Council is a listening and speaking-from-the-heart circle discussion group facilitated by a member of the Café community who has been trained in this practice.
“Council is an age-old practice that involves bringing people together in a circle to bear witness and share authentically. Participants agree to speak one-at-a-time, sharing their personal stories and experiences, rather than opinions, and listening non-judgmentally while others do the same. Sharing and listening to universal stories about love, loss, fear, triumph, challenge, hope and other experiences enables participants to recognize that, despite our many differences, we have much in common.”
The Four Intentions +1
Within the circle there are four intentions that hold the space together, which when observed, create safety and allow truth and trust to build in this very simple and powerful practice.
Attentive listening, witnessing. Seeking understanding and accepting others as they are, staying present and centered and when we give full attention, helps another to reach their truth more easily. Beyond ourselves and “the other,” is the soul of the circle.
This is heard from the heart.
Speaking our personal story, using “I” statements; favoring feelings and making as transparent as possible our process. Speaking from the heart doesn’t necessarily mean using words –sound, movement, spontaneous expressions from the heart in all forms that are responsibly made are welcome. Even silence itself speaks.
“Speak what will serve yourself, the circle, the highest good”
Being of lean expression, helps us to attend to what is important, recognize that our truth need not have to be reinforced by repetition, since we are being heard, and as there are often many in a circle, allows time for all to share.
Surprise yourself by not planning on what or rather how you will speak. Focusing on your own story while others have the talking piece will reduce capacity to ‘listen’ when they speak. The heart does not plan. Spontaneity encourages playfulness, realness and the “voice” of the moment to be free.
Essential for sake of trust and respect, Confidentiality is the fifth intention held outside of circle times. What is said within the circle stays within the circle.
“Council offers a replicable, self-perpetuating, and portable platform that diffuses tension, fosters resilience, and creates a deeper sense of community and connection.
There is an immense need, now more than ever, to stop and listen to one another, to recognize and bear witness to our shared humanity, and to seek cooperative solutions to our collective challenges. Council supports a deep sense of community and fosters recognition of shared humanity and interconnectedness, while enabling individuals to give voice to their stories, develop mutual respect and compassion for others, cultivate a corrective response to stress, anger and violence, and achieve emotional health and success.”
Reposted from Center for Council.