Social Capital: The Beginning of the Greenhouse Experience

by | Sep 23, 2022 | ShiftHappens

“We are a tall tree in a desert allowing everyone to take shade.” 

– Greenhouse Participants 


What happens when you bring together an amazing group of heart-centered changemakers to explore the idea of capital and its many forms through powerful conversations and activities? 

The answer is, you become a part of the extraordinary experience that is Greenhouse, a unique social incubator designed to expand the consciousness of grassroots changemakers around the world in ways that promote connection, community, resilience, and collaboration. Together, we take the idea of “building capital” and deviate from the traditional focus which places financial capital at its core and instead, explore diverse forms of wealth that not only strengthen one’s vision, they inspire people to bring their mission to life. Over the course of six weeks, we meet twice a week – Tuesday and Thursday for two hours – to examine social capital, material capital, cultural capital, experiential capital, spiritual capital and financial capital. 


Storytelling as a Way to Foster Connection 

After the success of the Greenhouse pilot program in March 2022, we kicked off the 2nd edition of Greenhouse on Tuesday, September 20th, and the first stop on our adventure was Social Capital, or the art of using storytelling to foster connection. Participants were invited to join our Community Call where they had an opportunity to take part in lively discussions and exercises that analyzed various aspects of storytelling and how they may use this as a tool to connect to oneself and others in a deeply authentic way.  The “I Am..”exercise offered participants an opportunity to remove all societal labels in order to tell a story about themselves and what happened was incredible. In an exercise that normally centers on the individual, participants began to see themselves as important contributors to a much larger community as connected with their peers. What began as thinking about the “I” ended in thinking about the idea of “we” and how together, we exemplify the idea of a compassionate community working toward a better world.  Here are some wonderful illustrations of how we began and what evolved:

  •  “I am a drop in the ocean ready to make a big wave.”
  •  “I am a baby tree growing in a concrete jungle.”
  •  “I am a sunflower at the beginning of fall, my leaves droop dry and brittle, my petals have browned, and the squirrels have picked at all my seeds. I can only hope that some of my seeds have reached fertile ground so that I may bloom once more in the spring”
  • “We are trees, deepening roots with mycelium, we are building shelter – we are steady, patient and committed. We are connecting to the past and bringing it to the future.”


Understanding Our “Why” to Create a Powerful Vision and Mission

From here, participants were invited to think about their “why”, the spark that ignited the passion for their projects, which informs their vision and mission for the work they do in the world. As people reconnected with their why or sought to enhance their stories, participants began to share and in seeing one another’s humanity, they started to build trust and true connection.

The Harvest Call, which took place on Thursday, is a space for participants to put their learning into action and what we found was more than we ever could have hoped for. This cohort was filled with a sense of kinship and the kindness, compassion and sense of joy was overflowing. As they worked on a drawing exercise designed to explore active listening, participants found creative ways to overcome cultural and/or linguistic challenges and connect with one another. The participants did not simply explore social capital this week, they put it into practice and successfully created connections that we hope will last the duration of this experience and beyond.

As Wairimu, one of our phenomenal participants said,  “As the session was going on, I said to myself, when I applied for funding it was to be able to begin the process of supporting communities in my own small way. Little did I know what I was signing up for…This has become my second home. I am sure that I speak for most of us. Tightening my seatbelt for the awesome experience. Thank you and to all the TPP team for the treasured opportunity.”

Join us for our upcoming Greenhouse Community Call with Birju Pandya, a member of our Board of Directors and Chief Mindfulness Officer at Mobius where we will explore Material Capital. The call – which is open to the public – will take place on Tuesday, September 27th, 2022 from 10am to 12pm EST.

We hope to see you there. 


Link to participate: click here.   

Meeting ID: 843 6780 0662

Passcode: greenhouse