In anticipation of their upcoming Peace Circle series, Shirley Lynn and Karen in their blogs the last couple of weeks have talked about what ‘Circle’ is and how it works.
As I have thought about this and considered how Circle has impacted my life, I realized there are many places where we gather in groups – whether in circles or other formations. I too recalled numerous occasions of being gathered around a campfire, or around a kitchen table or at a family reunion – times and places where stories, ideas, joys and sorrows were shared. At times, this sharing was met laughter and joviality, and other times it was met with argument, judgement, or misunderstanding.
When I reflect on those experiences of Circle, I can recall times of feeling let down and unheard by those I made myself vulnerable to. I also recall times of tremendous support and caring, even from those I didn’t anticipate or expect it.
So what makes Peace Circles different from my other experiences of ‘circles’?
- Everyone is presumed to be equal – no one is above or below anyone else. The facilitators are there merely to guide the process but have no greater role than anyone else.
- A talking piece is passed around the circle. Whoever has it talks, and everyone else listens (without interruption of any kind). This empowers the speaker to honestly share their truth, experiences and feelings
- Feeling safe is paramount – physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually. Creating an environment of trust means each person can share their truth and heart.
- Confidentiality is expected and agreed upon. What is said in the Circle stays in the Circle.
- Participants bear witness to and support each other’s growth, healing and transformation, both as individuals and as a whole.
I think it is a real (and too rare) gift to be part of a group of truly caring and supportive individuals. A place where you can bring to light old wounds, beliefs and stories – to have them listened to and honoured as a part of who you are – and then to release them. A place where you can explore and embrace ideas and beliefs and have others who genuinely encourage and support you. A place where you can share in the joy of someone else’s healing and transformation. A place where Peace is abundant and gracious.
I invite you to reflect on how you have experienced ‘circle’. And then consider how those events might have been different within the context of a Peace Circle.
If you want to experience a Peace Circle, Shirley Lynn Martin and Karen McCarthy are facilitating a 4-Part Series called Opening to Grace: Connection, Acceptance and Wealth of Love starting Tuesday, September 10th. There are still a few spaces available and we’d love to see you there. For more details, visit Opening to Grace: Connection, Acceptance and Wealth of Love.
Submitted by Lucy Martin