The inspiration for OUR Place is to design community centers that
• Facilitate OUR personal, community and planetary evolution through loving, caring local gathering places
• Act as a meeting place for many organizations
• Create a means for us to build OUR networks
• Act as examples of the best sustainability business practices practicing living lightly on the planet
• Use spiritual, higher consciousness principals to “succeed” in the market place
• Use commercially viability to source outreach services
Create and “Be the change we wish to see in the world”
In order help save our planet’s ecological system, foster sustainability, progressive social, political goals and universal spiritual values, the mission of OUR Place is to create integrative structures and services that grow OUR individual and collective spiritual and economic power.
By creating a chain of socially responsible coffee-tea houses within higher consciousness educational centers, we gather like-minded neighbors and grow our community and our impact.
We contribute to a better world by moving consumer dollars and entertainment/educational time to this higher consciousness model. Financial viability helps create right livelihood for those involved. Profits are invested in outreach work.
We hospice the old paradigm and midwife the new.
Visualizing OUR Place
Visualize a retro-eco kitchen where you have coffee and hang out, meet new people and gather with friends. Perhaps you sit on the front porch or drop by at the beginning of the day to do Tai Chi in community. Imagine that you can offer an evening’s workshop here to help grow your work. Now imagine that you are a member or even a co-owner. This is a place where you choose to spend your time and money because the caring, loving, kind energy lifts you up. The fact that this place supports things you care about for yourself, the community and the planet make a big difference, too. You find ways to participate. Every neighborhood needs an OUR Place.
OUR Place Market
OUR Place is designed to serve and grow what is being called -- in marketing lingo -- the Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability market. We are a big market!
“LOHAS is an acronym that stands for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability and describes a $230 billion U.S. marketplace for goods and services that appeal to consumers who value health, the environment, social justice, personal development and sustainable living. These consumers are variously referred to as Cultural Creatives or LOHAS Consumers and represent a sizable group in this country: approximately 30 percent of adults, or 63 million consumers…
“The holistic worldview of the LOHAS Consumer believes in the interconnectedness of global economies, cultures, environments and political systems but also in the interconnectedness of mind, body and spirit within individuals in order to achieve full human potential. Personal Development is of utmost concern to LOHAS Consumers. Spirituality is no longer relegated to the New Age periphery but has immigrated to the center.”
The intention of OUR Place is to provide an alternative structure for the political progressives, environmentalist and those into what is alternatively called “The New” and “Progressive” Spirituality to build their influence. In addition, when people come to OUR Place they put their time and money where their proverbial “mouth is.” For some people OUR Place will be an alternative to the “Y” or church. For some it will be a better, more friendly and multifunctional Starbucks.
“Hospice the Old Paradigm – Midwife the New”
The integrative design of OUR Place is intended to create a platform to shift paradigms and forward the values we believe in and wish to foster in the world.
Values of OUR Place
• We are the growing number who put their spiritual values high on our list
• We know that major steps must be made to save our planet
• We embrace diversity in our paths and our being
• We value peace on earth
• We value community
• We value the opportunity to consciously co-create
• We value being in a space where we feel nurtured, cared about, raised up and challenged
• We value kindness, love, caring and good will as powerful creative forces
• We choose to consciously co-create OUR evolution
Holding the Vision and Staying on Purpose
How do we intentionally and practically use our higher consciousness to create these evolutionary educational centers that serves OUR Core Values? How do we determine how to structure OUR Place and decide what products and services, classes, etc. should be offered?
In order to keep us on tract with a high purpose, it is the intention to use the kinesiology process tested and used by David R. Hawkins, M.D., PhD, and described in his book Power vs. Force to help guide our way.
The Hierarchy of Higher Needs
OUR Place’s design is intended to serve many of people self-actualizing needs and desires:
• Community and the synergies it can provide
• Self care and ways to reduce stress
• Time to take courses, read, have fun - yet simplify life
• Spontaneity and not having to schedule everything in advance
• Balance and healthy living
• Sense of purpose
• Service to community, country and planet
• Means to get along with less and simplify life
• Vocational support
Needs, Vocation and Commerce
Barbara Marx Hubbard speaks of “the natural tendency towards self-actualization through chosen vocation” and speaks of “life purpose that is evolving you – and your inner journey into wholeness.”
OUR Place will be designed to help those in their chosen vocations thru networking and other small business services. It is also designed to support those who work for OUR Place.
Bringing more commerce into the spiritual/progressive work can open numerous doors and spread our influence. As stated in the LOHAS Journal website:
“Getting to the Heart of Conscious Commerce will focus on how business, media and entertainment can be leveraged to educate, shape and influence consumer behavior and purchasing decisions while promoting lifestyles of health and sustainability.
OUR Place’s Inner Structures
Creating the Kind, Loving, Caring and Higher Consciousness Environment
More than anything else, it is the inner structure that will make OUR Place truly special. The primary design intention of OUR Place is to be a uniquely loving, kind, caring, compassionate and intelligent gathering place. These energies help raise our consciousness and foster our natural evolutionary process. Some might simple call OUR Place spiritual.
“Engagement and meaning are greater aspects of happiness than pleasure.”
There are simple things that help create OUR Place as friendly, kind, caring and great place to be, like friendly service. However, it is the strong “inner” structures of OUR Place that deliver and grow our mission. The inner, integrative structures include the “guiding principles” of OUR Place, the kind of people who work at OUR Place, the classes taught, the services, the opportunities for groups to use OUR Place to hold meetings, the entertainment and recreational offerings.
OUR Place’s Business Structure
Conscious Co-Creative Business Practices
OUR Place is designed to build conscious co-creative practices. It builds upon the business model of chain coffee shops and membership/personal growth model of the YMCA. Obviously, the details of the business and ownership structure of OUR Place will need to be caringly and carefully worked out. A team with many talents will be sought and used to create the correct business and marketing structures.
Key features of the Cooperative function:
• Cooperative Community and Global Service
• Cooperative purchasing power
• Shared Ownership
• Cooperative living in some units
There will be a menu for membership options and guests are always welcome.
We will work to facilitate community service and participate in global issues. One initial concept for this is to help the growing movement to further fair trade coffee practices.
Currently there is a coffee cooperative that is partnering with coffee growers. Perhaps we can help provide the talent and human power to expand their work. Please see below:
Cooperative Coffees, Inc.
302 W Lamar St.
Americus Georgia 31709 USA
Cooperative Coffees is a unique organization - a green coffee-importing cooperative committed to supporting and partnering with small-scale coffee farmers and their exporting cooperatives. By importing directly from our partner-farmers, Cooperative Coffees seeks to creatively foster a more equitable and sustainable system of coffee trade that directly benefits these farmers, their families and their communities.
In some regions, coffee growing practices are part of the plan to save the rainforest.
Cooperating by buying products that are ecologically and humanely produced
Many people prefer to buy products that are produced in ways to tend to the health of our planet and its life forms. OUR Place will make this easier by only carrying products that meet these standards. In effect, we use our buying power to make a difference.
A basic idea of OUR Place is that those who participate, especially employees to be owners (similar to Avis Car Rental). However, the intention is there are several forms of ownership available. These may include those who invest in the start up, those who work at OUR Place headquarters, in the OUR Place outlets, and when possible in the living space associated with some outlets.
OUR Place will buy properties for the Community Houses as an added means for ownership and growth in capital for those involved in OUR Place.
OUR Place’s Physical Structure
The OUR Place Socially Responsible Coffee & Tea Community Houses will be designed to be on the leading edge of ecological and environmentally friendly functionality.
COMMUNITY HOUSES: One scenario: In the Boston area it is easy to see a first OUR Place Community Houses in an old Victorian home around the corner from high traffic commercial/office/residential areas. It will be close to public transportation and parking. As the following for OUR Place grows, the locations will become more diverse.
Coffee/Tea/Snack Service Area
Picture a retro-eco design – less a traditional service counter and more a kitchen that gives the warm and ‘stand around and talk’ feeling. The design is, in part, intended to lessen the distinction between customers and service providers as well as create an environment where people mingle. Design features will be used to keep cost down.
The adjacent space will be like a dinette with tables for people to sit.
Book Store/Lending Library
The area adjacent to the kitchen and seating area will house the Lending Library and Educational and books and other products that are sold.
Starting out simply as the Networking Board. Networking is a obvious and important growth area for OUR Place.
First Aide Station
This is an energetic First Aid Station, kind of like going to the school nurse when you were a kid. Imagine an area where people are standing around thumping their thymus glands and balancing their energy.
The third space will be a multipurpose living room for lounging, meetings, lectures, seminars, workshops, musical performances and dancing.
The quiet space: because in many ways OUR Place is a new kind of spiritual center, there will be a place designed and used for individual and group spiritual time.
Other Rooms for Start Ups
Desirable Additional Features
The Backroom -- an additional Meeting/Entertainment/Yoga Room
A front porch suitable for sitting
A room for members/guests to put their coats and bags that has an inventive security system
An enclosed deck or backyard where Tai Chi/Qigong can be practiced
The upstairs of units in homes can be adapted to serve as a multi-unit community house or as shared living space as is practical. The intention is that some of the people who are employee/partners will live there and be owners.
Renovating the space will be one way we involve the community and hire ourselves.
OUR Place’s Socially Responsible Products
Coffee --- an example
Note: Some people are coffee negative and for just reasons. Yet at this time coffee is the model used to explore this venture. The Tea Market and other focal "facilitators to gathering people" will be explored and discussed at a later date.
Serving and selling coffee: OUR Place sells and serves Socially Responsible ready-to-drink, packaged and bulk coffee and tea. The intent is to boost the growth of the socially responsible goods market by creating the OUR Place distribution outlets and consumer awareness and demand.
Book Store and Lending Library
The selection of books, DVD’s, CD’s etc. sold and in the lending library will help create, educate and influence the environment of OUR Place.
More Products Over Time
Over time there is an obvious opportunity to sell additional products that meet the socially responsible standards of OUR Place. This provides the convenience for our members/customers who can be sure that their dollars are going to businesses that meet OUR high standards of social responsibility.
OUR Place’s Personal Growth Services
Place to Meet, Education, Entertainment and Recreation
With coffee house drop in flexibility
Place to Meet
Many study groups, service organizations and small businesses currently use café’s and coffee shops to gather. OUR Place will work to attract and help these enterprises.
OUR Place can offer time, location and cost of entry advantages to its members and regular customers. OUR Place will be close to home. The cost of workshops can be kept at a minimum by the membership option.
Being close to home opens the door for spreading awareness through word of mouth, this is the best market builder for many personal growth services and classes.
What else does Drop In mean in terms of educational feature?
Offering in the multipurpose front room will be suitable as a single class, lecture or meeting on a subject. More advanced classes can be offered in the one of the back rooms.
Because people do not need to reserve for a class or seminar, the schedule is predictable:
Offerings will be consistent:
Members and regulars can always count on the fact that there will be talk on “A” on the 2nd Thursday of the month, “B” 3rd Thursdays, and “C” on the 4th Thursday.
Three or four evenings a month will be devoted to Signature OUR Places classes developed for the OUR Place environment (see below).
Other events will utilize the many talents of local workshop leaders, speakers and health/healing professionals.
Embracing diversity, OUR Place presents many spiritual voices and educational modalities. There are many paths.
Signature OUR Place Programs and Innovation Opportunities
The OUR Place Community Houses will be used to develop and evolve programs that are conducive to making OUR Place fulfill its Mission to “Facilitate OUR personal, community and planetary evolution through loving, caring local gathering places.” They will serve as signature programs offered at all OUR Place locations.
OUR Place Signiture Programs
The following are suggested tracks for these OUR Place Signature Programs. All programs and design elements will be open to discussion and kinesiology testing.
The Energy Track
Energy education, energy healing, and energy balancing are the wave of the future. Energy education offers the opportunity to help us expand as individuals, as a community and out in the world.
The Spirituality Track
OUR Place form of spirituality will be expressed thru the pluralistic spiritual offerings. Whether a uniquely OUR Place spiritual course will be presented will be evaluated. The Forge Institute (see www.TheForge.org) is an organization that is addressing pluralistic spiritual wisdom.
Touch and Affection Track
With the growing recognition of the importance of touch, creating a means to make OUR Place a safe touchability space is desirable. Touch can relieve stress, a major cause of health problems. Touch has the power to comfort, to nurture, and to enliven our fundamental nature to grow to its potential. Nurturing touch helps us thrive. Loving touch reflects the divine. Loving touch helps us grow and evolve.
The author of this document is developing the Transformational Touch Project to help bring safe affectionate touch into the everyday world, again.
Whether taught as Signature Program or within the non-signature track, offerings that foster love are key to transformation on a personal, community and global evolutionary level.
Non Proprietary Classes
It is anticipated that local and non-local professionals will offer various classes and workshops. We will build and call on our network. Appropriate standards and guidelines for classes, seminars, etc. will be developed.
Cost for Classes: It is anticipated that most of these educational offerings will be free for members who select the “premium membership packages”. There may be a minimal cost for other membership levels. Non-members can participate on a pay as you go basis.
OUR Place plans to offer music and other entertainment, especially on weekends – hand selected to serve our values.
The Multipurpose Living Room will have entertainment on weekends.
The Backroom may be available during the week. We can envision nights where educational DVD’s are shown, quality documentaries and even full-length movies. Steven Simon’s growing Spiritual Cinema Circle is a great example of material some might wish to watch in community in our back room. OUR Place lends itself to the concept of a very spiritual setting for the estimated 23% of the population that prefers non-religious oriented spirituality.
Cost of Admission: It is anticipated that most of the Entertainment will be free for members who select the “premium membership package. There may be a minimal cost for other membership levels.
Our Place may provide space do Tai Chi in community in the morning while picking up your take out beverage. Yoga is another obvious Recreation offering.
Combining Personal Growth and Vocational Activism
Synergistic Hubs of Vocational Evolution
OUR Place is designed so that the gifts of higher consciousness that comes from personal growth can be directed into our vocations – which become means to spiritual activism.
“Vocation is the vehicle of creation that carries us from the inner work of self-education and integration to the outer work of cocreation. It is the unfolding of the implicate order within us; the energy that will recreate the world. `The force is with us’ when we say yes to our life purpose. By discovering and surrendering to cocreative vocation we become ever-evolving humans, for there is literally no end to our creativity and the emerging opportunities for self and social evolution.” Barbara Marx Hubbard
We intend to offer those with evolutionary vocations a place to grow their work while serving the community. This is a key integrative component of OUR Place – especially as it grows over the years.
Synergistic Network and Business Services
Rather than compete with the many sole proprietors who have health and growth services, our concept of OUR Place is to serve this market and our membership/clientele. The easy way to start is with well-managed Local Community Bulletin Board. A second way is providing a venue for these people to teach, give seminars and classes.
As OUR Place’s skills as a community center grow it is anticipated that we can use our growing marketing and promotional services to help these individuals with many of their business needs at a very reasonable synergistic cost.
Our Place’s Employee Target Market
One of the intentions and purposes of the OUR Place enterprises is to create right livihood for those who work for the company. Many people on personal growth and spiritual paths dearly want work aligned with their values. Therefore, a key aspect of the core concept for the chain of OUR Place is to employ more and more of “us.”
It is anticipated that this will be a place that many young people want to come to work because of OUR company-community values, livable wages, flexible hours, benefits and opportunities, including participation in our educational features. It will also be a great place for mature folks, seniors and elders.
Building Community Thru Community
The intention of OUR Place is to draw the community together to create it and then further the community. The 7th Law of Mystical Activism, according to Andrew Harvey, is “This Cannot Be Done Alone.”
Early Development Steps
What are some of the steps that need to be taken next?
NOTE: Laying this out is in process right now. Send it good energy.
• Network to meet those who can help OUR Place’s start-up.
• Create a task force to create the magic that brings OUR Place to fruition.
• Create a presentation to be used when approaching potential collaborators. We are going to grow ourselves thru this process, so while we will want to attract professionals and experts, we will also sow many people’s seeds of greatness.
• Create a start up Advisory Circle.
• Test, discuss and revise concept. Do marketing research.
• Build a Business Plan.
• Write a Marketing Strategy.
• Evaluate coffee sources for service and coffee programs for the Fair Trade farmers.
• Determine what paid employees will be necessary.
• Test the name and when a name is solidified, create a logo.
• Attract financial backing as well as people/organizations and business schools that can help us move forward on this idea thru their expertise, companies, organizations and Foundations.
• Develop the OUR Place Signature Program entry level, mainstream educational arms.
• Develop a prototype in miniature and a daily/week in/monthly operational schedule for the Food Service, Employee/Partners and Educational/Recreational/Entertainment offerings.
• Look at location and real estate options
• Start taping the development of OUR Place Enterprises for the use as a possible documentary or Reality TV Show.
• Determine what positions are needed for the first place's opening and ongoing operation plus those who are working to expand the design enterprise.
• Partner with those who decide to get in on the Ground Level.
Thank you for your time and interest in OUR Place. Please help create OUR Place.
To discuss this concept or other information please contact Ani Colt at 617-527-8272 or email CreatingOURPlace@aol.com. Thank you.