A few comments and a question emerged recently.
The first was a question about how to make sure a Circle has a Capital “C”. I like the way my friend Paul phrased that. You may have notice I capitalize C, frequently. I really believe brining in all the elements of being human to the Circle experience – Mental-Physcial-Emotional-Spiritual. I was really nervous about the spriritual element when I was in Circle with church pastors that all experienced theft! But it worked! I’ll explain more in a bit.
The next comment, was in reflecting on how important the PROCESS itself is. It seemed we had a group that was deciding the outcome, then having the Circle to implement it. Rather than having the process itself bring the outcome(s). The person reflect to me “Kris, you can be your own worse enemy. You make it look effortless, like anyone can do it”. I was puzzled by that at first, its so much about the process and not me. But I gathered that as a compliment, and we chatted how to work with our group.
So I merged these two the Capital C and the Effortless appearance. What I have for you now is a list of some tips of ideas. Things I do slip in effortlessly, but with great intention to get the “C” in circle.
1.) Talk about Circle until I really get a sense the emotional climate understands. Sometimes I talk about flame and people gathering around the fire. Sometimes I talk about Toyota’s Quality Circles. I like to tell the story of my own training or expereinces. Honoring those that have passed the tradition down. I talk about Restorative Justice Values. I just put everyone at ease, and I model holding the talking piece.
2.) Silence is a golden tool of Circle. We are not a quiet society. We assume not responding is because you don’t know the answer. Silence can be an opening for that ONE student to flip a negative comment out there. What I do is have people practice “listening without interuption” and I use my Tibeten Tingsha’s. I ask them to listen together to the tone. This works well, because we are already using consensus. Sometimes I point that out. The other piece, is that listening to the tone, is focusing in, centering. I could say that, but it depends on the group.
3.) VALUES – in a RELATIONSHIP context, asking for people to think about a person they are close to. Then pick the most important quality or characteristic, the value to that relationship. We all share, and then we all commit to honor the values that are in the center.
4.) I find its really important to do the first two stages. Getting Acquainted and Building Relationships. You don’t have to worry about rushing ahead to the addressing issues. Because having people answer questions about what they had for breakfast, builds those relationships.
5.) You can just talk about aspects of the process to learn more about people in the Circle. The goals should be simple, connect.
6.)Bring your intentions, your efforts, be in ‘right relationship’ yourself. Be open honest and in the values yourself when wanting to lead a circle as a Circle.
Thanks for the questions and I hope this helps!