A circle of lovely, quiet people becomes the ring on my finger. ~ Rumi
Yesterday, I offered a workshop that was an introduction to circle process, a very adaptable and collaborative conversational methodology that I use in many settings.
The first part was informational. I gave people the basic principles, practices, and tools. The second part was experiential. We held a real council around real questions.
Our first round of listening to one another was based on, “Please tell us a story about a conversation you’ve been part of that carried heart and meaning for you. What made that conversation different than others?” Even though this particular configuration of people had never been before, the sharing was honest and oftentimes moving. The second round grew out of the first, responding to, “What do these stories teach us about conscious, collaborative, circle-based conversations?” I could almost see the creative sparks behind people’s eyes as they spoke.
Two things stuck with me from yesteryday’s gathering. First, taking time to slow down and really be with one another is so simple, yet it’s so vital if we want to remain connected. Whether seated in a formal council circle, chatting with a friend on the sidewalk, or calling somone we haven’t seen in a while, the intentional effort to slow down and make time for each other instead of making drive-by comments and sound-bite reports makes us feel good and strengthens the web of community. Second, the moments of silence were delicious. There were times when we simply waited to notice if anyone needed so say anything more. Everyone’s comfort with the pauses reminded me that we don’t always need to be filling each other’s ears with every thought that enters our minds. We can simply be in one another’s presence, savouring the quiet.
All of this makes me think that it would be helpful for me to start up a council of silence, perhaps one per season. We could light a candle, check in with one another verbally, then sit in silence for 45 minutes or so. The circle could end with a brief check-out, then we’d extinguish the candle. Simple and presence-making.
I’m grateful to all who participated in yesterday’s circle process workshop. You’ve heartened me and you’ve helped to plant a seed of something fresh and quiet.