PeerSpirit Newsletter – The Owl and the Tree
The Fruits of Our Labor
by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea
When an idea wants into the world, it comes through human consciousness like a seed, growing in quiet until people begin to speak it into the daylight of society. That’s how things change—most often for good, though some very dangerous ideas have sneaked through like weeds in the dark soil of the dark web. Yet for every weed there is a healthy vegetable. And every good idea, every seed that serves to expand, include, rectify, make peace and justice, is an antidote and an offering. We stand at the garden’s edge and note what we plant and tend grows. We have beans, peas, raspberries, potatoes, flowers: the fruits of our labors. We stand at society’s edge and note that undeniable progress has been made in the past seventy-plus years of our life-times. We stand in the fruits of our labor, determined to keep planting—and to keep weeding out what harms.
Once upon a time, we planted a seed of circle that grew into our shared life work. For the next 25 years we taught the use of circle as a collaborative, cooperative dialogue process adapted to modern usage. Our body of work and the joys and challenges of this journey have been told—in our websites, books, blogs, and newsletters (see the archives on www.peerspirit.com).
The garden grew—and the circle has expanded way beyond our work. In this month of harvest, we want to celebrate some of the ways The Circle Way continues to germinate, hybridize, and naturalize in the world beyond us through www.TheCircleWay.net and other movements.
Due to its nonprofit status, and as the lineage holder for our original work, TheCircleWay.net has specialized in providing grants to individuals and organizations training themselves in the use of circle for enhancement or self-governance. People find TCW through the book or through 1st or 2nd degree connections to the circle trainings that have been done over the decades. Funding decisions are made using circle process, and you can learn more about that relational process here. Each funded group uses circle, though their processes look somewhat different.
The Circle Way network is entirely volunteer, so all donations support the ongoing work of The Circle Way, with the largest amount funding grants.
The granting process leads to new relationships and stories of The Circle Way rippling out into the world. Here are some recent stories that are in The Circle Way monthly blogs:
- Circle and reconnecting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to nature (photo from the The Rusty Anvil’s website)
- The New Extreme Art Youth Mentorship Program
- The Culture Den Society
- The Circle Way in Vietnam
- Circle in the musical theatre community
- The Circle Way + Colour Theory: Anti-Racism Discussion Series & Art Exhibit
Another ongoing strength of TCW is the quarterly on-line “Vircles” initiated during the pandemic. These Zoom circles draw people from all over the world and follow a rolling timeslot to facilitate global attendance. Vircles are a two-hour experience with small breakout circles facilitated on a variety of topics. They are listed under Events along with currently scheduled circle trainings, both online and in person.
A Mission Alive and Well
The Circle Way puts equity and justice in the center. It unequivocally affirms the essential practice of turning to one another to uphold racial, ethnic, gender, disability, economic, and environmental justice. We can imagine a different way.
We are incredibly grateful to the dedication of many that keep this work alive. We invite you to peruse The Circle Way website https://www.thecircleway.net/ and explore more deeply the work of this fine non-profit. The site houses several free downloadable gifts: including simple guidelines translated in fifteen languages, booklets on a number of topics, directions on where to buy the book. You can register to receive news and newsletters about the application of circles. As is the case of all non-profits, donations are much appreciated.
Read that line again: donations are much appreciated. In a suffering world, the circle reconnects us to ancient practices of presence. We listen to one another as we find the common threads. We put purpose in the center to hold the group to its meaning. And we also lay conflict in the center so the group can address issues systemically. It takes a while to settle into softly spoken wisdom and true listening, but once we’ve had such experience, we don’t ever forget its gifts. These grants go out to unknown leaders working in communities of need and offer people a different way of being, empowerment, and connection. To rephrase Gordon’s song:
If we have one thing to offer,
we can gather in our circles
and help the world keep turning
toward the morning.