New Culture Philly

By Max Rivers


2014-09-15 v1.2


5000 years ago, Indian sages predicted that right about now, our culture would enter a new dark age, which they called Kali Yuga, where the cultural norms will all be upside down.


This epoch will be characterized by:

- Doctors giving medicines which will cause illness (in the US alone 110,000 people a year died from expected side effects of drugs)

- Grocers selling food that poisons us (average Americans consume 19 teaspoons of sweeteners per day)

- Schools not teaching our children (The US ranks 24th in literacy world-wide)

- Leaders governing for their own self interest


If it seems to you that we are already living in this bizarro world, and you're wondering what can be done about it, we have good news for you.


There's no need to try and fix the old culture. "Building a new house on a rotten foundation brings disaster."


Join us for an introductory weekend in Philadelphia with the:


 Network for a New Culture

Register for New Culture Intro evening on Wednesday Oct 22nd: Register now

Fill out Registration survey (5 minutes) and then buy tickets for New Culture Weekend on Oct 24-26 Register now



What's Culture Got to Do With Anything?

One of the definitions for culture is "an environment designed to grow a particular kind of organism, like a petrie dish."


Not to get all Matrix on you, but you (and I - all of us) have been being cultivated in this Kali Yuga petrie dish all our lives.


Our culture is everything that surrounds us, like water to a fish. Einstein said, "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."


Here's an example: back in the 1950's, science started to notice that people who drank milk were getting osteoporosis (bone loss due to lack of calcium). So the dairy industry added calcium to milk, which we couldn't absorb for lack of vitamin D, so they added vitamin D to milk, which didn't work because we can't digest that form, so they figured out a Kali Yuga solution to the knowledge that drinking milk destroys strong bones with the slogan:   "Milk builds strong bones."


Inside the old culture, if you get osteoporosis, you are considered sick and so they sell you drugs and even do surgery to fix you. That's the out-going culture's cure for everything: blame you and then sell you some stuff to make you better.


So what is New Culture?


New Culture is a community of people who question both of these assumptions:

1.     That there's anything wrong with you, and

2.      That the fix is consuming something to mask the symptoms


•   A New Culture solution to the violence in our society might be economic justice, equal education and radical inclusion of all.

•   A New Culture solution to a 50% divorce rate might be to examine our assumptions about love and relationships.

•   A New Culture solution to "health care" (sic) costs might be to change our diets and lifestyle.

•   A New Culture solution to osteoporosis might be to stop drinking milk, or switch to almond milk.



 What happens at a New Culture event?


By its nature, New Culture events develop uniquely based on the people present and what is available, but here’s an example of a New Culture workshop schedule:

·       ZEGG Forum

o   A unique, community-based group process which uses the attention of the whole community to help individual members process their concerns (see ZEGG-Forum page)

·       Vegetarian Lunch

·       Group Learning Time

o   Everyone in the community attends experiential workshops about communication, relationships, community and culture (examples: NVC, safe sex, relationships without drama, etc.)

·       Free/Play Time

·       Group Learning Time

·       Vegan Dinner

·       Sacred Connection

o   Guided exercises about how to connect one on one, in small groups and with the whole community in a safe container through guided exercises.


So a New Culture event:

·       Starts the day discharging personal and interpersonally charged issues,

·       Spends the day learning about topics that challenge our base assumptions and stretch individuals and the group;

·       Then, plays and works together in community

·        Ends each day connecting with each other choicefully


Spending a weekend together in this way creates a powerful sense of connection, growth, healing and community.


How is New Culture different?


New Culture events happen within a set of understandings:

•   You are perfect the way you are

•   We work and play in Community

-        If someone triggers you, that's an opportunity for better self understanding (you can get help in the Zegg Forum - see below)

•   Radical Inclusion

This takes two forms:

-        All of who you are welcome. The Old Culture's attempt to make one size fits all solutions blocks us from knowing ourselves and so from others knowing us;

-        All different types of people are welcome.

•   Transparency

•   Freely expressing what is presently essential and true

•   We employ a body-centered version of NVC, Nonviolent communication skill set so that challenging and confronting communications can be done safely and respectfully

•   Choice

•   You are the gatekeeper of your experience. Whether and how you participate in any experience is completely up to you, including choosing to simply observe

•   We are all connected and so we can do our healing and our celebrating in community instead of alone

•   Days begin with a 2 hour Zegg Forum, and end with a late night Sacred Temple. In between, the whole community works and plays together in classes, workshops and "Karma Yoga," each participant helps in their own way to support the experience of positive co-creation. 


The ZEGG Forum


ZEGG is the name of the founding intentional community which is in Germany. They noticed that people's personal issues inevitably impacted the smooth functioning of the community as a whole. So they transferred "personal work" from a private room with a therapist into a community context (a lot of indigenous tribal communities hold this same belief. The Restorative Justice movement also grew out of this.)


People will inevitably be triggered by events which happen during group activities. If a person goes to a private room with a therapist, they may work through their own experience of what happened, but that may still leave the rest of the community reverberating with the impact the event may have had on other individuals or on the community as a whole.


In the ZEGG Forum, if they choose, participants volunteer to get up in front of the group and engage in a new form of processing that includes everyone both as healer and as part of the healing.


A ZEGG Forum Session

One powerful use of the community's presence is to contradict projected beliefs people have of others, especially the over-generalized ones like "everybody's judging me!" The facilitator can contradict this limiting belief in a moment by just asking for a show of hands about how many people are actually judging the person in real time. Because the group is instructed to be listening with their full attention, the result of these polls is nearly always proof that the person's fears are unfounded.


The overall impression I get is that doing this kind of work (what tends to be called "Working on Triggers") in the context of the larger group has benefits not only for the participant, but for the community as a whole, in number of ways:

a)    Just like me: Seeing that everyone has issues, and that they are mostly the same as yours, and so by implication, the same as everyone else's, can have a profound effect.

b)    This too shall pass: By the same token, seeing issues which are the same or similar to yours being moved forward, if not resolved, issue after issue, reinforces a sense of hopefulness about our own issues.

c)     Healing the ripples: A radical understanding reflected in the Forum public process is that each person's triggers are likely to have impact on others in the community. If that person works privately with a therapist, they may or may not achieve some resolution, but what about the ripples out in their community? Even if they didn't act out their projections, it's likely they still had an impact on others, even if only by their lack of presence in the community process.


But certainly many people do act out when they are in the grips of a projected perceived "wound" which can create reactive "wounds" in those around them, with each "side" claiming the moral high ground of being “the victim.”

Witnessing their internal process, even if the person doesn’t take full ownership of their projection, this can release those impacted from taking the behavior personally, and even activate compassion.


d)    Mirrors: Another brilliant technology in the Forum is the post-session Mirrors. After the session has ended, and with the permission of the participant, community members are invited to do a short (20-40 second) skit about either something they saw which they want to emphasize (usually a key learning they witnessed) or acting out a valuable concept which seemed to be missed by the participant.


Finally, the community is requested to not refer to a person's session until the following day, and then to ask for permission before discussing the content with the participant. I can tell you, from the one session I did in Forum, that the effect of getting to a deep truth in the presence of 80 witnesses does increase the intensity of the experience many fold. It felt to me that the community seemed to serve as a repository of the information, like backing up the data to the cloud consciousness of the group. I could feel the pull to put the hot information back in storage in my unconscious, which may be why "break-through" therapy sessions sometimes don't result in the behavioral change one might expect. But walking around camp, surrounded by people who had gone through the process with me kept the new data in front of me, literally.


And getting feedback about the session the following day also had a powerful effect on me. Hearing the data over and over kept the process alive for me, and then hearing what other people perceived added perspective. But for me, the most powerful impact came from hearing how other people were impacted themselves by the session, in relation to their own lives and issues. It changed my experience from the old cultural therapeutic role to a richer experience as a contributor to individuals and to the community as a whole: a shift from “patient” to “healer by example”.

Register for New Culture Intro evening on Wednesday Oct 22nd: Register now

Fill out Registration survey (5 minutes) and then buy tickets for New Culture Weekend on Oct 24-26 Register now



New Culture Philly Weekend



This summer, we taught NVC at a New Culture summer camp,
and we're so excited about what we learned, we decided to host a New Culture event.  

 What Is a New Culture Event?

If  you're doing anything counter-cultural or"alternative" as an expression of your true self  like:

  • NVC, 
  • vegetarian/veganism, 
  • home schooling, 
  • "alternative" healthcare, 
  • making sustainable choices,
  • Protesting wars, Wall Street, sexism, racism (or any "ism")
  • non-traditional lifestyle or relationships, etc.

then you're already a part of the "New Culture."

However, you've probably noticed that the old culture is always pushing back at these parts of our lives, judging them as kooky or wrong, or at the very least, not supporting us.

Wouldn't it be nice to be surrounded by a community that supports your true self? 

That's what a New Culture event is like.

New Culture Events are transformative and revolutionary - they help you create an empowered way of living - one custom designed by you.

New Culture's unique games and intimacy building workshops help relationships grow by questioning society's limiting beliefs like approaches to: relationships, health, sustainability, sexuality and social justice.

In the process, participants build a loving, long-lasting community of people with skills that help create a more gratifying and satisfying life.


We're bringing New Culture to Philly 
so you can experience it yourself!   

By clicking on these dates and registering for one of
  two free introductory evenings on 

 Oct 22nd 
and an affordable three day weekend on October 24-26.


In the Introduction Evening you'll experience some of the skills New Culture teaches and learn more about what New Culture is.

The weekend will be an immersion experience into a new way to do community. Some of the offerings are (everyone gets to choose what and how they participate):

  • An embodied form of NVC
  • Lessons on boundaries
  • Relationships without drama
  • A community-based healing process (ZEGG Forum)
  • A Mark Group (social connection experience through personal sharing)
  • A Puja Party (connection experience through nonverbal communication)
  • A Late Night Cuddle Party 

Our October weekend is limited to 30 participants. 

We expect these events to fill up quickly, so register early!

 What will this weekend be like?


We'll be co-creating a heartful weekend of workshops and group connection time. 

On Friday night, we'll get to know each other and explore what it might mean to create a "New Culture." 

Each morning, we'll open to what's real in the group through a ZEGG Forum (no relation to Landmark Forum).  

On Saturday afternoon, we’ll have a variety of offerings, including

    • Body-Centered NVC (Nonviolent Communication)
    • Relationships without Drama
    • Boundaries in Relationships
    • And other workshops on communication, healing, and other topics drawn from the interests of the participants.  

Saturday night will be an exploration of sacred intimacy through a Morehouse Mark Group and Puja Party. 

Plus there will be plenty of free time for in-the-moment activities and connections.



There are a number of spaces available to rent for people coming a distance including private and group spaces, and if it is warm enough tenting in our yard. The options and costs for accommodations are:


Saturday and Sunday, a delicious, healthy vegetarian lunch will be provided, with vegan and other special needs options (including bringing your own food). 

We're asking folks to bring a pot-luck offering for Saturday dinner, or help out with food preparation and clean-up at the event, so that the weekend goes smoothly for everyone. We'll try to meet everyone's special needs, and there are refridgerators for your own food as well.


Cost is sliding scale $75 to $200 for whole weekend including 2 lunches and one pot-luck dinner and all workshops. Housing is extra (see above).

All participants must register online in advance – a Facebook RSVP is not sufficient.  We have 30 spaces, and we expect to fill up!  All participants must attend the Friday evening session (where we teach NC concepts). If you have scheduling conflicts for parts of the rest of the weekend, you can get an agreement to leave early, or even skip a piece of the workshop and come back (and you can pro-rate your fee accordingly).

Registration includes filling out a 10 minute "New Culture Philly Participant survey" so we know about food and housing needs ahead of time, afterwhich you'll be directed to a site that will let you buy your tickets online. After you register, you'll received more info about the event, including a link to so you can sign up for the dish you'll be bringing.

If this is your first New Culture event, we'd like you to read this short description about New Culture, by clicking here.  If you haven't registered but find you can attend at the last minute, give us a call (215.266.O598) to see if there's space for you.  Directions will be sent once you register.  

If you have any questions, contact Max Rivers, our host.



7:30 - 10:30 Opening Circle, Exploring New Culture, Jumpstarting Intimacy


10:00 - 10:30 Morning Circle
10:30 - 12:00 ZEGG Forum
12:00 - 1:00 Free Time

1:00 - 2:00 Lunch

2:00 - 3:30 Body-Centered NVC
3:30 - 5:00 Mark Group
5:00 - 6:30 Free Time

6:30 - 7:30 Dinner
7:30 - 8:00 Free Time

8:00 - 9:30 Boundaries Primer and Puja Party
9:30 - 10:30 Snuggle Party or Socializing and snacks


10:00 - 10:30 Morning Circle
10:30 - 12:00 ZEGG Forum
12:00 - 12:30 Free Time

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch
1:30 - 2:00 Free Time

2 - 3:30 Relationships without Drama
3:30 - 4:00 Closing Circle

We hope to see you at the weekend!  
(For more about New Culture from someone whose been to an event, click here)

Fri, Oct 24 - Sun, Oct 26, 2014



Statement by Internationally known NVC trainer
Kelly Bryson, author of "Don't be Nice, be Real"

Why do I say Zegg Forum is the Future of NVC (Nonviolent Communication)?

As NVC Trainer Robert Gonzales recently said in a Trainers Teleconference, "Community" is the Future direction of NVC.

And I have come to believe we need community building tools specifically designed for the job. This is where The Zegg Forum comes in.

Developed at ZEGG, it is the foundation of over 13 highly successful, and powerful communites there and is used worldwide in all sorts of organizations, networks and communities.

After over 26 years of teaching NVC, I have come to believe this kind of training is what is needed to help people grow and sustain their NVC practice and communities.

So join us and learn how to use this powerful, transparency and transformation tool to start and grow your own compassionate, truthful and trusting community!

Listen to Kelly Bryson talk about what he calls "New Culture Nonviolent Communication"