Way of Council
When I sat in circle for the first time in 2006 my journey of connecting and healing through the Way of Council began. Council is a group communication process that values every participant equally. It’s a powerful form that builds empathy, truth-telling, attentiveness, clarity and community. The basic practice of Council is simple: people gather, they sit in a circle, a ‘talking piece’ is passed from person to person and only the person who receives it has permission to speak. We set an intention to speak from the heart then, in turn, to listen from the heart; to open to spontaneity, to speak what is true for ourselves in the moment; to accept what is true for others.’ In this way deep democracy begins to unfold.
Council is a storytelling process. In Council we aspire to tell stories that illuminate our personal experience over talking about ‘what happened to us’ or what we think about it. Personal narratives of struggle, confusion, joy, surprise, regret, loss and learning render each one of us human. As we listen, our fears, prejudices and assumptions may start to melt away and empathy and connection may take their place. As story after story is shared in the circle it becomes much harder to judge and project onto others who sit with us. This form of heart communication leads to new understandings and fresh possibilities as we offer each other our full attention. This is the gift of Council: as we listen and speak from our hearts, we come into deeper relationship with ourselves, others, and with the more-than human world of which we’re all a part.
i founded Bristol Women's Council in 2008, which remains a treasured resource in my life. I'm part of the Global Council Team for Snapchat Inc. and am the company's London lead for Council in the UK.