The Fireside Circle

Are you annoyed by the radical opinions that show up in your Facebook feed? Some of those posts really are off the chart, aren’t they? Social media can leave us feeling frustrated and a little edgy.

That echo-chamber unrest lingers long after we’ve walked away.

In our current environment, we push harder against those with whom we disagree. It’s a struggle to stay calm. We are yelling our truth to an unhearing world.  This is a time of social and political unrest.

That unrest is like a forceful current dragging us into the ocean, a riptide. We’re being swept away from safety into an ocean of uncertainty and anxiety.  Swimming faster or harder will not make things better. It only makes it worse.

A riptide is stronger than you; if we swim against it, we are pulled farther away from safety. Lifeguards advise us to swim parallel to the shore to escape the strong ocean tides.

Join me
We can escape this riptide of discontent.  How?  We can swim parallel to the noise and leave the riptide of anger behind.

Instead of yelling, we can listen to each other.

  • Listening to each other expands our vision.
  • Listening to each other helps us realize we are all connected.
  • Listening to each other heals us.

The Fireside Circle is a place to listen.

When we truly listen, we are both a giver and a receiver. We give attention, we receive perspective. New perspectives expand our choices.

Here, you can leave the riptide behind.

When we listen to each other, we increase opportunities to discover and create real and workable solutions.

Listening is difficult
Honestly, though, it’s hard to listen with an open mind. Really hard.

Here’s why. When we focus our attention and truly listen to another person, it makes us feel uncertain. We wonder, will they say something we disagree with? At a deeper level, we question… are they really the person we think they are?

When we listen deeply, we don’t know what to expect. That makes us feel uncertain.

Uncertainty is painful. Our primal instincts tell us that what we don’t know could kill us.  Eons of struggle for human survival conditioned us to automatically feel anxious when facing uncertainty.

It’s easier to be anxious. We know what it’s like to feel anxious. Anxiety is certainty. We crave certainty.

So, in our search for certainty in an uncertain world, we increase anxiety.

Ancient answers
But this is not new. This deep need for certainty in a world filled with uncertainty has been our dilemma since the dawn of time.

Our ancient ancestors managed uncertainty by gathering around a fire to share their stories. They learned from each other.  By the fire, they evolved culture and what it means to be human. They knew, as we also know deep down, that everything is connected.

All humans are connected. Our actions have impact. Always.

Technology may be different, but our humanity is not. Our common link is the wish to be connected to others in a good way. Connected, not in a tribal us-against-them way, but in a heartfelt encompassing way.

“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force….
When we are listened to,
It creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”
– Karl Menninger

An invitation
Please join me in a Fireside Circle.

Fireside Circles are a sacred place to share our stories from a place of truth.  After lighting a candle and engaging in a short centering exercise to open the circle, we pass a talking piece.

The person holding the talking piece is the only person talking – everyone else listens.

It’s that simple.

The Circle Keeper ensures that everyone is safe to speak their truth and that what you say here will be held in confidence.

Our brains are wired for story
What I learned from my years of serving as a Circle Keeper and leading talking circles in my home is that our stories shape how we see the world.  Stories teach us how to behave.

Here in the Fireside Circle, we express what’s true without provoking an argument. We learn how others see things differently.

Listening allows us to choose a different path.

As a certified and credentialed Life Coach, I create an environment where you experience safety and acceptance. My talking stick has made the rounds many times, both in-person and online.

You can express yourself without judgment here.

When someone listens to our story, we are accepted and validated. Our importance is recognized. When we listen to another person telling their story, we learn their perspective, their history, their values.

In the Fireside Circle

  • Everyone is respected
  • Everyone gets a chance to talk without interruption
  • Everyone is equal in importance
  • You speak your truth by telling your stories
  • You are welcomed as a whole person, including your emotional and spiritual aspects

When we listen and hear the stories, we gain new perspectives. From new perspectives, we now have different choices.

Here’s what one recent participant said after she experienced her first online Fireside Circle:

I received many ahas and insights, conscious reminders
of the importance for Courage
and needing a sense of connectedness at this time in my life.
In our lives – for we are all connected.

I feel more complete and whole…
I feel seen, validated and appreciated.– Tracy Fortuny
Northwest Arkansas

We can create a better world
Our current social, political, and cultural systems are built on outdated paradigms.  Those systems allowed us to remain blind to the pain inflicted on each other. They were created for a different day and age.

Through our collective experience of unrest, we long for peace, we long for compassion. and we long to renew our human connection. To evolve, though, we must include what has passed even while we transcend it.

I believe our collective calling in this moment is to transform humanity.

To speak and acknowledge the truth of our personal past frees us to create a new future. To hear and comprehend the truth of another person validates us as humans.

“Connection has nothing to do with proximity and everything to do
with the collective capacity to create.”
– Priya Parker

Participants have been known to leave a Fireside Circle to join together and make a difference.  One group decided to volunteer together at the local food bank. One person heard a story that described the experience of someone new to our country, and she now mentors newly arrived international students.

Another person’s perspective reveals new choices.

It is time to listen and hear each other. We can change the collective story one Fireside Circle at a time.

Listening opens us. Listening will change everything.

Please join us.

Until the end of this summer, Fireside Circles are free.

UPCOMING dates and times:

  • Monday, August 3 – 4:00 to 6:00 pm CST
  • Tuesday, August 18 – 6:30 to 8:30 pm CST
  • Wednesday, September 2 – 9:00 to 11:00 am CST
  • Thursday, September 17 – 1:00 to 3:00 pm CST