Way of Council
Council is a practice of speaking and listening from the heart. We come together in a circle that creates a container for empathy and honesty.
The ancient form of Council is a practice that moves us to a deeper, more compassionate level of communicating and being.
What is Council?
The call of Council has been a natural means of communication for ancient people. Story is a way of maintaining a connection to the myths, gods and spirits and of keeping the ways of traditions alive. The ancient form of Council embraces the sacred in all life and is a spiritual practice that moves us to a compassionate deeper level of communicating and being.
In modern times the core practice of Council sets a container for empathy and honesty. It provides a way of bearing witness and of peacemaking that accepts diversity in ourselves and each other and helps cultivate non hierarchical power. When in Council we step into a timeless space and spirit moves through us. We experience the deep connection to all life.
Council is not about fixing things and being right. It is a practice of speaking and listening from the heart; a means of opening to heartfelt compassionate expression and non judgmental acceptance of how and who and where people are. Council is a practice of witnessing self, others and the environment at one and the same time. It is a teaching that brings intention, acceptance and authentic speaking to the centre of our hearts, creating the possibility for truly engaged relationships, the understanding of community and an opening to wholeness.
“What needs to be said and what needs to be heard is the truth of the moment”
How do we embrace the form of Council?
We need two or more people in a circle, a ‘talking piece’ to focus attention and a few chosen intentions.
Speaking from the heart
When speaking from the heart, we speak with simplicity and honesty. We aim to leave preconceived thoughts, ideas and concepts outside the circle; letting the truth of the moment arise.
Listening from the heart
When practicing listening from the heart we aim to leave judgments outside the circle. We listen with our whole body and being. It's like listening to the wind or the silence of dawn. When we listen in this way we start to embrace the person who is speaking. In listening deeply we feel the connection of our truth with the truth of others.
Lean with words
Resisting the temptation to prepare what we are going to say and being aware that there are others who need to speak means that we do not lose focus with rambling dialogues. We learn to trust that when we get out of the way the larger voice and deeper truth of the circle can come through. We take collective responsibility for time, knowing that if some people need more others will realise the need to take less. This way we create ceremonial time together.
It is important to feel safe enough to share our heartfelt truths without the fear of gossip. A commitment to integrity and confidentiality creates a safe and loving place to express ourselves.
The weekend workshop will cover:
Creating special time and place
The practice of the five intentions of Council
The way of story and the art of listening deeply
Various forms of Council – including spiral, fish bowl, dyad
The fundamentals of leading Council in your own field of work
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
William Shakespeare, King Lear.
“The Way of Council is an extraordinary process that I’m so lucky to have experienced. It was a magical weekend, transformative and potentially life changing, laughter, trust, new and vibrant movement all arising out of such gentle and powerful work together. A rich source of learning about so many things – love, death, shame, fear, nature, facilitation, paradox – I could go on and have done to anyone who would listen. Profound!"
Bala Brook, Way of Council 2012
"Pippa's introduction to The Way of Council created something beautiful over a weekend that will be with me for ever. With warmth, humor and compassion a safe and trusting space was created where people could speak from the heart. It was a wonderful personal journey and also left me with new approaches that I could immediately put into practice in my facilitation and consultancy work."
Steve Onyett, Bristol, UK