Timothy Phillips – On Creating Space for Community and Creative Expression

The journey to self expression has been a life long adventure for me. When I was younger, radical self expression – crazy hair, lots of piercings, being very loud – was a clever facade masking insecurity and lack of self acceptance. Now, some twenty years later, I encounter the creativity of my wild younger self from a completely different orientation – one of wholeness and acceptance.

I recently spoke with Timothy Phillips who shared an eloquent thought on this subject: creative self expression is the ultimate form of empowerment but it’s also a really profound vulnerability. If community exists to support self actualization, how do we create a safe space for the vulnerability that that necessarily entails?

Tim is an architect, real estate developer, and community builder. I first encountered him years ago, when I randomly ended up at his birthday party – with some 500 other people all dressed up in wild outfits. At that time I was asking myself, who is this guy and why are so many people here for his birthday? Since then, Tim has transformed his birthday party into a diverse community of inspiring change makers called Lightning Society.

Lightning Society now has an extended reach of ten to fifteen thousand people and organizes a spectacular large scale annual gathering, all sorts of regular speaker and dinner events, and a community co-living habitation in Brooklyn. I spoke with Tim about his story, his philosophy on creating meaningful connection, and the challenges with generating income through a community oriented enterprise.

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