Restorative Approaches in Schools

“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.

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

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/