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Holding Hearts in Virtual Restorative Peacemaking Circles

The lists are circulating on techniques for virtual Circles.

Support options for practitioners are in place.

As a community we have come together to continue to support each other, our Restorative Circle process, let’s remember how to connect with unconditional love and an open heart, virtually.

In addition to the basics posted by Living Justice Press (link) and Restorative Empowerment for Youth (link) I’d like to offer these tips for strong, connected online Restorative Peacemaking Circles:

  • Prepare yourself.  Your grounding practice, your space and background.  Find your heart coherence space, you will be more creative in solutions and more open in your guiding and sharing.
  • Clear guidelines. My IRL (in real life) practice includes specifics on Listen/Respect/Truth/Turns, be sure to include discussing these, but also very specifically what that might look like in a virtual circle. Example:
    • Listening – when there is little movement on your screen, Respect – not using chat room, sharing of time, speaking to the prompt, Truth – sharing from your heart, what is true for you, Turns – holding the space, being co-keeper of Circle at all times.
  • Clear values. Again, Virtual & IRL Circles I keep (for 20+ years) have a value round, where we discuss a relationship value, and then bring that into the Circle as the ways of interacting.  Values rounds are helpful, linking the value back to the way of relating in Circle solidified connection and helps improve the climate and tone of the Circle.
  • Commitment to Values.  Often overlooked, absolutely essential round.  This is the social compact, this is the peer to peer connection.  I love giving participants the freedom to indicate the commitment in their voice.  I model with “YUP!, I’m in, All Good”.  Sometimes the same words are said by each person, “I commit”.  Please don’t under estimate the power of this simple round.
  • Scaffold Rounds/Questions/Prompts. Remember self-description before self-disclosure, utilize questions that provide & promote connection, belonging, voice, creativity.
  • Speaking from Unconditional Love.  The role of Circle Keeper is much, much more than the techniques it takes (opening, questions, closing).  The ability to come from a balanced place of vulnerability and trust.  Vulnerability as in a present moment realness, and trust in the Circle Process.  The tone and heart space of a Keeper is a powerful influence in Circle.  Some self-reflection you might apply to your sharing when keeping Circle.
    • Am I coming from a place of heart or a place of purpose, or both?
    • Am I ok, with how the Circle creates the Circle, have I put away expectations or control?
    • Have I explored my fears, gathered resources around me, just in case.  For example, and extra poem or reading, to re-center.  Prepared a game, see if we can pass a thumbprint from one to one (each person in turn, puts their thumb to the camera lens).
    • Am I ready to learn, to connect, to be transformed by the power of Circle?

These are challenging times, yet providing us with incredible learning opportunities.  All the best to you as you engage with people in Restorative Justice Peacemaking Circles.



This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. RIck Kelly

    This captures the deepness and richness of circle keeping and processes. As you say….crucial elements are often neglected. It is not a technique….and a way of being with others.

  2. pamela

    Thank you for all you do for peace and restorative justice in our communities and the larger eorld.

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