We aim to help people develop the connections they desire in their lives, by using the empirically supported principles of Awareness, Courage, and Love (ACL).
Awareness is noticing one’s own and others’ feelings and thoughts with non-judgmental curiosity. Courage is stepping outside of one’s comfort zone to be more true to oneself. An example of interpersonal courage would be telling someone a thought or feeling you are having that you might typically keep inside. Love involves holding the experience of self and others with compassion, and letting another’s love for us into our hearts.
In our ACL meetings, we facilitate exercises that allow us to experience, practice, and balance these principles in real interactions.
Our Strategy and Goals
Our strategy involves providing ACL groups, meetups, and tools to the general public as well as training volunteer facilitators via the online platform Zoom.us so that they can bring the ACL concepts and exercises to their own communities.
Leadership development helps to increase the size of the movement. We want to harness the power of grassroots organizing by involving ordinary people who want to seek more connection and meaning in their lives.
ACL groups themselves are available in both formal (public) and informal (public and/or private) formats. Our goal is to have an active ACL group available in every city across the globe.
In the next few years, we will support the development of hundreds of groups to reach tens of thousands of individuals. We plan to establish at least one lead coordinator in every continent in order to continue the expansion and growth of ACL. We will build a comprehensive online resource library of ACL materials. We will launch an app designed to increase connection beyond ACL group meetings. The app will offer an array of tools including: live online ACL meeting events via Zoom, daily ACL meditations, closeness-generating questions, explorative journaling, inspirational quotes, locating ACL meetings, various selfdirected ACL activities, and many more resources.
Our work is firmly grounded in psychological science. A wealth of recent scientific literature has shown that people who lack social connection suffer impairment of numerous bodily systems, from immune to cardiovascular, and face an increased mortality risk equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day. To address this dire public health threat, we bring people together by facilitating vulnerable self-disclosure and compassionate responsiveness, which research has shown to be key ingredients for fulfilling human connection.
In order to continually improve the effectiveness of what we do, for the past two decades, we have been conducting ongoing research projects at the University of Washington evaluating the efficacy of our interventions. We are currently conducting a series of randomized-controlled trials tracking outcomes of people who participate in our ACL meetups. We are also collecting feedback data from leaders and participants of ACL groups worldwide. We look to this real-world data to inform every aspect of our work.