potlucking with trees


Welcoming you to this place, wherever you're joining from today. You may have recently joined this Be With Cassandra homebase from a recent gathering together On Nurturing Your Sense of Place.

I welcome you if you're new here.

I welcome you if you're old here.

I welcome you here if you feel timeless and ageless!

I welcome you if you're time here has felt timeless and ageless!

Yesterday I stood in between these two "sister" trees. One of the routes Ernest and I walk when we're in this forest includes a dip down to the creek and then a steep climb up on the other side.

I squat/crawl/slide my way down and find exposed roots to hold onto as I make my way up. Ernest easefully runs down and often leaps over the creek and runs all the way up the other side (often before I've even started my descent.

After the climb, my heart pumps loudly. I stand in between these sister trees, a palm on each trunk. I feel the warmth from the climb and the protection being aligned with these beings.

two tall pines with some moss growing at their bases, a small path in between both trees. trees are surrounded on the forest floor by gerns, vines, and other trees.

Leaning against the tree friend on the left, I jot this down on my Notes app:

Not really needing more knowledge / really needing more connective conversation and heightening of the level of importance of talking / talking about these ideas and / potluck and ideas like mixing and matching

Let's get into these fragments

Towards the end of On Nurturing Your Sense of Place, I asked the participants to fill in these feedforward prompts with their personal perspectives:

  • “Something that worked well for me was…”
  • “This could be made even better by…”

I've been practicing intentionally integrating feedback (or feedforward, reflection... so many wonderful terms to call it!) into live experiences rather than request that something be filled out after.

Sending a survey after the fact, I've learned, can make the feedback appear to be – and in reality be – an afterthought when really feedback/feedforward/reflection IS A HUGE PART OF HOW WE LEARN! Both for the designated learner/participant as well as the learner/facilitator.

Throughout the workshop, we played with this generative "Mad Tea Chat" approach that I learned from a workshop with Marlee Grace.

More about Mad Tea Chat

How Liberating Structures, the group that formed the Mad Tea approach, practices it in person

Online version of Mad Tea

Responses cascaded in

Each time we clicked 'enter' altogether, magic floated around the space.

Connection and conversation were the common threads woven from these two prompts.

Sure, people had come to this workshop to learn new knowledge but based on this feedforward, something else was even more needed and desired.

Not really needing more knowledge / really needing more connective conversation and heightening of the level of importance of talking / talking about these ideas and / potluck and ideas like mixing and matching

One beloved element (for me) of this workshop was sharing and adding to a three circle Venn Diagram (I really love three circle Venn Diagrams) of how to nurture one's sense of place in the role of a child, of an educator, and of a primary caregiver.

This generative space of co-creation (re)centers the reality that there is no one way to nurture one's sense of place.

There is no one way of doing anything!

It can be a challenge to get to that reality if there's just one person (in this case, me as the facilitator) creating and talking the whole way through the experience.

I'm here for the potlucking of ideas

I'm here to make and hold space for those potlucks to flourish.

We all have so much to share.

You have so much to share.

We have abundant opportunities to combine all this goodness together into real magic.

Why not make more intentional space more often for you to be able to share? for us to be able to mix and match together?

Til next time,


P.S. Question submissions have been extended and are open til this Friday 2/25 for questions to co-creators that will be a part of the co-creation publication's inaugural editions.

(I know the buttons on the page are totally green, working on a back-end fix but to make it simple, you can go straight here to the form to submit a question or two).

P.P.S. I'm writing this at a coffee shop that I wrote my first posts on Be With Cassandra back in the summer. I was in the midst of the transition from my newsletters on Substack (experiments in belonging and Well-Resourced) and making BWC into a space ready to welcome. Feels sweet to have a touchpoint memory like this.