The Way Of Council
Council is a listening and speaking from the heart circle discussion group. A member of the Café community who has been trained in this practice facilitates the Council.
“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.
Listening from the Heart:
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 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.