Welcome to the circle. Let’s proceed to clear a space for spirit to enter and take a moment to feel our soul connections.
Allow your breath to carry you deeper and deeper into yourself, far, far back in time.
Into a time when….your ancestors met in circles.
Perhaps you can hear the drums, feel the warmth of fiya on your face, feel the bonds of kinship and belonging…….
Each and every one of us had ancestors who sat around a fiya together, drumming, singing, dancing, telling stories, praying…….in those circles people spoke from the heart, they found solutions to their problems, they laughed and they played, celebrated and grieved together.
The memory of this time is in your body, in your bones, in your belly. It is your deep connecshun to the circle. It is your heritage.
The time has come to remember the circle and bring this way of gathering back into our consciousness, into our lives, and into community……
We enter the wisdom circle with a commitment to explore our basic inquiry: How can we continue to survive, dream, hope and carry on in this time of transformation?
How can we release rigid patterns of thinking and broaden our perspective? Let’s set aside philosophical debate and listen to each other with an open heart.
Let’s begin by asking provocative questions, questions that push us to reconsider the values and assumptions upon which we base our lives…..
Asking the Right Questions
We often use this inquiry to begin the rounds of a wisdom circle as a way of introducing people to each other. Each person revealssomething personal about themselves. We’ve heard an amazing range of answers to that seemingly simple question….
[i,S.I.S note: in dis global web of the world of a circle, my names are Molisa Nyakale, a pseudonym. code for a vision quest of different worlds.]
Questioning something as basic as our names gives us a glimpse of the ways a wisdom circle encourages us to shake up old thinking patterns…….the kinds of questions that best serve us are those that inspire self-reflection and allow us to draw from our direct experiences. Such questions sometimes spark revelations that surprise the speaker. Sometimes, they uncover old wounds, and tears come with the answers…..
The most memorable wisdom circles are those in which you come away with greater self-acceptance and self respect because the group process helped you to know yourself betta.
Do you feel more empowered, have a clearer vision of your life and how you fit into the larger picture, a better sense of what your unique medicine is, after you have attended a wisdom circle?
Did you have the opportunity to reaffirm what you truly value? Did you experience some relief when you revealed your struggle in the company of kindred spirits? Did you grow in your capacity to listen from the heart? Each of these questions suggests an experience that is possible in circle….
Yes, a wisdom circle is a place for self-discovery, for nurturing ourselves. And yes, a wisdom circle encourages us to engage the world. It is a place to build compassionate community and forge a new strategy for living in a world that works for everyone……
People who have taken the time to “work on themselves” have frequently compiled an impressive list of workshops, books, retreats and vision quests. These folks might be called “inner focused.” They believe that the most compassionate and meaningful thing you can do for others is to work on yourself.
Others have spent their time doing volunteer work, organising political and social activities, restoring the environment, and raising children. These are the folks we might call “outer focused,” and they believe the most compassionate and meaningful thing you can do is to try to improve the world.
Some of us have done a little -or a lot- of both……When we are anchored by an inner reality, a vision, and values we have come to know as our spiritual home, we can “move mountains”.
In a wisdom circle, cross-fertilization occurs between “inner” and “outer”: between our own inner guidance and wisdom, and the experience of others…..we are guided by a reconciling question that informs our lives: “Is it viable to the self and workable in the world?”
(…..) The wisdom circle can be the “heartspace” that helps institutions function productively in a more humane way. It has the potential to heal separations in many settings.
We feel a bonding with the people in our circles and then find ourselves taking that increased potential for relationship out into the world. The deep, warm, strong connections in circle become the standard for our relationships everywhere. Rather than the circle being an exceptional situation, it is a natural meeting ground.
The circle is a dojo- a practice arena-for an opening of the heart. We invite you to join us and explore this process for yourself in the company of kindred spirits…….
[revised excerpts from] Wisdom Circles: A Guide to Self Discovery and Community Building in Small Groups
Charles Garfield, Cindy Spring, Sedonia Cahill;