'Council' is a non hierarchical and non violent form of communication in groups, that puts 'listening' in the focus.
In Council we listen without judgment, not to our story that wants to be told, not judging the stories we hear.
Council is about creating a safe space where we can connect to our stories and feel safe to share them.
By sharing, we feel we are not alone, we feel heard, and we feel empowered. It is a healing practice, a way of building a community.
A way of the heart.
European Council Report by Gigi (Virdinia Coyle)
Marlow and I left for Europe on All Soul's Day .looking yet again to connect with and contribute to the awakening of the group soul through council practice. ? We were still spinning from our time at Erosic Park with Jack and Jaqueline and pretty tired after long travel. However, meeting the first day with our European mentees was a great way to reboot. Five very strong, capable people came to take the next steps ...
A personal view by Rob
Friends to be...
I blunder slowly across a dark woodland area in search of fellows gathered for a sweat lodge experience. Eventually, a circle of silhouettes loom and greets me, identified only by voice. Nice to see you Rob! I grin unseen at the joke.
Impressions by Tina
Around fifty people and seven children are sitting in a huge circle , a candle and a talking piece in the beautiful decorated centre. To get to know each other they are sharing stories of the piece of land, they come from, touching stories rubbed into the surface of the talking piece that is wandering around the circle.
The third European Council Network Gathering has taken place in November 2010 in Switzerland.
Venue has been on Mount Rigi in a beautiful place in the centre of Switzerland with a great view on lake Lucerne and the surrounding mountains.
Letting go of that and choosing this
I made this journey to the third European Council Network (ECN) gathering in Switzerland. I couldn't know how this would be, but the call of community is in my heart and the seeds of Council in my bones. As I travel across magical Lake Lucerne the autumn leaves are golden, the sun is shining and something stirs within that is much larger than me. The Alps stand in beauty like distant witnesses. Another road takes me winding steep with forests appearing and Toblerone type houses planted in the hill side.
Deep roots and firm foundations
Seeds of Council: there are about twenty people from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Israel, Palestine and the U.S - old and new friends together. I'm touched and nervous to feel such good hearts, such good intentions and all these ingredients of good will, experience, innocence, kindness, hope and vision aspiring to come together for the shape and budding of this ECN.
I would like to give an impression of how I experienced these days, maybe some details but certainly not all, I will probably forget/overlook a lot but you will at least get an idea of what went on.
Most of us had a good start coming out of the Advanced Council Practise with Gigi and Marlow. We had a great time together with deep learnings, tough and emotional times and beautiful connections. We started at Thursday evening at 08.00 PM with a check-in. What is home? What do you need to feel at home? It brought us together in this new constellation. Not to late in bed, some of us travelled from afar.
"We cannot do it alone :) it takes the community to bring the idea into the world- who is in the community is chosen by the inner voice in each heart and not described by borders or words.....
I loved to be witnessed, softly challenged and supported by our elders- knowing that they would come in any time they felt needed
It was a challenge and it was fun- I learned a lot how to create and feed a community in just being there and share- no limits - and limits- both happening at the same time. To keep to my truth- even knowing it might be painful to others.....
It is important in council to honor and listen to the ones that have
gone before and the ones that will come......
All the different voices from different cultures and lands. I especially
liked the moments when i felt our hearts beat as one.....
It was deepening my understanding of council. And I can feel the influence
it has on my daily life - not always easy. Cause I see and feel even more of
the unconnectedness among people and the power people life over others
without being aware of it. It feels like a new channel has been opened that
makes me more vulnerable and also stronger and in times more irritated
Circles overlap and create a stronger connection. We help each other. Am I more useful as part of a network? We dig deeper to form the path that we walk. Where do we cross? Where and how can we offer help and support? We are more because we're together.
This sharing of knowing and not knowing brings me to how much our personal inner work affects our work in the world. We spend time in nature, the stillness allows us to listen and rest in the inner and outer ancient knowledge.
Like the seasons passing, something becomes nothing and nothing becomes everything. The spiral moves, a bridge appears and a shore is crossed. Elders scatter seeds, the 'old ways' take root once again and a way to make decisions and choices (without a vote) is accepted.
Virginia "Gigi" Coyle is a Council trainer, wilderness rites of passage guide and trainer, she is a co-author of The Box and The Way of Council. Gigi helped create and oversee the Ojai Foundation, an educational retreat sanctuary for youth and adults. She has worked extensively in the areas of citizen diplomacy, community development, permaculture and interspecies communication and is currently completing a year long intergenerational pilgrimage of service, Beyond Boundaries.
Marlow Hotchkiss is a poet, council trainer, ecologist and vision-fast guide with over 35 years of experience working with young people and adults in wilderness and rites-of-passage programs. He has taught high school and university-level courses and served as Co-Director of The Ojai Foundation in California from 1999 to 2007. Together with Gigi Coyle and other Ojai Foundation leaders, he has taken families, schools groups and youth leaders into the wilderness for teambuilding and visioning retreats. He is a father, grandfather and an avid naturalist.
ECN 2012 GATHERING
22th October – 1th November
So we have questions that we invite you to respond to. Please email us back with comments and or intentions to support the Spiral around:
1. What Training would you like at the next gathering 2012?
2. Who supports the Spiral of 5 ?
3. Who supports the organisation of the ECN gathering 2012 ?
We also need people for specific tasks –
Web person for design/updating for the year
Translator German – English for the website
Ongoing topics created from the ECN 2011 Open Space –
• Mapping of methods
• “Being prepared” – council in times of collapse
• Worldwide council
• Council in schools
• Council with young people
• Advertising in council
• Experiences in different surroundings
• How to deepen the practise
• Experiences of council in business
• How to nourish the circle within yourself
• Vision of the ECN