SACRED JOURNEYS: Circle of Friends, Circle of Truth
Spring Gatherings of Renewal
This is such a delicious time of year. As the snow melts, streams of water cascade along to rinse off the seeds and bulbs under the surface, enabling green shoots to break the surface of the wet ground. This fills our hearts with the promise of renewal.
In my last column, I invited you to think about what you might seed or nourish in yourself in the coming year, and also what you might seed in the world around you. This idea must have been riding the ethers, because I have since witnessed similar urges in others to find new creative ways of participating in community.
At the recent gathering of a circle of friends, who meet monthly to do bodywork and/or work with the energy of the seasons, a number of us were feeling a call to open up our circle once a year to those who want to experience and start their own circles. In this way we could offer an experience of how we gather, while sharing what we like to do. Coming into a larger circle increases the energy exponentially, which we can use to send healing, or love, into the world, or whatever might feel right. Our own circle would stay the same size, but it could help to create more circles and co-create a sort of flower of life within a larger community.
Similarly, there have been an increasing number of individual people lately who have offered to share ‘what they know’ with the community. It inspires local people to meet each other, to interact, and to share interests, all in the spirit of meeting a need they felt to share their ‘resources’ and gifts within a larger community. In the country, there is often no money exchanged, but farm fresh eggs or home-knitted socks turn up by way of thanks. In other words, the instinct to ‘come together’ with others and share is not necessarily about money, it is about a deeper calling many are feeling.
Just such an inspired offering happened as we gathered this week at the local yoga studio. A friend’s sister, Sue, was visiting and she offered her experience as a facilitator of small groups based on her training through Parker Palmer. Palmer’s Circle of Trust offers a framework for gathering with others, with no agenda, thereby enabling participants to leave the circle with whatever they were needing when they arrived. The invitation is to have the courage to seek out our soul’s unique personality and gifts, and in the process express our soul’s perspective in the same way we do our social identity. This can be a challenge because the soul, like a wolf, is hard to find. We have to go into the woods and sit silently by a tree, and perhaps we will catch a glimpse; it will change us deeply if we let it come with us into our days.
Our circle opened with this offering by Polly Berends:
“Everything that happens to you is your teacher….“The secret is to learn to sit at the foot of your life and be taught by it.”
At each Circle of Truth gathering, a poem or story might be shared and you are given some time in silence to journal or draw about what ‘moved you’ or caught your attention. Then you share in groups of three, as the other two listen and then the circle is closed. The point of focus that Sue offered at this particular gathering was a poem called Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye, and it proved to be both triggering and inspiring for me. I realized that what I want to seed in the world this year is kindness and trust, not only toward myself but toward others. Of course, the more we are kind and loving to ourselves, the more we can shine that same energy back out into the world and bring trust back into our lives.
As one of the group participants shared with me, this is not a planet where we can manage on our own; we need to be able to trust in the kindness of each other. This is an absolute truth. Kindness is the courage to show up, to reach out, to witness the pain and suffering of our neighbours. It gets messy, but it heals the shame and guilt and grief we all hold about how the world is and what it could have been. It is important to experience how wonderful it feels when we are supporting, and are supported.
Part of the healing of our world now involves us shining a light on corruption, unkindness, and untrustworthiness. It’s hard to watch, but vital to our moving forward. One way to mitigate that process is to discover how trust and kindness can express within our communities, and within each other.
“When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness.
“Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary, we are to each other.”
Margaret J. Wheatley
The joyous creative expression that is Spring reminds us that everything is possible.