Clearness Process

Going through the whole clearness process is called “getting clear.” All residents of The Mothership are required to get clear at least once per year. For any number of reasons, including the suggestion of a resident, individual residents may choose to get clear more often, and non-residents may also choose to get clear.

Clearnesses are intended to facilitate communication and bonding between individual community members, ensure that small interpersonal conflicts are addressed on a regular basis so they do not grow into major fires, and bring private challenges and excitements into public light.

In order to “get clear” a person must seek out each resident of The Mothership to have an individual clearness. We encourage folks to be as open and honest as they can in these clearnesses, since this is a good opportunity to clear up interpersonal issues. If two people have particular difficulty with each other, they may ask for someone else to be present to help the conversation go more smoothly. During the individual clearness, first the resident and then the focus person reflects on their relationship with the other, their concerns and excitements, and any withholds they are prepared to share. The clearnesses should be guided by focus questions as described below. If concerns come up, the two people should seek to understand the concern and then work to resolve it or work on defining a path towards resolving it, if possible.  Ideally they will reach a state of sufficient clarity with each other that when one of them summarizes the concern and conversation in the group the other will not need to clarify, correct, or argue.

Some focus questions should exist within any clearness, while others will depend on the specific context in which the clearness occurs.

Focus questions for all clearnesses:

  • What am I excited about in our current relationship?
  • What do I find difficult about our current relationship?
  • What do I appreciate about our current relationship?
  • How would I like to see our relationship change and grow over the next month? Year? Decade?

Focus questions as part of a long-term guest application:

  • How do I feel about our relationship in light of the possibility of you/me continuing to be a guest at The Mothership?
  • Do you/I have any unmet needs during or as a result of your visit to The Mothership?

Focus questions for a trial resident:

  • How do I feel about our relationship in light of the possibility of us continuing to live together for an extended period of time?

Focus questions for a provisional member:

  • How do I feel about our relationship in light of the possibility of you/me becoming a full member?
  • How do I feel about you/me becoming a full member?

Focus questions for full members:

  • How do I feel about our relationship in light of you/me being a full member?   How do I feel about you/me beng a full member?”

If a special clearness is called for, the person requesting the clearness(es) or the group as a whole may define additional focus questions.

Once the focus person has completed an individual clearness with each resident of The Mothership, a group clearness will be conducted at a house meeting. The focus person may choose to invite non-residents to sit in on their clearness if they wish.

To begin, the focus person will reflect on their relationship with the community as an institution, guided by the focus question with the community standing in as the member in dialog.  Here are a list of questions to guide a person’s reflection:

If that person is resident:

  • What are your general feelings and thoughts about our community?
  • What needs are being met in your life at The Mothership? What needs are not being met? What is getting in the way of having what you want?
  • How would you evaluate your interpersonal relationships and connections at The Mothership?
  • What do you see as your role in the work ahead?
  • What do you see as your contribution to the life of our community?
  • What is your vision for The Mothership?
  • How would you describe your current commitment to The Mothership?

If that person is a guest:

  • How was is your visit going? What's going well? What's difficult?
  • What is your work scene like and how does it fit you?
  • What is your social scene like and how does it fit you?
  • Do you think you might eventually want to become a resident or member of The Mothership? If so, when?
  • What are your general feelings and thoughts about our community?

After the focus person has finished, the community has an opportunity to ask clarifying questions of the focus person or ask them to expand on or speak to various aspects of their relationship with the community

Next, the residents takes turns summarizing their personal clearnesses with the focus person.  How brief or expansive a member is in their summary is left to that member’s judgment.  The facilitator is welcome to intervene if they feel a member is being too brief or too long winded.  A member should be sure to include in their summary specific things they appreciate or value about the focus person and any concerns that came up and were discussed in their personal clearness. The member should not add any new material to their summary that they did not bring up in their personal clearness. Members should not react or respond to other member’s summaries.  This is an opportunity for reporting only.

Finally, the membership engages in a “Lightening Round of Affirmations” quickly stating something that they particularly appreciate or value about the focus person or otherwise affirming them.

Members are encouraged to discuss any concerns or thoughts they have casually with each other in the following week. At the next meeting, the residents will discuss the previous week’s clearness.  This is the opportunity for people to respond to and discuss material that came up in each other’s summaries.  It is at this meeting that any decisions called for by the clearness (such as the decision to invite someone into the membership or full membership or whether or not to allow someone to stay as a long-term guest) may be made.