Archives - Circles of compassion
"Until we extend the circle of compassion to all living things,
we will not find peace".
Since 2001 WWSF, a partner of the Millionth Circle Movement, offers occasional trainings on how to create Circles of Compassion and disseminates guidelines in French, English and Spanish.
Contact: wwsf@ wwsf.ch
WWSF is pleased to share with the NGO community, UN agencies, and civil society at large the idea of creating circles of compassion and 'the Millionth Circle 2005', a movement for a dialogue process leading up to the 5th UN World Conference on Women in 2005. A circle dialogue is a special kind of conversation with the purpose to learn and reflect about important subjects and experiences in a non-confrontational way, and find solutions.
During the 5-year Review Conference on Social Development (June Geneva 2000 Forum) WWSF and NGO leaders discussed how to engage in a dynamic preparatory process towards the 5th UN World Conference on Women in 2005 and promote dialogue circles with women and men around the world for the purpose of achieving the Beijing development goals *.
What is a Circle
In her book 'Women Circling the Earth', Beverly Engel offers a powerful guide to fostering community, healing and empowerment. A circle is not just a gathering of people who sit in a circle on the floor or a meeting where the chairs are arranged in a circle. Circle meetings provide simple, yet powerful tools to help teach people how to communicate more honestly and openly. What we wish to promote is an alternative to box-like hierarchical structures and confining systems which dominate today. Among other things, circles can help us to:
- Listen without judgment
- Foster cooperation and understanding
- Help implement creative solutions to problems
- Bridge differences
- Help settle disputes and reach consensus
- Encourage reconciliation and apology
We live in a world that cultivates separateness between people. When people join together in circle, they become keenly aware that such separateness does not really exist on a deeper level. Circles help alleviate the feeling that we stand alone against the harshness of modern society. They remind us that we are all one.
Circle meetings are excellent places for people to learn positive lessons about power. Circles rotate leadership so that each member gets a chance to experience the role of the leader. There is no hierarchy, only interactive, distributed leadership and accountability.To seed and nurture circles, wherever possible, in order to cultivate equality, sustainable livelihoods, preservation of the earth and peace for all.
Create your own Circle of Compassion
Invite your friends, colleagues and acquaintances and make sure to ask that people make a commitment to working within the circle to achieve the group objective. We encourage you to focus on the twelve critical areas of concern mentioned above by making them your rallying points, thereby participating in the preparatory process leading up to the 5th UN World Conference on Women in 2005. Appeal to all women and men of goodwill and to all those in power to focus on the promised Beijing goals.
Women with experience in circle methodology can bring circles into communities. Each new circle represents one more on the way toward the 'Millionth Circle', which is a symbolic number, contributing to change commonly-held perceptions of what matters and what is possible. Experienced circle facilitators are available to help you start off in organizing your own circle.
You may wish to add a spiritual dimension to your Circle
A prayer-meditation component in your circle connects members to each other at the soul level, deepens the group, reveals what really matters to the members, and brings spirit into the circle and through the circle into everyday life. When opening the circle, use a go-around fashion to encourage each person to share briefly what is closest to their heart and what is most important in their lives at that particular moment. To close the circle, acknowledge any situation that was discussed and in need of a remedy and have the circle give it its blessings. Close with a final go-around. It is important to provide ample time for silent prayer or contemplation before closing. Each person is free to pray in his/her own way. Circles are not intended to replace already-established religious practices.
Tell us about your Circle(s) of Compassion wwsf@ wwsf.ch) and we will publish your activities in our Global Newsletters and on our web site
WWSF wishes to acknowledge all the pioneers in circle work who have helped bring this idea whose time has come to the world, such as the Chakra Circle, the Circle of Seven, The Women's International Dialogue, The Millionth Circle phenomena, PeerSpirit, Women Circling the Earth, Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture, Visualizing Alternative Structures Video, and others. In addition we honor all the wise women everywhere, young and old, who continue to gather in circles as a way to bring the spirit of community closer together in their circle of hearts.