“What are we being called to do at this time? To wake up together.” (Joanna Macy)

Highly recommended!!! A long, very beautiful and inspiring article including an extensive interview with Joanna Macy.

“We need to sit together, grab each other and be together as we even take in what is happening, let alone how we respond. Because alone you get overwhelmed, and it becomes traumatizing. But once people have tasted that they can, with each other, speak about what they see and feel is happening to our world, a number of things happen, in addition to the fact that they fall in love with each other. There is a trust and realization of, “Oh my god, I’m not alone.” There is a return to your own self-respect. I think self-respect has not been realized as such a source of strength in the individual psyche. I think people would rather see themselves facing an overwhelming foe with conviction of their purpose, than to be comfortable.
So that was the release. And the release would come, and as people began to break through their reluctance to suffer with our world, once they took that on and spoke to it, then they found their unity with our world. Often, not only did a sense of bondedness come, but a lot of hilarity. There is laughter and joking, and a shaking off of a kind of spell or curse. A feeling comes, of, “I can be here.” And that feels more liberating and true to you and brings you into the moment when you are less dependent on someone giving you a failsafe method to make everything fine, because no one can do that. (…)
What is called of us now, from the planet? What are we being called to do at this time?
To wake up together. That is actually the name of the movement in Sri Lanka that I went over to do field work with. Sarvodaya. Taking the Gandhian term, but using it in a slightly different way, but the same Sanskrit, which is “everybody wakes up together.”
It’s hard to wake up alone now. It’s scary to see even what is going on. But there is almost no limit, I’ve come to believe, to what we can do with the love and support of each other. There is almost no limit to what we can do for the sake of each other. This taps into the Bodhisattva heart. That’s that hero figure of Mahayana Buddhism, “the one with the boundless heart.” The one who realizes there is no private salvation.
If you are going to wake up, you have to wake up together. Never has that been more true than now, at this stage of late stage corporate capitalism.”

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39448-learning-to-see-in-the-dark-amid-catastrophe-an-interview-with-deep-ecologist-joanna-macy

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Circle Work in the Aftermath of Experiencing Terrorism

Nearly a year ago, on March 22nd, 2016 Kristin Verellen lost her partner Johan Van Steen when a bomb exploded in the Maelbeek Station in Brussels. In the first nights after the attack she met with friends to hold vigils for him. They sat in circle, holding space and listening to one another. Gradually more and more people joined. They kept meeting, including others that had in some ways been hurt or touched by what had happened. Kristin and a circle team that emerged out of these experiences goes on organizing circles in different places across the country. A first international online circle in English took place 2 days ago.

“Telling and listening to each others stories is very important to regain our strength. It helps to deal with our emotions and to face life with a new awareness and renewed energy.
By organising these Circles we want to give the opportunity to everybody who was involved or feels impacted in some way by the terrorist attacks and other forms of blind violence in Belgium and elsewhere in the world to take a moment to reflect. What impact do these acts of blind violence have on us, on our choices, on our society? And what do we do with our precious life and the time we have left?”

http://www.wehavethechoice.com/

Kristin speaking at a memorial service for the victims in the palace in Brussels: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFm9bmg65jI

Restorative Approaches

Circle in the Square is the inspiring story of restorative approaches as implemented throughout Minnesota schools and communities, as told by one of the country’s foremost practitioners, Nancy Riestenberg. “Restorative approaches help to shift the dominant social norms from ‘power over’ to ‘power with,’ talking ‘with’ instead of talking ‘at,’ and ‘we centered’ instead of ‘I centered'” (Riestenberg, 2012, p. xiii). Over the span of her 25 year career with the Minnesota Department of Education, where she is now Violence Prevention Specialist, Riestenberg documented the successes that teachers, counselors, community-based practitioners and administrators have had repairing harm, restoring relationships, teaching lessons,and changing lives.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Circle-Square-Building-Community-Repairing/dp/0972188673

 

http://www.amazon.com/Circle-Square-Building-Community-Repairing/dp/0972188673

Holding Space for Collective Healing

Highly recommended: An Interview on Collective Healing with Kosha Anja Joubert and Stephen Busby by Robin Alfred – This is an expanded version of an interview first published in Communities Magazine, Summer 2016

A small excerpt from the interview:
ROBIN: Can we say more about the quality of this holding space?
KOSHA: It has to do with qualities of wisdom and maturity, the ability to include expressions that are not normally acceptable and to slow things down when necessary, so that awareness can grow in the whole group.(..)
STEPHEN: What you are calling wisdom seems to me to be an ability to show up in an appropriate way so that we stay available and alert to what is going on behind what is being spoken and externalized. We are listening to the deeper movements within the collective that is gathered. And in a second step, we train the abiltity to bring and express this in appropriate ways so that it can be heard and received by the collective.”

http://www.stephenbusby.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Collective-healing-in-Communities-Magazine-2016.pdf

Creating Collective Healing Spaces

A team of seasoned facilitators from the US and Europe will host a new type of gathering exploring how to create spaces that enable collective healing. A first gathering in Florida in August will prototype a process that builds the capacity to work with historic traumas. Emergent in nature, it will weave together various organizational and creative processes that enable groups and communities to access healing shifts, allowing life and love to be restored.

This is a collective inquiry, sensing and exploring the emerging edges of what it means to create collective healing. Insights and learning will be harvested and shared to ripple. And the aspiration is that experiences and connections among participants will spawn a community of practice and new collaborations.

http://www.collectivehealing.net/what-we-do

Compassionate Listening – inspired by Thich Nhat Hanh

“You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart. Even if he says things that are full of wrong perceptions, full of bitterness, you are still capable of continuing to listen with compassion. Because you know that listening like that, you give that person a chance to suffer less. If you want to help him to correct his perception, you wait for another time. For now, you don’t interrupt. You don’t argue. If you do, he loses his chance. You just listen with compassion and help him to suffer less. One hour like that can bring transformation and healing.”
See: http://www.compassionatelistening.org/about

Based on this approach there is “An Exploratory Sourcebook About Conflict Transformation” available on the internet: http://www.newconversations.net/pdf/compassionate_listening.pdf

 

Activating the Intelligence of the Heart in the Collective

In an article for Huffington Post Otto Scharmer shares valuable experiences and insights that are relevant to any circle of wisdom: “You need to take entrenched stakeholders on a journey where they experience a situation without their usual armor of habitual judgments. You go on this journey in order to practice deep listening to each other, to the whole, and to what is emerging from oneself. It’s these practices of deep listening and stillness that often have the biggest transformative impact. (…) In every process of transformation that I have had the privilege to witness over the past few years, this has always been one of the single most important turning points: activating the intelligence of the heart, not only in the individual, but also in the collective.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/otto-scharmer/form-follows-consciousnes_b_9709068.html

The Importance of the Original Caller

Phill Cass on the importance of the one who hears a call, and calls together a circle or any other initiative:
“I think that the original caller, the one who first articulated the longing, plays a critical role in the actualization of the possibility. They are the original fire starter and need to tend that flame while at the same time letting go into the collective so that the flame has a chance to ignite into something far larger. If they hold it too tight they can squash the flame and any possibility of it becoming something and if they let go to soon the flame may extinguish because it wasn’t tended long enough.”

http://berkana.org/an-authentic-call/

Co-Creating the Buddha-Sangha

Just 2 minutes, but enough to offer you a vision of what a circle of wisdom could be: ” …to love each other, to be generous in a way that we have never been, going beyond what we already know, way beyond what we already know. Something is possible…” (Terry Patten)

 

Guidelines for Shared Mindfulness – Andrew MacDonald

(Adapted September 2014 by Andrew MacDonald from the Concord Institute’s 1995 Dialogue Guidelines)

Shared Field: Work in the mindfulness of a shared field, one that welcomes the whole of you and of all the others also.

Slow Down: Slow down from your habitual pace of interaction and take all the time you need to listen to yourself as you are now, to notice the common field, to express, to interact.

Breathe: Breathe fully and rest in this rhythm of breathing as you participate in the group.

Silence: Tolerate, accept, and welcome silence in the group, either when called for by a group member, or when it falls spontaneously. There is no need to say anything.

Truth of Experience: Speak the truth of your experience as it rises ready to be spoken. This includes fresh noticings that come as a surprise to you, and also, harder to express, the experience of being disconnected should that come.

Deep Listening/Presence: Listen to each other deeply and with presence. Let go of rehearsing your response, or strategizing.

Welcome/Appreciate Differences: Welcome different perspectives and appreciate others as they are. Hold the differences as a creative part of the group’s experience, not as something to be avoided.

No Blame/Judgment: Suspend judgment/blame of self and others and practice simply being together, breathing in the common field.

Hold Intensity: At moments of intensity in the field, hold this experience in your awareness without reacting, or trying to do anything about it. Let it live in the group and be contained within the circle.

Welcome Unknown: Let the unknown of your and others’ experience simply be, rather than seeking to explain or control events immediately.

Patience: Have patience with the workings of the group and the time it takes to grow and change, both individually and collectively.

Enjoy the Process: Enter into the moment-to-moment changes in experience, both individual and group, that necessarily constitute the multi-dimensional process of shared mindfulness.

wakingupinafield.com/colla/dialogue-group/