The power in hearing every voice, and the power of Circle participation.

“I was at a training, about leadership and meetings.  They said something that struck me, and reminded me of Circle.  They said the meeting doesn’t start until every voice is heard.” – spoken in a talking circle.

My immediate thought was about how many meetings I was in that had really never started!  It also validated the idea I bring out as much as possible.  Opening reflective question and end meeting ranking.  The opening question can be a ‘roll call’ type or a reminder about mission.  The meeting ends with everyone ranking the meeting at the end, picked this up from Moving Beyond Icebreakers.

In my experience these two little additions to a meeting, really help.  I feel like I know I will have two places to share, so I don’t have to work my comments.  I think how this relates to other personalities like mine, people who want to say “hello” to every person in a room.

It reminds me of the tradition I am familiar with when attending a Native ceremonies.  You go around give a handshake and say hello or introduce yourself to every person.  You can tell new people, they don’t know or forget to do this.  Its never been talked about, I just know this is how we do this.  I am glad, the ceremony I go to is an ‘Inipi’ Lakota for ‘sweat lodge’.  Glad to meet everyone and be greeted by them.  The ceremony is a real spiritual experience, and its good to know who you are in the company of.

I guess  that aspect, who you are in the company of, could just easily be translated to COMMUNITY.  Community is an important, important concept. 

Last night I had some serious dreams going on.  Worries about Circles that need to happen and some individuals.  I woke up and the dream carried over to an “ah-ha” question I could use in Circle.  A end of the Circle question, after we have acknowledged and worked on repairing the harm.  The question works, because what is SO important is to have clearer expectations of behavior after the Circle.

The question/statement to finish:  I believe my community expects me to . . .

In my dream, a police officer was explaining the point of their role and the community expectations matched the values the officer shared.  Next a young person shared perceptions of what the community wants, he said “I believe my community expects me to f*ck up”  I woke up shortly after this, because in my dream, everyone was mad at me and I couldn’t get them to help the young person.

I laid awake and thought of my own answers. The first,  as a nonprofit direct, my community expects me to . . .

I thought about as a Mom and a girlfriend and then decided Ididn’t like these expectations sometimes.

I will just try out the question in a Circle.  I hope by speaking and listening to the responses, people will have a better idea of who they are in the company of.