by Ruth Pearce

Back at the March CiPP immersion at Kripalu, it seemed so natural to offer my home for a CiPP Tour gathering in the late summer or early fall. We had just spent the week bonding, making connections, and collectively making sense of the material. We had eaten together, danced and sung together, explored together, in many cases cried together, and certainly many times laughed together. The prospect of going without face-to-face encounters until the final immersion in January 2016 seemed impossible to imagine.

But, by the time September and the allotted date came around, life, work, and studies had intervened. If I am being totally authentic, I would have to say that about three weeks before the date, I found myself wondering what I had let myself in for. Honestly, I was a bit intimidated.

When Nicole Stottlemyer, WBI’s CiPP Tour facilitator, suggested that we talk on the phone to get to know each other before launching into this endeavor, I was relieved. We spoke on the phone and immediately felt a bond. We even got to meet in person—bright and early on a Friday morning—when she was at Kripalu for a week, just a few minutes from my home in the Berkshires.

Pretty soon, I was feeling a lot more comfortable about the whole thing. Nicole shared her ideas for an agenda, and offered that, if I was interested, I could help facilitate some parts of the session. Or I could simply open my doors and put the coffee on! Because Nicole was facilitating CiPP tours in both Stockbridge and Cambridge, Massachusetts, the idea of bridges arose—and a theme for our gathering was born!

Fast forward to the day. We were expecting 10 people. Ten people showed up—a great start! Some traveled for hours for an afternoon in the Berkshires rekindling our enthusiasm for positive psychology and CiPP. We had a great mix of current CiPPsters and participants from previous courses. We had faculty and teaching assistants with us. We could not have asked for a better group to come together on a sunny, warm fall day.

We spent the afternoon doing wonderful exercises centered on the five pillars of SPIRE, as well as power posing, dancing, drawing, and writing. Working in groups of two, then five, and as a large group, we explored what the SPIRE principles mean to us, what key concepts we’ve applied since our CiPP days, and how we use SPIRE in our work. We discussed how, as individuals and as a group, we were bridging between old and new, familiar and unfamiliar, and between our pre-CiPP and post-CiPP selves. We bridged the house and the outdoors, and made human bridges on the lawn (remember “London Bridge is falling down”?). We nibbled on snacks, made coffee, and tea, and generally relaxed.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi says that flow is “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

That was my afternoon. I was entirely focused—on the people, the activities, the sense of well-being and support. I was not thinking about what had been happening up until the moment we began the meeting, nor was I thinking about what was coming up. All my nervousness about being a host melted away.

Hosting a CiPP Tour is a wonderful experience and really need not take up too much time. The session is typically three hours. It’s entirely up to you how much or how little you do, as long as the fabulous Nicole or another facilitator is there for the session. I provided the space, tea and coffee, some snacks and fruit, flip charts and pens. And I got to welcome like-minded people into my home, share my world with them, and be part of sharing our CiPP world with each other. I cannot wait to do it again!

Click here to learn more about the Certificate in Positive Psychology.

RuthPRuth Pearce is the founder of the newly formed ALLE LLC (A Lever Long Enough). Her company specializes in team and workplace positivity and in building resilience and happiness in young people, particularly teenagers. Most recently, Ruth spent a year first revitalizing and then leading a team of more than 100 technologists in the United States and India on an Enterprise Data Warehouse program. Previously, she spent 20 years as a program manager on large IT programs, primarily in the financial services industry. She is currently working with the Wholebeing Institute on the 2016 Embodied Positive Psychology (EP2) Summit at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health. Ruth lives in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts with her husband, Gareth, and their dog, Milo.