Utopias are usually fueled by very invested and motivated individuals and communities. That is a space of overlap of interests, desires and longings between the personal, the comunal and the political. The Wayfinder Mandala is a meditative and introspective guided tool that allows for embodied reflection around our past, present and futures.
Community work is, above all, a collective learning process. A process of understanding how to work together, how to do it in an effective way, how to take care of everyone in the journey… The Wayfinder Mandala helps individuals and groups create a snapshot of their emotional and inner states. It also constitutes an ideal tool for collectively reflecting around the inner drives, motivations and “whys” in a group of people. Finding someone’s “whys” is not a one-time reflection but an ongoing process. For being used at the beginning of a new learning journey, or just looking for an opportunity to zoom out and see the big picture. These snapshots constitute a log of a community engagement towards its consolidation and goals fulfillment. The Wayfinder Target will help you do that by giving you a powerful visual metaphor and clear structure for seeing the many parts of you at once. As such, it will help you create an inventory of everything you have in your head, heart, hands, and kin in your past, present, and future.
Roles Facilitator (a facilitator of the process is highly recommended). In the case of not having anyone to adopt the facilitator's role, there’s a recorded version of the meditation that can be played in the background for guidance. A group of participants. Supplies. You’ll need: A large sheet of paper (flipchart size), whiteboard, or other large surface to write on. Crayons for the lines and pencils or colored pencils for within. (Markers or pens are fine also.) Setup and environment. Setting is important: Find a quiet place without distractions. Bonus points if it is serene and beautiful. Taking this with you into nature is highly recommended. Consider lighting a candle, breathing or meditating, exercising or any other practice that helps you feel grounded before you begin. Solo or Shared. Both are fine! This activity is a rich solo reflection, but you will find that you may want others to debrief what you have uncovered. Doing the reflection together with a group or partner is a great way to build this in. Care practices. After the reflection… Most people at this point feel an urge to dive deeper into certain sections that were difficult or thought-provoking, or to explore specific questions that came up. That’s natural. Remember that the point isn’t what goes on the page, but noticing what you learn in the process. For your next steps from here, the most important thing is to actually make time for a regular rhythm and practice of reflection, in whatever way you know works for you.
Note for facilitators It's highly recommended to use this activity in groups. It creates shared language within a group for their own learning and growth, and gives you a built-in group of peers for processing or brainstorming right after completing the reflection. If you are a facilitator, you are welcome to either simply play the recording in the room and build on it afterwards. It is also recommended (more time required) to listen to the guided recording a few times on your own first to get a hang of the questions and prompts in your own head, then facilitating the activity yourself.
This tool is to be used specially along the following movements presented in the Prefigurating Utopia framework.
Open Master’s site
Alan Webb and Sarah Bradley, Open Master’s community CC BY-NC-SA 3.0