When Diana arrived at our last steering council meeting, she checked in, not with the latest saga of Kelly’s illness, but with a description of her day so far: “It is what I always dreamed Healing Circles could and would be.”

The day started with an ongoing Qigong class, held in a small room upstairs with windows on three sides, overlooking the waters of Saratoga Passage and graced by our resident guardian eagle.

Meanwhile downstairs, two Healing Circles “hosts,” Kären and Donna, formed a circle of two, catching up with each other. Soon, the door opened, and a new host-in-training walked in. As retired nurses, Kären and Donna both have extensive experience in helping others access community resources. They had just begun training the new host when a young woman walked in, wide-eyed, telling them she was new to the community and struggling. A friend had told her to turn to Healing Circles for help. “What is this place anyway?” she asked. “I don’t know why I’m here.” Kären sat down with her in the Circle-of-Two room to listen to her story. Forty minutes later, the woman asked if she could just sit for a while because she found comfort in the welcoming physical space.

Donna continued the training but soon realized that what was most on the new volunteer host’s mind was a friend’s recent cancer diagnosis. The need to learn about community resources became more immediate.

Meanwhile, Qigong class was over, and class members broke into circles of two and three in the upstairs room. But one had more on her mind. She had had to miss several classes due to a family emergency out of state. Diana suggested they talk, which they did for an hour, each learning from the other’s experience as a caregiver about when to be allies, advocates, or adversaries with the care system.

Soon after lunch, a full circle of caregivers gathered in the living room in front of the fireplace, sharing and supporting one another in their difficult roles. When that circle ended, it was replaced by the steering council circle, which addressed pressing practical matters, such as who would buy new toner for the printer, who could draft a donor letter, and who would respond to the evolving needs of the community and requests for new circles.

Soup and Solace came next – a dinner-hour circle for those experiencing grief over the loss of a loved one. And to close the day, the men’s group gathered.

This was one day in the life of Healing Circles Langley. We are alive and well, and it is how we hold the vision, tenderly and with open curiosity, that enables us to continue to thrive.