In the silence before we speak in circle, we give ourselves permission to access and allow any emotion that is present. Circle gives us the strength to feel and explore what we might otherwise have buried. We don’t direct emotion to any other member of the circle but, instead, offer it to the center as fuel for the fire.

Sitting on the rim of the circle as host and guardian, we bear witness. If we have done our work exploring our own emotional interior, we can stay longer with another’s pain and suffering without being triggered ourselves. The ancient Taoists called this “earning your pearl;” it is holding without taking on, or catch and release.

The following blog posts provide more information.

Fear and Anxiety

Sitting with Uncertainty

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The following discussion (originally posted January 22, 2012) is an example of circle taking place in many forms. Because Terri Mason asked the original questions, this post is attributed to her, but many others contributed. In the thread below,…

The Faces of Fear

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Participants in a Callanish circle were invited to name the many faces of fear.

Grief and Loss

Snowy winter scene

Words from a Caregiver 

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Claire Robson from Vancouver, Canada, joined a new healing circle at Callanish and shares her experience and perspective as a member. 
Commonweal bluffs

Caring for a Soulmate

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Deborah Baker first learned about healing circles at Commonweal’s Cancer Help Program. She describes her caregiver journey and how healing circles could have helped. She is inspired to start a healing circle for caregivers in Hawaii.
Fire in wood stove

A Healing Circle for Supporters

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As co-host of a new healing circle for caregivers at Callanish (in Vancouver, Canada), Susie lets the circle do the work. With minimal structure, the participants create their own healing and meet their own needs. 
Healing Circles Houston

Healing Circles Houston: Where BIG Meets the Pace of Guidance

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Healing Circles Houston has been opening doors of opportunity since 2016 in partnership with many like-minded organizations throughout our communities.

A Conversation with a Widow’s Nervous System

The pain of loss is such an isolating experience, where the outside and inside of us are not aligned. We are out of sync with humanity, and yet we are inside an experience that each and every one of us will have.

Managing the Time Warp of Loss: Why Do They Want to Marry the Widow off?

When our parents die, no one tries to comfort us by saying, "You can love like this again with a new mother, new father, or a different grandparent.” Yet, with the loss of a spouse, people quickly start talking about a new companion, a new sexual partner, a new friend.

In Exile 

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Sharing moments from a tender counseling session with a bereaved mother, Janie Brown takes a strong and compassionate look at the impact of loss on our hearts and our lives. Do we actually “move on?” Do we actually “get over it?”
CC BY-NC 2.0

An Apprenticeship with Sorrow

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Francis Weller views grieving our current, as well as our "untended" sorrows, as essential for the freedom and vitality of our souls. He says, “Learning to welcome, hold, and metabolize sorrow is the work of a lifetime.”
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Poems About Grief

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Poetry can touch our hearts and minds in a way no other language can. These poems can help us slip past our usual thinking and sink into a wider, deeper, and more intimate wisdom.

Love and Joy

The Healing Power of Love

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A terminal diagnosis led to 10 lessons on love and the start of Healing Circles Langley.

Allow

There is no controlling life.
Try corralling a lightning bolt,
containing a tornado.  Dam a
stream, and it will create a new
channel.  Resist, and the tide
will sweep you off your feet.
Allow, and grace will carry
you to higher ground.  The only
safety lies in letting it all in –
the wild with the weak; fear,
fantasies, failures and success.
When loss rips off the doors of
the heart, or sadness veils your
vision with despair, practice
becomes simply bearing the truth.
In the choice to let go of your
known way of being, the whole
world is revealed to your new eyes.

by Danna Faulds
from her book, Go In and In
Published with permission

The Three Questions

In the video below, Khris Ford, of The Austin Center for Grief and Loss, discusses the three questions that we face as we walk the path through grief:

  • What is lost?
  • What is left?
  • What’s possible?

Header photo courtesy of Callanish