New Format! And New One-to-One Practices, Too :-)
T-Group Speed Dating is a chance to…
bypass the small talk
lean into the practice of sharing yourself with courage and vulnerability
let go of who you think you need to be in order to be loved
experience the emotional nourishment that comes from deeper, more authentic connection
and gain some some powerful tools for communicating and relating in the process.
You’ll leave feeling opened up, connected, and maybe a bit shaky, but in the way that lets you know you’re alive and growing. You’ll probably have some new insights about yourself, and some new ideas for how to create more of this experience in the rest of your life. And a bit later, you can drop me a note to let me know who you’d like to be connected with, either as friends and/or for a first date. I’ll connect you privately if the feeling is mutual.
In this iteration of the T-Group Speed Dating, we’ll be experimenting with some one-on-one T-Group practices in addition to the small groups. There have been many requests for this, so I am excited to be able to share these new creations with all of you!
My Own Story of T-Group and Dating…
I was fresh out of graduate school when I discovered the T-Group community in Boulder, Colorado, and I hardly missed a week for over two years. I held Sunday nights sacred, and the practice transformed my life-long patterns of judgment and self-criticism into a capacity to fully love myself and find something to love in literally anyone else.
Around the same time that I discovered T-Group, I also decided to take my first stab at online dating. So when I found myself on a first date, nervous as hell but also bored out of my mind, I decided to just… T-Group.
What ensued changed both of our lives.
In making what felt like a wildly risky and vulnerable move, I chose to Reveal myself and speak to what was actually true in my experience at that moment (the kinds of things I’d usually kept under wraps in order to be “polite”). Dull and disconnected instantly transformed into potent and alive, and we shifted into a level of depth that was true and meaningful and significant to both of us.
And when he chose to Reveal himself in return, he learned that his raw, unadulterated truth was actually what opened my heart and turned me on the most. This experience set him off on a many-years-long journey of self-reclamation and self-empowerment (one that I only learned about years later, when I ran into him and completely didn’t recognize him and would totally have dated him if I hadn’t been only visiting).
So I’ve designed these T-Group Speed Dating events to:
Pass along the powerful transformation and empowerment that T-Group practice offers,
Help to connect people who have similar values, interests, and desires, and
Point the way to that potency and aliveness so that we can have more magic and intimacy in dating, no matter the outcome.
My hope is that you will meet some interesting people (yourself included) and gain the skills that will empower you to transform both your experience of dating and the results you get from it.
Due to the limitations of group rotation design, this event is most inclusive of heterosexual folks. If it were possible to structure the rotations so that every person could simply meet every other person (regardless of gender or sexual orientation), then I would absolutely do that! Unfortunately, it’s either not possible to have all new people in every group, every round, or I do not possess the mathematical skill to figure it out (though not for lack of trying!).
The evening will consist of a combination of one-on-one T-Group practices and a few rounds of practice in small groups. For the small-group portion of the evening, men and women will be grouped into “pods” of three, and pods will rotate so that each pod of men will T-Group with each pod of women . If you do not identify as a man or a woman, you are welcome to join any pod you like (if you join a pod with two women, you will meet a great deal more men - and if you join a pod with two men, you will meet a great deal more women). You will stay with your pod for the the small-group portion of the evening, but you will T-Group with all the opposite-sex pods.
Questions? Write me here...
If meditation is a mindfulness practice that you do with yourself, T-Group is a mindfulness practice that you do in relationship. In meditation, we pay close attention to the flow of inner experience and we make the discovery that we ourselves are the architects of our own happiness and our own suffering. This awareness gives us choice, which is the key to liberation. In T-Group, we pay close attention to the flow of relational experience and we discover yet again that we ourselves are the architects of the experiences we have in connection and in groups. This awareness, and the choice that comes with it, is the key to transforming our experience of relationship altogether.
Perhaps your pattern is that you tend to feel on the "outside," no matter what group you're part of. Or perhaps you're the one who tends to serve as the "lightning rod," drawing the tension and frustration of the group towards yourself whether you want it or not. Patterns can also be found in the roles we habitually assume in groups. Are you the caretaker or are you the instigator? The silent observer or the harmonizer? And lastly, we can find patterns in the ways we automatically respond to things like silence, eye contact, conflict, receiving others' attention/appreciation, or witnessing others' difficult emotions.
T-Group is a living mirror that can reflect you back to yourself, making it far easier to wake up to your patterns, the impact they have, and the responses they elicit from others. And with this new awareness and choice, T-Group becomes a laboratory where you can experiment with different ways of being and relating - and witness for yourself the different impact and response that comes back to you. When you make the discovery for yourself that you’ve been the architect all along, you can begin to learn how to create the structures you’d actually want to live in: connection, depth, understanding, enjoyment, intimacy, and love.
The perennial question at our T-Group gatherings is, “What is T-Group and how do we practice it?” It is a subtle and ambiguous practice by design, and it continues to elude our attempts to pin it down once and for all. It is so much more about observing what’s already happening than it is about making something happen in particular. There’s no one “right” way to T-Group, but you can read about the structure of the practice on the Training Video page (a written outline is available in addition to the video itself). If that’s the “what,” then you can find the “why” on The Layers of Practice page, where I’ve outlined the rough progression of skills and capacities that grow stronger with ongoing T-Group practice.
But what I will say here is this: the power of T-Group comes from our collective willingness to Reveal. In group, we take the risk of sharing who we really are, what we’re actually experiencing, and what’s truly happening in the space between us, which is why we call it a practice of “authentic relating.” Another word for this is “vulnerability,” and the powerful discovery we make in T-Group is that rather than being the thing that costs us connection, vulnerability is the thing that creates it. We humans need connection, love, and belonging in the same way we need food and air. In a modern world where we’re having more communication than ever before, but somehow less actual connection, T-Group is a practice and a place where we can learn the skills that allow us to create the kind of intimacy we all need. It also gives us the tools we will need when it comes time to navigate the inevitable tricky passages of deep relationship.
Why do we call it T-Group 2.0? T-Group originated in the 1940's at National Training Laboratories, and it centers on the sharing of feelings in the present moment. Crystallin is deepening and elaborating up on this practice, drawing from her background in Buddhist Psychology, Systems Theory, and Group Psychotherapy, her training at The Matrix Leadership Institute, and her own extensive T-Group practice. See the Training, Advanced Practice, and Systems Theory pages to see the updates for yourself.
The evening begins when we meet in the large group for a brief, silent meditation and a round of sharing that allows us to arrive and get grounded together. Returning community members break off into small groups of 5-7 and first-time visitors join Crystallin for Training Group (which consists of facilitated exercises and practice groups). We come back to the large group to share the learning, and then break out again into different small groups for another round of practice (Training Group stays with Crystallin both rounds). The evening ends with one more large group sharing session. Even if you have done T-Group elsewhere before, I ask that you do Training Group before joining the rest of the community.
The Vision Statement of the Bay Area T-Group Community
"We are here to create a Practice Community based on deep connection and authenticity, built on foundations of respect and goodwill, where all parts of us are welcome and our differences are appreciated as resources. We are also here to gain self-awareness around our habitual patterns and roles, limiting beliefs and strategies, and repetitive experiences in groups. But ultimately, we are here to re-weave the web of the human community, to remember that we are not separate and that we belong to and with one another."
I am organizing this event because I love T-Group with my whole heart. I was part of the T-Group community in Boulder, Colorado for over two years, and I am a living testament to the power of this practice. I bring a lot of prior education, training, and practice to leading this community, but I want to keep these gatherings as accessible as possible - because it was free for me and it changed my life perhaps more than anything else ever has.
“Most misunderstandings in the world could be avoided if people would simply take the time to ask, ‘What else could this mean?’” ~Shannon L. Alder
“Each of us lacks awareness of certain aspects of our own behavior or feelings which others can clearly see, which is another reason why human interaction is the most challenging and rewarding adventure that we can experience” ~Joseph Luft
“The consciousness in you and the consciousness in me, apparently two, really one, seek unity and that is love.” ~Nisargadatta Maharaj
"We do not exist for ourselves alone, and it is only when we are fully convinced of this fact that we begin to love ourselves properly and thus also love others." ~Thomas Merton
T-Group 2.0 Description by Crystallin Dillon, MA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.