Life Changing

It’s a good day at the office when you get feedback this positive twice in one day.

It started this morning. A woman who participated in the Circlekeepers training we held on Saturday mailed this note:

“Life changing day. One of your instructions at the beginning of the circle was to notice that linear time could swell to all the time we’d need. That, and so many ‘alive’ phrases came from your “unprepared” presentation—you model what you teach. Ever grateful.”

Before I share the second “life changing” comment, let me annotate the above. When she says the presentation was “unprepared” what she is referring to is that I did not have an outline for the training. This is because I trust that the circle itself will unfold exactly in the way it needs to, given proper attention to how the circle keeper sets and holds the context. That’s what she means by “you model what you teach.” My co-presenters, Susan Kistin and Karen Pino, we’re right in the zone also, modeling their own deep trust in the ability of the circle itself to be the teacher.

In the afternoon I went to a school where we piloted the Restorative Classrooms Process in the semester just ending. Chuck Fisher (my co-consultant) and I held a debriefing session with the principal and the teachers who had invited us into their classrooms. Mostly we just listened. The teachers enthusiastically and insightfully shared their reflections on the process. One said,

“Things were broken and I didn’t know how to fix it. My own frustration was in the way. I noticed how cruel the kids were; it confounded me. Then to hear them in our circles voice their own pain… there were two meetings where I was so touched.. I had never cried in class before. I became more mindful that I don’t always know what they walk with. I started allowing myself to see. It was a life-changing experience.”

For me also… gratitude to the teachers and aspiring circle keepers, and the colleagues who continue to share this journey with me.


One Response

  1. Hi Amos,
    Your June 5 Circle Keepers training session was “life-enhancing” for me. I now see how the circle itself can be the teacher. Thank you. I saw a letter-to-the-editor in the Sonoma Index Tribune today, Jun 18,2010 that you might be interested in. The Rosemarie Piper Foundation distributed $100,000. to local Sonoma Valley Youth programs last year and are inviting grant applications from 501(c) (3) nonprofits that benefit Sonoma Valley youth for 2011. Qualifying grantees may not be affiliated with any schools, public or private. Applications are available at Completed applications are due by Sept 1. Do you think this is something you might be interested in?

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