Energised by Joanna Powell Colbert’s blog piece about her time at Chris Gillebeau‘s World Domination Summit in July, I called a circle for the First of August to explore the theme of living a remarkable life in a conventional world. Eight of us gathered in the social room of a lovely building in mid-town Toronto. After a pot-luck meal bursting with fresh summer flavours, we moved the tables to the sides of the room and arranged our chairs in a circle in the middle.
In our midst, a flame danced fragrantly on the wick of a beeswax candle. Our conscious conversation opened with a poem, The Summer Day by Mary Oliver with its haunting question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Not everyone present had experienced a council circle before, so after an abbreviated explanation of PeerSpirit process, I suggested three brief rounds of check-in so that people could get to know one another and to acclimatise people to the idea of sharing: stating our names only, stating our names plus how we were as were entered the experience, and offering a brief phrase about what came to mind about the topic of living a remarkable life. Even this preliminary speaking and listening evoked tears and smiles of recognition.
Our council deepened as we addressed these questions:
* What does it mean to you to live a remarkable life in a conventional world?
* How might you live out the values of community, service, and adventure?
* What project might excite you and fill you with joy?
The specifics of what people said are, of course, held in sacred privacy by the seal of council, but the wisdom that came out of this conversation includes the idea that to live a remarkable life is to be one’s most authentic self, often in spite of voices “out there” that tell us that to be that authentic self is foolish, impractical, or uncivilised. To live in such a way means to enhance our world with one’s unique presence and creative self-expression, no matter how large or small it seems in the eyes of others. In my own mind and heart, I remembered Christina Baldwin‘s words in The Seven Whispers that our work need not be grand, only fitting. One huge revelation for half of the participants was that something they were already doing or being was remarkable; they just hadn’t acknowledged it before. Heartening!
Two rounds of check-out invited us to share one small thing each of us could do over the next 24 hours to move us closer to our dreams, then state our names and how we felt as we prepared to leave the circle experience. We closed with a quote from Victoria Moran’s Lit From Within. The final words, “Tell the world you are a one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated”, fortified us to embody our visions of remarkableness. The fire in the centre of our gathering was extinguished, but lived on in our souls.
The subsequent days brought emails my way from the participants. They told me about performing their doable actions, about the sense of a burden being lifted from them by speaking and listening in such a conscious manner, and a desire to continue the conversation in that way. Gratifying indeed!
I commit to hosting more of these conversations that matter. How might YOU ripple your remarkable qualities into our beautiful world?