Intergenerational Practice and Space

Intergenerational Practice and Space

This week, Network Weaver is excited to share a 3-part series by Root. Rise. Pollinate! on fostering connection in virtual space. The series was originally published earlier this year at The Reverb.

How we can create beautiful connections and discoveries across generations.

Posts one and two of this series focused on setting virtual space and intentionally cultivating and sustaining the kind of energy required to be in non-physical space together. In this final post of the series, we center the “who” — the mix of people to invite into and be in space with, especially in light of the isolation that’s come with observing COVID-19 physical distancing safety measures. Here we lift up the beauty, imperative for, and power of intergenerational space.

What’s Possible When Young, Middling, and Elders Come Together?

Dominant narratives (including in organizing) often pit young versus old against each other, and render elders as spent, disposable, or out of touch. Our movements too often sideline both younger and older generations, and seldom do we meet. Yet many of us who’ve sat down for conversation or play with elders or those who are younger than us, including babies, know and relish the beautiful connections and discoveries that we can experience in encounters across generations.

We, present day dwellers of Mother Earth are here because of, and through our ancestors, just as some day our descendants will be here because of and through us.

We learn from and listen to messages from the past in order to seed the future, and we too must draw on and commune with all of us — young, old, and in-between — both human and non-human beings.

As you design your virtual space and identify different community members to share breath, ritual, and movement practices, pay attention to the mix, in terms of age, of who gets to hold space. You could pair the youngest and oldest members of your community to share old or new practices that they create together. Or perhaps you could have an intergenerational mix of people in breakout rooms together for intimate conversations and mutual learning. Importantly for learning and deepening relationship, make space for the virtual community to then share what they have heard from each other, what challenged them, what they are grateful for, and what they would like to cultivate and take beyond the virtual space with them. And remember to invite community members to acknowledge, express appreciations, and create opportunities to continue to connect with each other beyond the virtual space.

These physically distanced times have created an opportunity for us to cultivate and create sacred intergenerational relationships that we rarely get in organizing and “movement” spaces.

As we close out this series of posts, we also share with you the power and connection that comes out of being intentional in how you close your virtual space. The beginning is just as important as the end as the end is in fact another new beginning.

Just as we invited you to open and arrive with ritual and breath practice, we invite you to have in place ways in which you bring your space to close. Options include:

  • Inviting community members to share short reflections, gratitude, a song, or a poem
  • Physically replicate hugging and sharing an embrace with each other
  • Rubbing your hands together to generate heat and move energy, then sharing that out by holding your palms out to community members on the other side of the screen, and then receiving the heat and energy to hug ourselves

We hope you enjoyed this series and would love to hear about other rituals, breath, and movement practices that you’re trying out or have found particularly potent in your own virtual gatherings.

Originally published April 16, 2021 at The Reverb.

Root, Rise, Pollinate! is an experiment that aims to catalyze and nurture a transnational community of feminist human rights advancers, organizers and movement builders using embodied practice for social transformation.

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