Christina Strutt and The Essence of the ACOL Companion Facebook Group
Christina Strutt, the moderator of the first ever ACOL Facebook group, and Center for A Course of Love Board Member Emeritus, developed guidelines for sharing on Facebook that can be found in the drop down link “Essence of Facebook.” I thank her for her service and friendship, then as now.
A Course of Love’s Facebook Group
Very few of us participating in this group have before seen such groups as having the ability to share the depth that this group does. It is not a place where people toss quotes about but one where experiences, feelings, and insights are freely shared and where loving response is given. True feelings of companionship in union and relationship have arisen. You are lovingly invited to join ACOL Facebook Group.
This piece is a distillation of my experience being present – both as a participant and as a moderator – in loving relationship with all the members of the first ACOL Companion Facebook Group. During my tenure, (Mar 2015 to Sep 2016) the group grew from a dozen to over 600 in number, hailing from all over the world.
Each member participated in their own unique way, whether posting or not posting, visible or invisible, sharing a few words or many paragraphs. Each member was invited to be very much present, in relationship with all others, sharing and joining in love, all of the time. As ACOL describes so beautifully –
“All relationship is relationship with God Who Is Love. We, all of us together, are the heartbeat of the world (C30.10,13). Because we are one heart, one mind, one Self, we can only know our selves through sharing in unity and relationship. (D:Day 11.12).
Join with others who are experiencing the expanding awareness of the time of Christ, and you will begin to see the evidence that things are different now. Join with others who are coming to know through the state of unity, and the evidence to the contrary will be overwhelming. You will begin to truly understand that you are not alone and separate, and that even the coming to know of the state of unity is a shared coming to know, a coming to know in relationship.” (D:13.8)
I found that:
~Groups chronicle a daily unfolding of lives receiving and living the message of ACOL.
~Everyone present – posting or not – and everything that is happening, is perfect.
~All are held with loving intention, joining heart-to-heart. We are one Whole Heart.
~ACOL is a web of relationships, strengthened by wholehearted sharing.
~Mari sits like a fat juicy spider at the center of this web, welcoming all.
~Group members gather in dialogue, strengthening union and relationship with all.
~Resting in true dialogue, we practice listening deeply and appreciating wholeheartedly.
~We suspend our judgments, assumptions, and knowing a right answer beyond our own.
~Our dialogue welcomes all posts sharing personal experiences living ACOL.
~Experiences shared as they are unfolding in our lives—the more current the better.
~Experiences of non-ACOL words and how they evoke and echo ACOL’s message to us.
~Questions, wonderings, challenges, sorrows, joys and triumphs as we live deeply.
~ACOL dialogue builds understanding, appreciation, and deeply shared meaning.
~We weave the threads of our unique and varied experiences into a meaningful whole.
~Responding is inviting members to turn inwards, to listen first, then respond.
~There is no teaching in the dialogue, there is nothing to correct, nothing to fear.
~There is no conflict. Only distinct experiences. Uniquely expressed. And uniquely received.
~Disagreements are an invitation to remain open, spacious and inclusive.
~Building meaning, relationship and joining – inviting members back into this embrace.
~Members participate as and when they feel prompted. There are no requirements.
~Everything that happens is in loving service of our shared heart.
~Moderators are members of the ACOL web. There is no hierarchy.
~Moderators, living deeply into ACOL, are in service to all members.
~All members are moderators in truth, as all are in service to each other.
~Moderators demonstrate loving dialogue and responsiveness by example.
~Moderating is rarely needed in a ‘policing’ sense of removing posts, or blocking.
~Response to a complaint is an invitation to first look inwards, then respond from the heart.
~Response to a non-ACOL related post is an invitation to share the felt relationship.
~And so we keep on keeping on, being with each other and sharing ourselves wholeheartedly –
“Allow yourself, now, to experience your arrival, your return to your true home, your return to your Self. Laugh. Cry. Shout or wail. Dance and sing. Spin a new web. The web of freedom. In other words express your Self. You who do not feel confident in your feelings, who do not feel confident in your ability to respond, who do not as yet feel the freedom of the new, allow yourself now, to do so. Allow freedom to reign, for it is your allowance, your choice, your permission, that will make it so. The only one who can stop you now is yourself. The only permission you ever needed was your own. We will practice here to build your confidence, a confidence sorely lacking. What confidence is it of which we speak? The confidence to be yourself.” – D:Day9.2-5
(Along with Christina, I was a regular contributor in those years. For both of us it was our first time on Facebook. I wrote then: “Very few of us participating in this group have before seen such groups as having the ability to share the depth that this group does. It is not a place where people toss quotes about but one where experiences, feelings, and insights are freely shared and where loving response is given.” I made many friends through that group. While that time passed for me, I feel that for many others, Facebook can fulfill a particular need for a particular time. Whether your time is brief or extended, it may, like mine, provide lasting treasures of friendship and inspiration.
As Christina shared with me recently, “This page records an important piece of our work together . . . a precious and tender time of beginning something new. We didn’t know what we were doing. Yet we did it. One heartfelt step at a time! Trusting in our collective experience and knowing.
Think of all the new people we welcomed in. All the hearts we reached. It was, and is, a beautiful thing.”
We pass this along with love ~ Mari and Christina)