I got an email today, that had a line that struck me. “work that makes your heart sing”. Being a visual person, I tried to imagine what that would look like. Then my right brain took over my left, or my left over the right and the conversation when “duh, you hear a song, you don’t see it”, to which my other brain side said “why not, maybe you do”. Then I realized I was in that Kris Miner, monkey mind place that makes people move my coffee out of reach! No kidding!
Regardless of that . . . “work that makes your heart sing” is obvious, you can see it, hear it, feel it, because I think it’s a vibration of joy and positive energy. My work makes my heart sing, and sometimes I sing along, outloud. Just kidding.
Today I showed up to help with a circle, where teachers and students were having a sense that some conflict was brewing. The details will be sketchy to keep things confidential. Two of the three staff had not previously been involved in Restorative Justice or a Circle. The student selection process was carefully reviewed. I reaffirmed that if we invite the students to participate willingly and empower them to be problem solvers we’d have a better outcome. The sense was that if we got the student to even talk, it would be progress.
I wanted this to be a very good circle, I thought about my questions, I felt good about where I was before we started. I got extra energized to find some “lost” talking pieces still at the school. It brought in a positive element from last years Circle group.
My community members set the tone, asking not to be judged. We started off with the usual routine of values and committments. We talked about what we had for breakfast and what we wished we had. We shared our two favorite animals, then we made the sound if those two became one. That’s a good one for giggles and loosening up. I moved the circle to storytelling and relationship building round with a question relating to our values. I asked for a story about a recent act that demonstrated the values. We all got to share something positive we did for someone else. I then gently guided us into the addressing issues round, by simpling asking for a reflection on the climate in the school.
I didn’t expect one of the community members to want to speak! Turns out we had a former teacher of this school with us. I really dislike labels, but we kind of had two bully’s and two vicitms in the circle. One of the victims shared, a community member, a bully, a teacher, a bully, a victim, staff, me, staff, back to the starting community member. We learned about clicks in school, pain of being picked on. So, heartled, I just said let’s pass the talking piece around again. The sharing included apologies, ownership, discussions with parents, explanations, the silence was powerful as we listened to this deep heartfelt sharing! It was amazing. We went on to talk about what would help build the culture of peace and belonging. The list was great! From something as simple as smiles, to sitting with a different clique at break, to colorful art on the walls. One student pointed out the smile was already working (this was between one of our “bullies & “vicitm”). The two students smiled at each other again as this story was shared. Someone felt so strongly that a compliment was given to each person in the circle!
I can’t tell you how amazing it was to see this situation go inside out! My intern was stunned, and he really appreciated the compliment about his stylish outfit. All the feedback at the end was positive. I mentioned a highfive, handshake or hug at the end of the circle. The first to hug . . . you guessed it! One of our previously known as bully/victim pairs. Even the intern got a hug! I don’t know how I kept my tears in!
My heart was singing . . . I bet it was showing, thanks to my new friend Jo for using that line in an email!
Peace – Kris