The courage it takes to share yourself might be the very thing someone else needs to open their heart to hope.” — Unknown
Creating connected community
Circlewise seeks through circle practices to make sharing what is in our hearts and being heartfully heard, the norm in our culture. By teaching, facilitating and practicing ‘council’ with individuals, groups, educational establishments and organisations, life skills in communication and empathy are strengthened, so resulting in;
Excellence in compassionate communication
Social, emotional, mental well being
Empowered and relational learning
Nature inspired ways of relating
To build a healthy community we must turn toward one another, as we do when we gather together in a circle. Circle ways come from people who lived close to the earth and the cycles of life, who knew something many of us forget—that we belong to each other
As our world and our relationships grow increasingly complex and fragmented, calls for genuine community become ever more urgent. Council follows traditions of the Native peoples assembly around the 'Children’s Fire,' symbolising the interests of the future seven generations; it draws upon an innate and timeless instinct to gather in a circle, to share authentically and to listen without judgement. Council distills an essence of simple, intuitive connection without hierarchy to nourish a deep sense of shared experience.
" There is no way of valuing sitting together in a circle, resting in community and feeling the support of the abundant nature around us. Intimate and touching........a very beautiful evening with Circlewise celebrating relationship."
From a participant of a relationship circle
" I just had a very deep and touching council with Heidi. I feel very connected, nourished and grateful. These spaces are SO important at this time and so supportive. Beautiful holding........loved it"
A council circle participant
What is council
A way of building community through listening
The practice of taking turns to speak from the heart, uninterrupted, sharing stories and feelings while others listen and witness open-heartedly. Guided and held by facilitators, Council creates slower, more meaningful relationships between individuals and within groups.
"Our heartache is someone else’s hope. If you make it through, somebody else is going to make it through. Tell your story.”
As we move through unprecedented times of pandemic, the value of storytelling as a means to process and recover from individual and collective trauma has never been more evident. Resilience, or the capacity to overcome difficult circumstances, depends on the personal relationships which embody supportive community. As the kinds of connections we find most sustaining become clear amidst the reevaluation of our lives, council fosters deep connection and emotional communication, cultivates community cohesion and togetherness.
"Sometimes the most healing thing to do is remind ourselves over and over and over, other people feel this too.”
In this way, by strengthening a sense of presence and interconnection, council offers a flexible arena for forging new relationships between members of a community. It strengthens and deepens support networks; it facilitates the resolution of conflict collaboratively by creating a space for the airing of deep feelings and stimulating acknowledgement of responsibility in disputes; it makes restorative justice worthwhile
by forming relationships that are worth restoring, continuously repairing relationships when difficulties arise in an ongoing process of mutually respectful dialogue.
"Council created a feeling of safety and trust in us all as human beings and at the same time a feeling of great spaciousness around the circle and each individual in it. On that occasion a painful dynamic in the group was completely dissolved. I left feeling lighter, relieved and more loving…...the effect of the Circle was to clear the blocks of my fear and judgements - mine - and others probably!"
Chloe, council participant
"Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” — Brené Brown
Creating connected community
Council in the community can be anything from a one-to-one didactic council in any committed relationship to huge community gatherings in a circle for a particular event and many things in between.
Council in intimate relationship whether a marriage, friendship or with colleagues has a profound effect on the health and integrity of that relationship.
Council can be a particularly supportive environment for parents to share their joys and struggles and support each other with stories and inspirations.
With smaller or extended family, the practice of sitting together regularly and sharing what is in our hearts can be a stable and healthy foundation from which to live and grow together. With this practice firmly embedded in the family culture, restoration when difficulties inevitably arise become manageable and more easily resolved and healed.
Council may be used for:
Processing of significant events – Such as global pandemic recovery, death, trauma, loss and grief tending.
Lifestage honouring – Birth and blessing ceremonies, Intentional rights of passage such as transitions into adulthood, marriages and funerals.
Other ceremonies – like birthdays, seasonal celebrations, recognition of achievement etc
Campaigning groups – eg: environmental support, social equality, peace campaigns.
Community groups – Intentional communities, co-ops, neighbourhoods, women's and men's groups.
Intergenerational groups – Sharing stories between the generations, and mentoring, for example with young adults or elders supporting teenagers
Families - We teach families to hold regular council circles for healthy communication. We also offer supported council for conflict resolution.
Council as a support for parents and children. –Including pre-birth support, parents, parent and toddler groups, for children and teenagers.
Couples council– As a therapeutic holding by a trained facilitator or the practice of didactic council taught for couples in committed relationship
Individual council – one-to-one councils with a qualified counsellor and council facilitator for personal processing and growth.
Home education – For home educated children and their parents supporting both the process of their education and as a resource for education.
Nature Council – A process to support the development of relationship and deepen our connection to the natural world.
"After nourishment, shelter, and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” — Philip Pullman