My Voice and the Owls

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Now is the time of the seed-fall, leaf-fall.

“No single voice will be able to take control if everyone in the circle has a voice.” –Kay Pranis

I am learning, these days, about Circle Keeping, holding a space for powerful and intense conversations to occur, where every voice has a chance to be safely heard and listened to. It’s hard work, emotional work, vulnerable work. My school believes in the importance of restoration of relationships during times of conflict, and is spending the resources and teacher time to make sure that a cohort of us from the school become familiar with the process, so that it can be used in times of conflict. I hope that I can begin creating a stronger Circle culture in my classroom. I’ve read about it, and participated in many variations of circles over the years, and even implemented elements in my classrooms, but I know this experience will be very helpful for me.

I needed to leave circle early yesterday in order to celebrate a friend’s wedding. We were in the middle of some very hard work, and I left with quite a lot of anxiety. The topic at hand was about definitions of spirituality, which is a topic close to me heart, but also one that has been difficult for me because of the ways in which my own path diverges from the traditional forms of the faith community where I have situated myself. I didn’t feel that I could be truly, deeply, honest about myself. I was able to speak in one round before I left, but I felt inarticulate and bumbling, and weepy.  And then I had to leave, which should have been a relief, but I think something within me felt a need to engage the topic more head-on, in the way that someone had brought it to the group.

This paragraph right here. I have written parts of it and deleted it six or seven times now. This is the forest where I cannot find words. I wander through and pick up little stones, but none of them feels right to express the dance of distancing and belonging that I do in spiritual circles. Perhaps it is because this is a public forum, and I should write the words in secret. Perhaps it is because the words are like little birds that fly away when I try to catch them.

Gratitude List:
1. Hard conversations that help to bring clarity and deepen understanding
2. Dancing. The wedding last night was beautiful, and the dancing was delightful.
3. Owls. Last night when we got home, three or four screech owls were calling and calling, all over the hollow. This morning, the great horned owl is the one doing the talking. We almost never see them, but I love knowing that we live among owls.
4. When I haven’t found the words I need to express my own truth, but then someone across the circle speaks the very words that I needed.
5. Listening. Listening. Listening.

May we walk in Beauty!

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