The Importance of Having Beautiful Things

Last night our circle keepers practice group met. It’s a group that is open to people who are circle keepers, or who would like to be, representing a variety of organizations. 

I shared a brief dedication, a quote from Hsun Tzu:

“A person without ritual cannot live; an undertaking without ritual cannot come to completion; a nation without ritual cannot attain peace.”

After this dedication, we did a simple community-building ritual. I placed a beautiful embroidered and beaded tibetan tapestry on the floor in the center of the circle. Then I passed the talking piece to the person on my right with the suggestion that, while remaining silent, he find something in the room to add to the center. He found a beautiful raku clay pot and placed in the center. He passed the stone to the next person. She found a shiny black stone with the word “peace” engraved on it. And so on, until we were around the circle.  At the end we had quite a beautiful center piece, which we had created as a community.

Part of what made this work was that I had strategically placed a variety of beautiful objects in the room. They were already things that were in our offices; staff here have a natural tendency to make their workplaces appealing, and those who have done this work for a long time recognize the value of ritual objects. But I have a feeling we’ll be adding more to our collection: more pretty stones, candles, pine cones, small bits of driftwood, and so on.

The Practice Group members agreed that we’ll continue to open our circles with this same basic ceremony. Also, that we are each invited to not be restricted to what we have in the office, but if we feel so moved, to bring something in of our own.

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