In the Circle of Trust with Barbara Reid
TFT folk recently participated in a Circle of Trust facilitated by Barbara Reid from the Centre for Courage and Renewal. Here I share a little about the Circle and introduce a podcast I recorded with Barbara.
When something keeps popping up on your radar, it’s probably worth stopping a mo to check it out. “What is that thing?” Over the past 12 months, I’ve seen references to the ‘Centre for Courage and Renewal’ over and over again. It seems to have been saying, “Come on! You need to learn about me”.
First, a friend posted an article by the Centre’s Founder, Parker J. Palmer, on Facebook that resonated with me very strongly. Visiting the website, I learned that the Centre is based near Seattle which is where TFT’s North American office is located. Next, a friend from Australia mentioned the training she was doing with the Centre and how she loved it and recommended I check them out. So I did. I read blogs and listened to podcasts. Then a colleague, Nick Ross, mentioned the Centre’s work and that he had participated in the Centre's 'Academy for Leaders' program in the US. “You what?” Too many coincidences!
Nick recommended we participate in a Circle of Trust and introduced us to Barbara Reid, the nearest Centre for Courage and Renewal facilitator to our Geneva office. We were thrilled when Barbara agreed. [Note: Courage and Renewal facilitators are also in Australia, Canada, Guatemala and New Zealand as well as the U.S.]
We were all given links to the Circle of Trust Approach and did our homework to understand what was going to happen. Eighteen folk (including Barbara and Nick) gathered as we kicked off the first morning.
Barbara eased us into the two-day work program slowly and calmly, introducing the key principles of the Circle of Trust Approach. I found myself descending to a more thoughtful place as she shared poetry and quotes and introduced us to the ‘bridge’ metaphor:
from Bridge for the living by Philip Larkin
Reaching for the world, as our lives do,
As all lives do, reaching that we may give
The best of what we are and hold as true:
Always it is by bridges that we live
In the afternoon, we got deeper into the exploration of our own inner voice and that led to a fascinating session in the evening where we explored the use of open, honest questions. It’s nowhere near as easy as it sounds and we learned very quickly how we tend to rush to solve people’s problems for them, cutting short their own exploration at quite some detriment.
On the second day, Barbara introduced ‘Clearness Triads’ which was a modified, shortened version of the 'Clearness Committee' concept used in the Circle of Trust. We formed into groups of three and following the Approach’s practices, we worked together to explore a dilemma currently playing out in each person’s life. We each had five minutes to describe the dilemma and then our two colleagues had 30 minutes to ask open, honest questions based on what they’d heard. There was then a five-minute period for reflection and affirmation before a small celebration at the end. Absolutely exhausting! But we all found it to be a very effective tool to help us really grapple with issues affecting our work and lives.
We did some more work and reflection in the afternoon before a wrap up at the end. People went off, quietly, each benefitting from having enjoyed a period of time-out for deep introspection about their work and their purpose.
And then we had our Christmas Party!!
I nabbed Barbara before she headed for the airport and we recorded a TFT Earthworm podcast (see the link below).
I loved hearing more about Barbara and the Circle of Trust Approach but I really loved Barbara’s description of the power of bringing poetry, art and music to discussions to help give us a wider perspective on an issue so it’s less charged. That certainly resonates with TFT’s work and is one of the key messages in my book Beyond Certification. Best of all was Barbara’s observation that our values can be a plumb line for our work. Amen to that!