Last week I wrote about our new “Falling Upward” book groups and that it is much more than just a book-study group. There are ways that it connects us with the spirit of small covenant groups of John Wesley’s (and the early church), while drawing on some of the best insights of our time for spiritual formation, community and discernment. Here is a little more on how this is different . . . This is an introduction to “Circles of Trust” that are based on writings by Parker Palmer and “The Center for Courage and Renewal.” Below I’m sharing the “Touchstones for a Circle of Trust” of which we are reminded at the beginning of each group. Even if you don’t join us in person during a group, these “Touchstones” can offer helpful guidelines for deep listening in many different occasions.
We had several new people join us this week and others are talking of joining us for the Sunday afternoon group (1:00 – 2:30 pm.) We will continue meeting through November and would love to have you join us!
Remember — each group stands on its own, so you can join us in November any Wednesday 10:00 – 11:00 am (except Nov. 25th) or Sunday 1:00 – 2:30 pm. We will be meeting in room 230 each week. And don’t worry if you haven’t been able to get the book by Richard Rohr . . . (Which is, however, also available on Kindle and Audible through Amazon.
Hope to see you there.
Touchstones for a Circles of Trust
Be 100% present, extending and presuming welcome. Set aside the usual distractions of things undone from yesterday, things to do tomorrow. Bring all of yourself to the work. We all learn most effectively in spaces that welcome us. Welcome others to this place and this work, and presume that you are welcomed.
Listen deeply. Listen intently to what is said; listen to the feelings beneath the words. “To ‘listen’ another’s soul into life, into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another.” — [Writer Douglas Steere] Listen to yourself also. Strive to achieve a balance between listening and reflecting, speaking and acting.
Always by invitation. It is never “share or die.” You will be invited to share in pairs, small groups, and in the large group. The invitation is exactly that. You will determine the extent to which you want to participate in our discussions & activities.
No fixing. Each of us is here to discover our own truths, to listen to our own inner teacher, to take our own inner journey. We are not here to set someone else straight, or to help right another’s wrong, to “fix” or “correct” what we perceive as broken or incorrect in another member of the group.
Suspend judgment. Set aside your judgments. By creating a space between judgments and reactions, we can listen to the other, and to ourselves, more fully, & thus our perspectives, decisions and actions are more informed.
Identify assumptions. Our assumptions are usually invisible to us, yet they under-gird our worldview, our decisions & our actions. By identifying our assumptions, we can then set them aside and open our viewpoints to greater possibilities.
Speak your truth. Say what is in your heart, trusting that your voice will be heard and your contribution respected. Your truth may be different from, even the opposite of, what another in the circle has said. Speaking your truth is not debating with, or correcting, or interpreting what another has said. Own your truth by speaking only for yourself, using “I” statements.
Respect silence. Silence is a rare gift in our busy world. After you or someone else has spoken, take time to reflect and fully listen, without immediately filling the space with words.
Maintain confidentiality. Create a safe space by respecting the confidential nature & content of discussions in the circle. What is said in the circle, remains there.
When things get difficult, turn to wonder. If you find yourself disagreeing with another, becoming judgmental, shutting down in defense, try turning to wonder: “I wonder what brought her to this place?” “I wonder what my reaction teaches me?” “I wonder what he’s feeling right now?”
Adapted from Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer
Book Study: Falling Upward by Richard Rohr
November 4 – 18, 2015
Wednesdays | 10:00 – 11:00 am | Room 230
November 8 – 29, 2015
Sundays | 1:00 – 3:00 pm | Room 230
Led by Dr. Len Delony
In Falling Upward, Father Richard Rohr seeks to help readers understand the tasks of the two halves of life and show them that those who have fallen, failed, or “gone down” are the only ones who understand “up.” Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of life, but the whole thesis of this book is exactly the opposite. What looks like falling down can largely be experienced as “falling upward.” In fact, it is not a loss but somehow actually a gain, as we have all seen with elders who have come to their fullness. Click here to purchase the book on Amazon. For more information, contact Dr. Len Delony (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 817/939-4593.