich all of us greatly.
This brings me to another factor that I sense is of considerable importance, which is that for many of us this has become a community. The sheer fact that we had been together in Spain made seeing each other again in Belgium seem like a homecoming. I was so excited seeing familiar faces. Maybe you were too. We are creating something here that is a bit different from the circuits of presenters who do the rounds at many other conferences. I think that what we are doing is creating a real “conference” - a place where we confer and meet more as peers than as teachers and pupils of stars and fans. That seems to me to be immensely valuable.
MAKING IT HAPPEN
It is great to have good ideals. There are also practicalities. This time we have taken a risk in going for a higher quality venue. The conference fee is higher by exactly the proportion by which the venue cost is higher. Somehow we have to find about 25K euro. The venue promises to be great and should make for a very nice event, but to be viable we need to fill it! I am confident that we shall, but one can never predict the future completely. There are always factors outside of one’s control. Being a conference organiser can be nerve-wracking.
In order for this conference to be a success we need to attract as many people as possible. If there is anything you can do to promote it, please do. Here are some suggestions:
- repost (don't just "like") announcements on Facebook, Linked-In, twitter, etc
- invite people to the Facebook or ning sites
- circulate the conference leaflet on whatever networks you are connected to
- get the conference into other media - can anybody get us into instagram, for instance?
- send me suggestions, you probably have better ideas than I do.
If you are attending or running events in the near future - other conferecnes, workshops, classes, gatherings - do take the opportunity to talk about the conference and get people interested. You are the best ambassadors!
MAKE A FILM - YES, YOU CAN!!
These days even if you do not have video equipment, most ordinary cameras are capable of shooting a two minute movie. Please, please have a go. Talk to the camera about your experience of the last conference, your enthusiasm about ITZI and the conference project, about the importance of international mutual support by Buddhist inspired therapists, about an event that you would like to run at the coming conference, or simply talk about your work and say that is why you are coming, whatever. Send us the film. If it needs editing we can do it for you if you wish, so no worries.
IT IS NOT TOO EARLY TO RESERVE YOUR OWN PLACE
Booking early will greatly help the conference planning. This is especially true if you are offering to run an event at the conference as we shall build the programme around offerings by people who are definitely coming. However, it is also important in order to secure accommodation at the venue. Once we have a deposit we can reserve you a room. The nightmare for organisers is that one does not book sufficient rooms and has to turn people down who book late or that we reserve rooms on spec for people who do not show up. So booking now is good for you and enables we who are doing the organising to stay sane!
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