Last night at Occupy Boston General Assembly I was handed a copy of a book that will surely inform the way I seek to build community in profound ways. It's called "The Little Book of Circle Processes: A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking." This is something that everyone concerned with creating a healing culture of restorative justice should check out. I'm looking forward to discussing and developing these tools with my comrades at Occupy Boston, as we co-create a new way of relating to each other and the Planet.
From the back jacket:
"Our ancestors gathered around a fire in a circle, families gather around their kitchen tables in circles, and now we are gathering in circles as communities to solve problems. This peacemaking practice draws on the ancient Native American tradition of a talking piece and combines that with concepts of democracy and inclusivity."
This book is a brief introductory volume, and I was able to put a large dent in it during a short sit in the unseasonably warm park this afternoon. Looking forward to checking out the other related books which were donated to the Occupy Boston library.
I'm so excited to learn that Western/European people have been redisovering these techniques in more recent time, and making them accessible to those who have become disconnected with the old ways. We are all going to have to come together in a fantastic act of co-creativity if we're going to manifest a world that works for everyone. We are broken people coming from a broken society, and we could all use some tools to help us heal, together. The Peacemaking Circles may prove to be an invaluable and transformative tool...
An Overview of Circle
A Peacemaking Circle is a way of bringing people together in which:
-everyone is respected
-everyone gets a chance to talk without interruption
-participants explain themselves by telling their stories
-everyone is equal - no person is more important than anyone else
-spiritual and emotional aspects of individual experience are welcomed
Peacemaking Circles are useful when two or more people:
-need to make decisions together
-have a disagreement
-need to address an experience that resulted in harm to someone
-want to work together as a team
-wish to celebrate
-wish to share difficulties
-want to learn from each other
The Peacemaking Circle is a container strong enough to hold:
-diverse world views
Sounds like some powerful stuff, huh?
There are some resources online, such as this. The short book I'm reading is available for $4.95 at your local bookstore.
I'd be happy to discuss these topics with anyone, so feel free to comment tweet me up @radicaloptimist (or say hey at OB).