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Tea with monsters: 101s book club and growth community around trauma and healing beyond the individual

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This is the opportunity to make 2023 the year you open the door wide to joy, peace and connection — by learning about trauma in 101s’ book club and growth community. You are welcome here.

What is this?

It’s a community-of-growth club that will explore, during most of 2023, a topic that touches us all, every single day: trauma.

Imagine yourself in ten years. The opportunity is to remember 2023 as the year you make real progress on what you were stuck on: surrounding yourself with people who support you, tackling addictions (work and shopping are big ones these days 😉), finding and growing in community, and improving your health, vitality, and the depth of your relationships. And how will you have done it? Whether it’s with us or anywhere else, it’s hard to nearly impossible to achieve if you’re not part of a community of growth: people who show up for you in the brave process of facing and decreasing blocks, and vulnerably going for your true desires. And 101s have designed a community of growth around trauma.

It will go on throughout the year 2023*, and will be focused on learning about, and exploring together how to decrease the grip of trauma — especially in our families, teams, communities, collectives, collaborations. You will have the chance to meet your brave, curious community members every week: the whole group will meet online every two weeks, to discuss materials (a chapter of a book, a documentary, an article), and you will meet your smaller buddy group in the off-weeks (maybe even in person, when possible), to talk about and practice the real-world changes we can all make that will invite joy into the centre of our being and connections.

PS: on the FAQs tab, you can find more specific answers to your questions. Check it out!

What’s up with “growth” in the name?

By “growth” we mean individual and collective improvement, towards the actualization of our ideal selves. When a community of growth works well, each of us starts to feel like the tip of an arrow, flying in the direction of alignment with our most cherished values:

  • we set limits that felt too scary to set before
  • we find the courage to stand up for others and ourselves against oppressive rules at work, school, and even at home
  • we stop doing things that go against our deepest values, like selling our life force for the privilege of paying inflated rents, or delaying enjoyment, rest and fulfilment until a retirement that doesn’t fail to disappoint.
  • we forgive
  • we ask for what we need, instead of numbing ourselves from the fear of rejection: instead of working ourselves into hospital beds, numbing ourselves with various substances, or scrolling our lives away on our devices, we learn to face the fear inherent in asking for basic needs, like contact, belonging, being seen. We start designing a life of wholesome fulfilment around our humanity, rather than follow blindly following rules.

Now it can make more sense why our growth community clubs are nearly a year long: we take advantage of this time to really build the community that can strengthen and propel us.

What are we reading / watching / listening to?

Book cover for "The Myth of Normal" by Gabor and Daniel MatéWe will use some of the best tools and perspectives on trauma: the main reading (and the only book we will ask you to obtain) is The Myth of Normal, by Gabor Maté and his son, Daniel Maté. It’s a treasure trove of wisdom, stories and practical advice on turning trauma around, individually and collectively.

Apart from it, we will discuss chapters from two other books around trauma and community:

 

* from February to December 2023

How is this “growth community club” on trauma different from just reading a book club on trauma?

First, book clubs are great, and we love them! 💘 Here we are, in fact, starting with book clubs, and evolving them 🚀

We want to make sure that what we read, listen or watch actually makes the best possible difference in our lives and of those around us. How many times have you read something that seemed like it would turn your life around, and somehow forgot about it in a few months? How many times did you understand a deep truth cognitively, but it never found its way into your emotional reactions, into your instincts, into your orientation through life? Guilty as charged, we also went through that many, many times🙋🏽‍♀️

So, let’s be real: it’s not like the knowledge isn’t already out there, right? There are enough guides for turning our lives and communities around in relation to trauma. What’s hard — really hard — is to put them into practice and stick with them. Right?

That’s why we’re evolving book clubs to generate that rare alchemy that transforms the words we absorb into the thoughts and actions that really make the difference we need. And there’s none of that if we feel alone in the journey! Hence, community: community of learning, community of practice, community of support, community of growth.

“Nadie se salva solo, nadie salva a nadie, todos nos salvamos en comunidad”

“No one saves themselves alone, no one saves anyone, we all save ourselves in community.”

Paolo Freire

We know it might be difficult to imagine the potency and depth of sharing that takes place in the communities we create, and the growth that we go through in front of our eyes. So, here’s how Diana, one current club member, describes how she feels there:

Diana, a 101s book club participant.I’ve been thinking a lot about what this book club means to me and i realized is so hard to express it in words, because it became more than a book club.
It is a community where I can learn, grow, find support. Every time i feel I’m procrastinating, every time i feel down, I look through the meetings notes (yes, Mihai and Tiffany take notes, beside preparing questions – a way to keep organized and talk about the most important things from the chapters); all this motivates me to grow as a person.
It’s very important to me how much care they put into the club to make it a safer space, a place when everyone can open and talk about personal experiences or not, participate or not.
I’m grateful i got the chance to be part of something this amazing and special

Growth community it is, then! ✨ But that’s very far from everything! Apart from that, you will engage in:

1. A practical project to alleviate trauma and its impact on the world

Oh, YES! 🤩 We will put our heads and hearts together to decrease the grip of trauma in the world in practical, concrete ways: 10€ of everyone’s ticket is reserved for a money pot. We then decide together how to use it to become active, engaged actors who proactively tackle trauma. Just think of the practically infinite possibilities. What will you co-create? 🤩

2. Mastermind-like support groups

Each club member is assigned to a small, intimate support group, with other random members. You will meet your buddies about twenty times, in the weeks without a club session (sessions are every two weeks). The idea is to support each other’s progress, share personal challenges, tackle questions we don’t get to during the club sessions, watch impactful videos and read powerful articles on the topics we’re exploring, and generally supercharge our progress towards integration and freedom from trauma’s maladaptations.

3. Enjoying the tools and meeting notes we all generate

You will have access to all the resources on trauma that we compile together, and also to the summaries of the discussions of all the club sessions. Imagine missing a session, but still understanding all the rich dialogue that took place. Then, maybe you can bring up one of the discussion branches to the next buddy group meeting 😉

 

Practical details

Dates: from Thursday 16th February to 21st December 2023.
Group meeting times: every second Thursday at 20:00 CE(S)T, 90 minutes each
Buddy group meeting times: decided by each group, recommendation for 1/week
Platforms: Zoom, Hylo, Telegram

Discounts 🤩💰

Apart from the discount shown on the product page, there’s a €100 group discount when you join with two+ other people from the same community, collective, team, group, even family. (You can get the discount even after you get your individual entry 😉) Use these posters to search for buddies:

Still have questions?

We might have already answered them! Scroll up and click on the FAQs tab. Otherwise, get in touch.

If there's anything unanswered, chat with us or contact us.
I feel nervous / afraid of exploring trauma with a group of strangers. What if it’s too much?

There are parts of the book and other materials that we struggle with, too, for various reasons. Here’s what we can say to the part of you that’s tentative or afraid:

  • We’re doing this together.
  • The buddy system is created, in part, to allow everyone to process what the club is bringing up. It is your first resource.
  • We are designing other options for adapting your participation, including meeting notes, a forum, and the community support that will grow as part of our sharing and our dedication to creating gentle and safer spaces to share sensitive stories.
  • Maybe it is possible for you to join the club with a friend or family member, for support?
  • Even if you can’t find others to join you in the club, you could definitely ask for, say, a regular supportive conversation with a friend or family member about what the club is bringing up for you. Therapy, sharing circles, support pods or even online forums can also be great support systems you could try to access.
  • We’ll be introducing emotional check-ins and encouraging people to take breaks.
  • When it’s more comfortable for you, you’re welcome to participate by just listening (video off)
  • we always encourage you to just show up, even if you haven’t done the reading / viewing, just to tap into the group support. Plus, we all have way more experience and wisdom to share than we realise 😉
Are there any discounts?

Yes! Apart from the ones you will see on the product page (a larger one for the promotion launch day, and increasingly smaller ones as the club launch approaches), we also have a group discount, and a newsletter-only discount.

Group discount

We created this discount because our main focus is the collective, rather than the individual, and we know how powerful it can be for a few keen members to make a huge difference in the communities they’re a part of.

If you join with at least two other members of your family or a community or team that you often meet and identify with, the group of three pays €100 less.

In order to get this discount, write to us, and we will send you the discount code that each of you can apply when you check out.

How to find your buddies

To make things easier for you, we’ve designed a poster (that you can download here) that you’re welcome to share with your loved ones, friends, community members or teammates:

Poster to look for book club and growth community buddies for the 101s book club around The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate.

And, if you prefer animations, here’s the poster again, but with a mini-animation:

Newsletter discount

If you subscribe to the 101s newsletter before the club launches, you will instantly receive an extra discount code 🤩 Subscribe here.

Can I get the group discount after having bought my ticket?

Yes! Given that you share a community / team / family / collective, we assume that the three of you share a minimal level of trust in each other. As such, what we can do is apply the group’s whole discount to the third person who joins. Then, they can distribute it to you and the other person in your group. Just make sure you write to us who is in the group, and we’ll send you the discount code.

Will I feel safe?

We are doing our best so that you do. Here is what we are doing to make the space as safe as possible:

  • we have community guidelines that we’re constantly evolving and putting care into. Feel free to take a look at the current version and see if something could be added to make you feel safer.
  • we are compiling a list of resources to help you in your journey of exploring trauma, including therapists, support groups and articles with tools you can use by yourself.
  • we emphasize consent as a guiding value of the club. Put simply, everything that comes from us is only an invitation, and we most definitely don’t expect you to do anything you don’t want to. A few examples:
    • no need to keep your camera on during club sessions
    • it’s not necessary to actually read the chapters we talk about — come to the club sessions anyway. You are most welcome, and we promise you will be enriched by, and enrich them
    • participation in the buddy system is also optional.
  • we emphasize self-care. This may include:
    • the basics: adequate nutrition, sleep, movement, light, social contact
    • working on emotional management, self compassion, self-efficacy
    • learning your triggers, and the logic behind them
    • therapy
  • we will also intentionally engage in group care. What it may look like:
    • creating more space, care and attention when someone is feeling strong emotions.
    • paying attention, as a group, to speaking time and order, to ensure that everyone has their voice heard overall
    • we have a hand signal that we will use in the video calls to signify that we are talking about potentially triggering topics. That’s a time for each of us to decide if we prefer to switch off our sound, until the hand signal tells us that the story has passed.
    • the buddy system: one of its main goals is to create a space where everyone can share their personal state and journey through these topics, and, if needed, direct people to various resources
    • talking about self-care and group care in the first meetings of the club
    • creating common agreements: sharing and writing down what makes us feel safe, committing to these things as a group, and reviewing them regularly

Notwithstanding, there is no such thing as a completely safe space, and our growth community club is no exception. Challenges might arise for you. If we do our job well, though, and you are well-equipped to face them, they may even help you reach transformational moments in your life.

PS: if you have other things you’d like to see implemented in terms of making the spaces safer, we’re here to listen.

Who is this club NOT for?

This will not be the club for you if you

  • are primarily interested in teaching or correcting others. Even we, at 101s, are here to learn and share (apart from facilitating the spaces to make that possible and safer).
  • score high on narcissistic traits (you’re welcome to take a test here)

And it may not be the club for you if you

  • have never thought about your or others’ trauma
  • realistically don’t have enough time for this commitment (reading about 20–25 pages per week, meeting about 1.5h per week, and having optional discussions in the club group).
  • don’t have / are unable to create sufficient social support for yourself during the club. The club itself is one source of support, but it is not designed to handle our personal journeys through trauma.
Why is your pricing so complicated?

We believe that the amount of money that people have says much more about our society (which, in this respect and many others, we see as unequal and unjust) than it does about them. As such, we want to allow as many people to participate, regardless of their financial situation, and fairly. For now, the way we approach that is to ask people to part with resources based on how many they actually have, in balance with the value that we are offering them.

If you have other ideas on how we might balance these values, we’re very keen to learn about them. Please tell us about them.

Will we ever meet face-to-face?

It’s unlikely. Our participants tend to come from various countries and even continents, making such meetings impractical.

However, when designing the buddy system, we will pay attention to people’s location and their desire to meet face-to-face. So, if you’re lucky to have others in your area who also want to meet in this manner — or, if you invite others from your area to the club, also enjoying the discount that comes with it 😉 — then you may see them every two weeks until the club ends (and perhaps even afterwards, with those who wish to continue the meetings).

How do you recommend that I get the book?
Buying, borrowing or otherwise obtaining books come with decisions that are ethical in nature, among others. As such, we feel there are no ‘right answers’ for ethical decisions. Our values, plus the information we have, plus the context we find ourselves in will yield different decisions. With this in mind, these are our current recommendations:

TL&DR;

  • authors make veeery little money on book sales. ~10k a year (2018, UK)
  • 10% of a book for authors is a large share; publishers, distributors, and book stores take the rest.
  • buying new books, as opposed to second-hand ones, helps living authors, but not dead ones 😉
  • buying second-hand books is better for the environment, yet doesn’t benefit living authors.
  • libraries buy the books they lend at inflated prices (especially e-books), and also pay authors (a tiny) royalty each time it’s borrowed! (But not sure how this works around the world)
  • nevertheless, in the words of Neil Gaiman: “Don’t ever apologise to an author for buying something in paperback, or taking it out from a library (that’s what they’re there for. Use your library). Don’t apologise to this author for buying books second hand, or getting them from bookcrossing or borrowing a friend’s copy. What’s important to me is that people read the books and enjoy them, and that, at some point in there, the book was bought by someone. And that people who like things, tell other people. The most important thing is that people read…”
  • avoid Amazon companies. Their business practices are truly dodgy, they treat their employees badly, they are building a monopoly which drives others out, and they pay little to no tax.
  • AbeBooks, Audible, and The Book Depository are also Amazon brands. To be avoided.
Some of this information is new for us, too.

So, to get our next books, we will probably:

  1. Post on social media and ask friends if they already have it. Then borrow it from them. Exchange creates community.
  2. Search for it in libraries, on freecycle or bookcrossing groups and apps in our area.
  3. Search for it in independent book stores in our area. Helps community businesses, often threatened by Amazon & co. (Have conversations with them to see what their practices are with employees, the environment, etc.)
  4. Search for it on ethicalbooksearch.com (Click here to choose your country for suggestions on where to buy the Difficult Conversations book — both new or second hand, hard copy or e-book.)

Please share with us ways you got your book that others might like to know (and try)!

Sources

Who is this for?

We are keen to be in this growth community with:

  • moderators, administrators, facilitators, managers, team or project leaders, or other group- and community-builders.
  • anyone who is a member of an organisation, team, collective, or family and wants to learn how trauma affects them and their groups, and what they can do to act in trauma-informed ways in these spaces
  • all of you who are interested in understanding and moving beyond the grip of trauma, especially at a group, community, city, country, or at the societal level.

And we’d love to extend a special invitation to those of us who tend to be underrepresented or marginalised: those older or younger, those who are not white, cis, or straight, who are working class / precarious, diversely functional, those who are caregivers, and other underrepresented intersections. We strive to create safer spaces for welcoming us in all our diversity.

What do previous club members say about 101s clubs?

Here’s what others said about our past book clubs and learning communities:

  • Kirsten: “A very safe and caring space was created for people to share and discuss the book, Disrupting the Bystander. I almost feel I learned more from our discussions than from the book itself. Mihai and others in the group put a lot of effort in, meaning that we now have summary notes on the book, notes on the meeting ourself, audio recordings of the book and extra related resources.”
  • Faust: “Taking part in this group was much better than reading the book on my own. People shared stories related to the content of the book, and this gave everyone a better understanding of the issues involved. Also, all sessions were managed with great attention to privacy and concern, which is important given the sensitive contents of the topics we were discussing.”
  • Diana: “It’s the best way to feel part of a community and not feel alone, confront opinions and see different point of views. It gives the chance to meet amazing people, make new friends. And it’s a way to get to know other people’s experiences and feel less like an alien. Personally, a way to push me to become more responsible.”
  • Isa: “A good, rich and inspiring book to read, nice and empathetic people to share the experience with, amazing and enriching thoughts and reflections to dwell on, a cosy place to come back to every two weeks… I loved it!”
How does this club benefit my community / collective / team / family / group of activists?

At 101s, we feel that our movements need support to thrive, and that our world needs our groups, communities, and movements more than ever. We are in a special and sensitive moment in time, with a lot at stake.

So, here we are, trying to do our bit. Namely, we want to design the spaces, experiences, and opportunities for exchange for the groups, teams, communities, and movements out there to do better what they already do*.

We have seen so clearly how the space for reflection, the opportunities to learn new skills, and being in touch with others in similar positions can promote much-needed engagement, dynamism, and clarity of focus for our communities.

More specifically, here’s how you will benefit if you go through the Tea With Monsters book club and community of growth together with other people from your group. Together, we will

  • normalize not only the awareness and dialogue around trauma, but also the idea that we can make progress on it together.
  • make the community spaces safer spaces for ourselves and other members
  • improve our ability to manage and resolve conflicts within the community, group, or collective.
  • take advantage of the supportive environment we create at 101s to learn together a skill that will transform your group.
  • help you get to know each other better in your group.
  • learn from others outside your group, with diverse perspectives and ideas.
  • take a wider, broader view of where we are and where we can go, by exploring the social and intergenerational aspects of trauma.

So, go ahead — ask that colleague, comrade, co-conspirator, or fellow group member if they want to go through this with you! Feel free to use one of the posters we prepared for you to make this easier.

* but not all movements are welcome; we can think of a few that actually need less help than they’re currently getting, and definitely more reflection around the effects of their work.

What’s the refund policy?
  • We will provide a full refund, no-questions-asked, if the request is made within 7 days of purchase.
  • We will refund 50% of your purchase value if you cancel at least 7 days before the launch of the club
  • In case of extenuating circumstances, such as medical emergencies, we will offer a credit for 101s products and future 101s events.

If you would like to request a refund, please contact us.

We’re a small community at the moment. We intend to be fair and understanding of your situation. We’ll be flexible and willing to work with you if you encounter any issues.

Will I be triggered?

Being “triggered” (sometimes referred to as “activated”) is when our defences are engaged disproportionately to the situation we’re facing now, and more appropriate to past traumatic situations (source). The intensity of activation will vary based on many factors. The higher intensities include “retraumatization”, a vivid reliving of a traumatic event.[2]

From our personal experience and learnings, we understand that many, if not most of us are “triggered” or “activated” frequently in our day-to-day lives, at the lower end of the intensity spectrum. As such, we don’t expect this to be any different in our club, especially given that we discuss trauma directly, and sometimes personally.

But we’re here and creating this club because we also see this very reality as a valuable opportunity that we can take advantage of for healing. So, even if it might be uncomfortable when we get triggered, if we can learn together to approach it with curiosity and a good set of tools, we are on our way to less discomfort in the long run, more choice of how to react to those situations, more freedom.

We are guided by Ajahn Chah‘s distinction between “the suffering that leads to less suffering, versus the suffering that leads to more suffering”, and how avoiding the former brings more of the latter (quoted by Rick Hanson in “Being Well Podcast: Choosing Our Best Selves with Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman and Dr. Jordyn Feingold” at 9:15). In other of Chah’s words,

“There are two kinds of suffering. There is the suffering you run away from, which follows you everywhere. And there is the suffering you face directly, and so become free.”

We have put together a few questions to help you decide whether activation is more risk than it’s worth for you, or whether it can be a good opportunity for learning to have Tea with our Monsters in the 101s community of growth:

  1. Would I have read “The Myth of Normal” by myself — or other books on trauma?
  2. Have I had other conversations, or been to workshops / talks / debates on trauma? How did they go?
  3. Do I see myself as someone who has grown and wants to continue to grow from adversity?
  4. Do I have, or can I set up good social support for myself during the duration of the club?

We hope these questions can guide you in your decision of whether to join us.

Who are you and what’s your relationship to trauma?

Tiffany, cofounder of 101sI’m a child of addicts, alcoholics and fringe dwellers. I am a recovering people pleaser (martyr) and have sturdy abandonment wounds that still show up in ways that surprise me. I have been facing my fears around living a templated (unavoidable) life based on my early childhood and I keep reaching for freedom and joy, regardless of where I come from.

 

I recently started therapy to get support in addressing my abandonment issues and to help me connect to others with more safety.

 

As a means to heal myself and others, I have been on a long journey that included becoming a yoga teacher, qigong teacher, massage therapist, life/spiritual director, addiction research, keeping up to date with individual and collective trauma, researching triggers, endless books and meditation, and methods of self healing. I’ve worked in prisons in Norway, for the special Olympics in Kristiansand, the military in Japan, been a personal assistant to famous and difficult people, and helped out in Granollers to decrease anxiety due to the disagreement in Catalan and Spanish politics. During the pandemic, I took an active role to support my communities with stress management, check-ins, increasing fun and helping people connect and have community during extremely tough isolation moments. I was also an on-call support for teenagers who were feeling low, were in danger of self harm or were in the throes of a panic attack.

 

When Mihai suggested the book ‘The Myth of Normal’, I thought it was the perfect book to address some of the larger issues of our modern lifestyles and help us reduce some of the pressure to try to heal alone. I’ve been a fan of Maté since reading his book “Hold on to your Kids” and find him a brave and no-holds-barred creative personality.

 

Self healing is central to my life. Part of healing the self is connecting to people who become part of your trusted community around values and beliefs we have in common. Knowing about the impact of trauma on the individual and the community is integral to understanding our society and being able to contribute to our inner living joy; slowly removing frictions so that life can flow.

 

I want to accompany you, share stories and learn together as we delve into new, exciting and possibly life-changing months ahead. You are welcome to share space with me and I will bring all of what I have learnt and experienced to contribute to making it magical for us all.

What’s the expected time commitment?

This is a good moment to remind ourselves of a key value at 101s: consent. We are now adults, and we can actually do what we want, for a change 😀

So, we actually expect zero commitment. Because we also want your participation to be driven by desire and enjoyment. And, if previous members’ experiences are anything to go by, you’ll almost certainly enjoy it.

But, if your desire and interest is to help nurture this community that will carry all of us towards our important values during 2023, then joining the bimonthly meetings and contributing to the group conversations will go a long way. That’s three hours a month for the meetings, plus one or two more for getting involved in conversations.

Then there are the buddy groups. They are optional, but opt-out: everyone will be assigned one, but, of course, we can choose to leave them. We feel that they can provide such a wealth of extra value that we will encourage everyone to at least try them for a couple of months if they can. And the involvement there is up to each group: some of them might decide to interact through texting, others through voice messages, others through live conferencing, and perhaps some might be lucky enough to be able to meet face to face. But, as a minimum, count one hour more per month for these.

Thus, as a crude estimate, you can imagine five hours per month for an engaged, community-nurturing participation.

Are you in this to make a fortune?

Oh, yes! It’s obvious to all of us that online book clubs are the new gold rush, so we want to get in on the action before the bubble bursts 💥

So, no, not at all 😄 We’re basically trying to find our ikigai: offer people something of value and meaningful for us, and be supported by it. Actually, if we had sufficient income elsewhere, we’d probably offer all this much cheaper, or for free. What we do is the end, not the means to money.

In the medium-to-long term, we will explore other ways to finance what we do, including grants, subventions, but also membership fees, sales of physical items (right now we have the kit, and the 101s card game is also on its way), and so on. (All ideas welcome, by the way.) But it’s clear to both of us that we’re not on this planet to amass fortunes to take to our graves, but to live joyous, connected lives, while contributing to something good for others, too. So, beyond a decent wage for what we do, we’re going to use the money as support for those with less access to financial resources, and for growing the project.

What’s your code of conduct?

We have what we’re calling ‘community guidelines’. It’s an ever-evolving set of behaviours that we feel get to the heart of creating community, preventing conflicts, and helping to resolve the ones that flare up in the best ways. Please let us know if there’s anything that you would add to it, or change in it.