by Tree Bressen
A while back my home community decided to start having some of our weekly meetings use a looser approach than the usual business meeting. Called "floofy" meetings, we originally said we'd hold them every 3rd meeting, but in actuality it's ended up being more like every 4th meeting.
We give wide latitude to the "floofymeister," a position which rotates on a wheel among all housemates, to decide what we do at each floofy meeting. Originally we said that floofy meetings would focus on either: (1) dealing with big community issues that don't fit easily into a regular business agenda, or (2) getting to know each other better. What's actually ended up happening is that the big community issues do get dealt with during regular meetings, and so the floofies are a combo of: (1) getting to know each other better, and (2) having fun together. Here are some examples of floofies we have done.
1. Sharing on how we celebrated the holidays when we were growing up (done near winter solstice)
2. Ritual on "deep time" drawn from Joanna Macy's work where we step into a conversation between people living now and people living 7 generations from now (done at Samhain)
3. Drum circle, including some teaching
4. Telling stories and sharing photographs of people who are important to us
5. Talking about what we are proud of in how each of us spends our days
6. Playing Balderdash
7. Painting pictures of "what Walnut St. means to me" and then showing them to each other
8. Sharing circle with longer-than-usual check-ins for each person to talk about how they're doing
9. A housemate who'd just returned from a trip to Tanzania showing us pictures and talking about her experiences
10. Going out to the local pub together and playing the "Getting Real" game (which has questions designed to help people connect in more depth)
Note that floofies are held in the same time and place as our regular meetings and there is the same expectation that everyone shows up.
In designing your own meetings, remember that what's most important is that you come up with something that meets the needs of your community (which probably include all 3 purposes listed above: dealing with big issues, getting to know each other better, and having fun together) rather than that you do it the same way as us. And you might not choose to meet all these purposes through floofy meetings, some might be met in other ways.