Talk Thelema: GatherArticle: Measuring Success
Measuring success is a tricky endeavor at best and a fool’s errand at worst.
Many want to count numbers. How many people show up to your Talk Thelema group? And, to some extent, that is one measure of success. It is nice to know that there is an interest enough that your group is growing and bringing in new people on a regular basis.
However, people in seats is not the measure of success that we want to promote here. Just gathering people into a location isn’t enough. Any fool can hand out cookies and draw a crowd.
Some prefer to think of success as maximum participation by those in attendance. The more people sharing their thoughts and feelings, the more the group is going to take away from the meeting to consider on their own during the following week. And, yes, to some extent again, that is one measure of success. One of the key elements of Talk Thelema is the participation, that “rubber meets the road” with the raw ability to articulate one’s perspectives on a topic from their own understanding of the Law of Thelema.
However, people sharing their thoughts and feelings is not the measure of success that we want to promote here. Just opening up people to talking in front of a group of other people isn’t enough. You will find those who can showboat a meeting and drown out other voices that are just waiting, quietly, for an opportunity to share.
Others think that when everyone in the group are best friends and hanging out at the local pub or going bowling every Friday night, then the success of Talk Thelema has been accomplished. Community is a huge element in Talk Thelema. It is designed around the gathering of people—even preferably gathering around the sharing of food—and bringing them together to share their own perspectives and thoughts on the Law of Thelema in a social and safe environment. Of course, we want to promote community and friendship.
However, seeing people develop relationships out of the group dynamics is not the measure of success that we want to promote here. Friendships can be built just as easily at potlucks and pub meet-ups.
The measure of success for Talk Thelema is far more subversive.
A Talk Thelema group is successful when
- everyone in the group supports each other in the individual pursuit, understanding, and application of the Law in their own lives even if it doesn’t specifically match another individual’s perspectives or interpretations; and
- the Law of Thelema is applied in a practical way to the lives of participants as evidenced by their anecdotal testimonies and thoughts.
That’s it. Pretty simple, right? The only thing that you, as a coordinator, have to concern yourself is providing a space (and a topic, of course) for participants to discuss, and encourage them to walk what they talk. Quite frankly, even over a short amount of time, a discerning coordinator can see the difference between those who just wish to talk about their interpretations and those who are sharing their life experiences guided by their own understanding of the Law of Thelema.
While there is certainly a desire to build numbers in our groups, have people more open to sharing their thoughts and feelings, and creating friendships, Talk Thelema is about real life conversation that leads to real life application of the Law of Thelema. The rest of it is wonderful, but it’s all just empty if the participants are sitting at a table, drinking coffee, and walking away unchanged and unchanging.