Finding True Consensus

Using Theater of the Oppressed during Community Connections

a guest post by Tenar Flynn

In my community I find myself more alone than I would expect in a place where people are coming together to share resources, to garden, to eat, and to live close to the earth. My community is not very tight-knit, and doesn’t desire to be as a whole, though I and many others crave closer connection. Through my experience in the Art of Being Human workshops I am becoming particularly aware of where we could be. In my home life, I find myself lonely, but I am also part of a world where we are present together, where we learn to understand each other, to express ourselves as we are, and to shed what no longer serves us.

In the Art of Being Human workshops I find that communication is so intentional, so meaningful and valued that the time is spent to make sure we do not lose our individual pieces in translation. A place where we speak to create a shared world, not to hear ourselves talk or to feel accomplished in our listening. Here, I may not always feel that my own experience is entirely seen in all of its aspects, but I feel confident that we have created a shared experience, that I understand where people are coming from and that if I speak, my friends will offer curiosity to explore the piece I am offering in depth, so that they can better understand me, so that I can better understand how others see me and how I can more effectively communicate in the future. When I come together in community with the tools that are offered at these workshops, I have space to explore what it means to share my experience. I learn how others see, and I get a diversity of experiences that help me compare and contrast my own.

Finding consensus

I am performing for love. I am asleep to myself. I am doubtful, and fearful. I do not sleep well at night, I do not know how to ask for what I need, and I shun my own power – but when I am given a space where I can trust that I am well-held, my neatly folded and tied corners dissolve and I show much more of what I could be. Something magical happens when people come together to be present with each other, to bring our often solitary, rich inner lives – our thoughts, our emotions, our joy and pain, forward into the collective to be shared. With this, I feel less alone, I feel seen and loved, and I can surrender the pieces I bring to the collective organism, trusting that they are recognized and protected. We come together with less conflict, and our motions are smoother and more flexible in how we respond to the world and each other. This is true consensus – transparency within an organism, bonded with compassion, trust, and shared vision.


Tenar FlynnTenar has been participating in Living Awareness workshops since early 2019. When not helping to assist Art of Being Human workshops or attending weekly meetings, you can find Tenar in the garden at Maitreya Eco-village or making some incredibly yummy food in the community kitchen.



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