The IONS Experience Department was fortunate to share a few moments with Blythe Bohonos of the Calgary IONS Community Group, harvesting history, recommendations, and knowledge about what it takes to form an IONS Community Group.
IONS Community Groups are independent, self-organizing gatherings held across the globe. They bring together a dynamic collection of people dedicated to exploring a wide range of noetic topics and facilitating a personal and collective shift in consciousness. Currently, as groups are meeting in the virtual space, we are pleased to have met with Blythe to cultivate wisdom in leading these groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The following is a casual interview/conversation between Blythe Bohonos and Dominic Olivo, IONS Senior Program Coordinator.
Dominic Olivo: Why and how did you form your group?
Blythe Bohonos: About 10 years ago I felt called to somehow fill a void. Thankfully, IONS was on my radar at that time. I’d become a supporting member not long after seeing Edgar Mitchell appear on the CBC series “The Nature of Things.” In this particular (2002) episode, Mitchell proposed that the ‘Quantum Hologram’ might elegantly explain phenomena such as intuition and telepathy. I was quite struck by this; It was not the first time that science had given me a deep, spiritual sense of awe! Discovering IONS and devouring many related books, I was filled with so much to ponder. As an introvert, I’m usually quite comfortable remaining in my own reflective process, yet I was keen to more deeply probe these ideas, to exchange questions and insights with others. At times, bursting with this energy, I would randomly initiate conversations with others nearby, only to meet a brick wall (…disinterest and/or perhaps the hardened stance of scientific materialism?) For a brief time, I found a fulfilling online community… until it fell away. Once again, I was adrift. More than adrift, I found myself in quite a dark place — primed, one might say, for a transformative experience. So, I guess the “why’ behind our group was that moment of realization in 2011, when I knew I needed a safe way to connect with open-minded individuals; to somehow honor what mattered most… to find community, create or contribute in some way. I had no idea how to accomplish this, I just sensed it would challenge and propel me in a new direction.
Incredibly, almost the moment I put a ‘call’ out, the universe responded. A brief online search brought me back to IONS, and suddenly I noticed (as if for the first time)… they have community groups! How fantastic, I thought, I’ll join the Calgary group. A moment later came the disappointing discovery — we had no local group, followed immediately by an intuitive flash — well I guess I’ll just need to launch one then! (The Quantum Hologram had spoken!) After speaking with the folks at IONS, I was ecstatic. They supported me all the way through, providing training, and connecting me with other coordinators for helpful guidance. I was able to secure a reasonable rental agreement with a nearby church, and for a brief time, I was blessed with a co-coordinator. With so much kind assistance all around, we were up and running within a few months. It should not have surprised me to learn that the initial void that catalyzed my efforts was shared by others (for some, intensely so). We found each other, and created a safe conversation space, driven by the energy and interests of the group. What an incredible gift and honor it has been to share in this wonderful community, to help further the mission of IONS as they continue to support us!
Dominic Olivo: How has your group adjusted to meet online during the pandemic?
Blythe Bohonos: Once it was apparent that we would need to find another way (or pause indefinitely), one of our ‘regulars’ generously offered to share their Zoom account. Naturally, some participants warmed to this change more than others. Those already working long (online) hours, were less keen, however it has been a boon for those who would typically commute several kilometers to attend in person. Another individual who had moved away (only able to join by phone) appreciated the return of face-to-face (albeit screen) participation. We remain an intimate group averaging anywhere from 5-9 people. Going online has, if anything, increased attendance plus we have recently had interest from some out-of-town folks, which is exciting!
We always converse as equals, treasuring curiosity more than certainty.Blythe Bohonos, Calgary IONS Community Group
Dominic Olivo: Do you have any recommendations for other IONS Community Group facilitators who wish to produce impactful virtual programming?
Blythe Bohonos: Firstly, we have gained so much from the combined efforts of our loyal participants. This past year, to preempt burn-out, I solicited help for specific roles and tasks. The response was incredibly generous and I believe our group is now much stronger and more cohesive. Also, having access to a much wider skill set has been beneficial through the transition to an online format.
Above all, I would want to offer my encouragement! It seems remarkable, yet somehow we have been able to deepen our group closeness and connection, even via screen… (perhaps now, experiencing some of our ‘togetherness’ non-locally, through the unified field!) Carrying over most of our usual format may have been helpful in this regard; As example, we have retained our group’s silent attunement practice and we continue to include a generous personal ‘check-in’ round before diving into our designated topic. As always, participants propose (or more formally present) IONS-inspired topics of interest and now we have the bonus option of screen sharing. Most importantly perhaps, (and as outlined in our group’s “Engagement Principles”) we always converse as equals, treasuring curiosity more than certainty. I do believe this has brought heart and endurance to our group, as every individual voice is honored. I’m not sure I can find the words to articulate how moving and meaningful it has been for us to deeply ‘hear’ each other’s perspectives, to exchange insight and wisdom, especially through this intense, challenging, shifting time. As we hold space for each other (and approach our group’s 10th anniversary this year) we remain so grateful to IONS for holding this larger space for us!
Want to connect with the Calgary IONS Community Group? You can reach Blythe via email.
Want to join with others in your area for noetic discussions? Check out our full listing of local IONS Community Groups!
Don’t See a Local Group? Our online Community Group Facilitator training course provides all the tools, information, and resources you need to start a local (or virtual) IONS Community Group.