What is council?
"Council is an age-old practice that involves bringing people together in a circle to bear witness and share authentically. Participants agree to speak one-at-a-time, sharing their personal stories and experiences, rather than opinions, and listening non-judgmentally while others do the same. Sharing and listening to universal stories about love, loss, fear, triumph, challenge, hope and other experiences enables participants to recognize that, despite our many differences, we have much in common.
By fostering attentive listening and authentic expression, Council builds positive relationships between participants and neutralizes hierarchical dynamics formed by the inequality of status, race, or other social factors. It supports a deep sense of community and fosters recognition of a shared humanity and interconnectedness. It enables individuals to give voice to their stories, develop mutual respect, cultivate a compassionate response to anger, defensiveness, and violence, as well as strengthen emotional health and resilience.” ~ Center for Council
Council has become a intricate part of who I am and how I operate in the world. I was part of many councils while going through my forest therapy intensive training week and I can tell you just being a part of it of one is a life-changing experience. The ways in which you learn to listen, with compassion, for each and every person—listen to understand, not to respond, is something we don’t come across in modern society.
Questions to Get You Started
The Way of Council is an extraordinary book about council and how you can use it to benefit your life. I’ve taken notes on some of my favorite questions, from the book, to start council.
What are you grateful for in this moment?
What are your expectations of our time together?
What brought you this circle?
How would you describe the “tribe: or “tribes” to which you belong - racially, culturally, ethically, and/or spiritually?
What experience, skill or aspect of yourself do you bring to this group as a gift right now?
What is going on in your life right now? How does that connect with why we’ve come together?
Can you tell a story about one of your grandparents, aunts, uncles, mentors—whoever comes to mind?
Can you tell a story about something completely unexpected that happened to you recently?
What feeling, pattern of behavior, or aspect of yourself do you want to let go of right now?
What is it about a group that makes you feel more trusting or less trusting?
What is something that bothers you about me?
What is something you appreciate about me?
Share your Experience
I would love for this post to become a resource with many people sharing their experience with Council. I invite you to share in the comment section below and we can learn from each others experiences!
Have a beautiful day ♥