February 19 2018

By: Jackie Hook
Monday, February 19, 2018

Sharing Your Heart can feel scary or threatening – you are allowing yourself to be very vulnerable. That is exactly why we work hard to make our support gatherings safe places. We do this by following Parker Palmer’s Circle of Trust Touchstones for Safe and Trustworthy Space:

  • Give and receive welcome. People learn best in hospitable spaces. In this circle we support each other’s learning by giving and receiving hospitality.
  • Be present as fully as possible. Be here with your doubts, fears and failings as well as your convictions, joys and successes, your listening as well as your speaking.
  • What is offered in the circle is by invitation, not demand. This is not a “share or die” event! Do whatever your soul calls for, and know that you do it with our support. Your soul knows your needs better than we do.
  • Speak your truth in ways that respect other people’s truth. Our views of reality may differ, but speaking one’s truth in a circle of trust does not mean interpreting, correcting or debating what others say. Speak from your center to the center of the circle, using “I” statements, trusting people to do their own sifting and winnowing.
  • No fixing, saving, advising or correcting each other. This is one of the hardest guidelines for those of us who like to “help.” But it is vital to welcoming the soul, to making space for the inner teacher.
  • Learn to respond to others with honest, open questions. Do not respond with counsel or corrections. Using honest, open questions helps us “hear each other into deeper speech.”
  • When the going gets rough, turn to wonder. Turn from reaction and judgment to wonder and compassionate inquiry. Ask yourself, “I wonder why they feel/think this way?” or “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about myself?” Set aside judgment to listen to others—and to yourself—more deeply.
  • Attend to your own inner teacher. We learn from others, of course. But as we explore poems, stories, questions and silence in a circle of trust, we have a special opportunity to learn from within. So pay close attention to your own reactions and responses, to your most important teacher.
  • Trust and learn from the silence. Silence is a gift in our noisy world, and a way of knowing in itself. Treat silence as a member of the group. After someone has spoken, take time to reflect without immediately filling the space with words.
  • Observe deep confidentiality. Safety is built when we can trust that our words and stories will remain with the people with whom we choose to share, and are not repeated to others without our permission.
  • Know that it’s possible to leave the circle with whatever it was that you needed when you arrived, and that the seeds planted here can keep growing in the days ahead.

© Center for Courage & Renewal, founded by Parker J. Palmer. 

As Parker Palmer said, “A small circle of limited duration that is intentional about its process will have a deeper, more life-giving impact than a large, ongoing community that is shaped by the norms of conventional culture.” Please visit our Gatherings and Events page for upcoming safe places.

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

August 2 2021

This month our theme is “Life with Tears and Laughter.” The work I do involves a lot of tears and laughter and as I often say, both are welcome and healing. Young children are great teachers of thi...

July 26 2021

To summarize the study we’ve discussed the past couple of weeks, we look to psychologist Noam Schneck, Ph.D. who states: “… healing and growth may continue even when a person is not actively thinki...

July 19 2021

As we continue with our theme of “Embrace Unconscious Grief,” last week we introduced the idea that the brain can find a balance between too much and too little focus on loss. Psychologist Noam Sch...

July 12 2021

Previous studies of grief processing suggested a Goldilocks effect. Too little conscious focus on the loss meant avoidance and too much focus meant unhealthy rumination. Both of these experiences w...

July 5 2021

This month our theme is “Embrace Unconscious Grief.” As I thought about this theme, I was reminded how fascinating the human body is, and in this case, the human mind. We have a conscious mind and ...

June 28 2021

Breathing in the moments seems very simple but it takes practice. The past is behind us, the future is ahead and what we have is this moment right now. How do we want to be present to it? I encoura...

June 21 2021

Last week I posed the question, “What are the moments when you feel ‘the rapture of being alive?’” When we think about feeling alive, we usually think about moments of joy, happiness and bliss. How...

June 14 2021

As we continue with our theme of “Breathe in Moments,” I think of a Joseph Campbell quote I’ve always liked: People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what...

June 7 2021

This month our theme is “Breathe in Moments.” As I’ve gotten older, I’ve really grown to appreciate the importance of moments, being present to moments and breathing them in. Many people on the gri...

May 31 2021

Happy Memorial Day! I encourage you to take time today remembering and honoring those who died while serving in the U.S. military!