📃 ▹ Here are a few rules/steps to maximize the impact of a circle, and make it a repeatable fun experience…
1 | 🕊 Before » Nature Attitude & Behavior
» At the beginning of any circle, gather in a circle and spend a minute to remind yourself and the circle that our attitude at the moment is rooted in Empathy, Humility, and wanting to gain Knowledge. As well as we acknowledge that we will manage ourselves by observing proper etiquette towards our environment and our circle companions.
» Our circles are also about listening. Listening to Nature, as well as listening to our companions. In a moment of excitement, it is easy to forget to not interrupt, to remain quiet… To help us in those moments, we like the concept of a talking stone.
A talking stone is simply an external tool to remind ourselves to listen to others or even to ourselves. Bring one wherever you go, and use it whenever you feel the group or yourself needs it.
2 | 👁 Start » Vision & Focus
» Gather the participants in a circle. Thank each other for being there together. Allow a little time to enter a more relaxed frame of mind. The circle moderator can then introduce the use or recall the use of the talking stone and remind the group of the Nature attitude, what are circles about (vision), and what is the focus (or objectives) that this circle wishes to have this time.
» Vision. The overall vision of a circle is to connect, to open our minds, senses, and understanding of our mutual relationship with Nature. State it out loud to the circle so that it permeates and feeds the session.
» Safety. Take a moment, recalling the hazards of the area (if any), and reassure the participants with how to prevent problems, and what to do in the eventuality of an issue (Keeping Safe » Understanding Hazards).
» Focus. That you are alone or with others, stating what you wish to experience and observe helps to clarify the mind and deepen the experience. Choose a Circle activity or have one ready (that you initiated and prepared for) and have fun! However, during the session, allow yourself to wander & ‘wonder’ around, and make discoveries.
3 | 🖍 During » Senses out, Marvel at Nature and Record
» Experience with your senses. Keep notes, sketch, record your observations and reflections in your journal.
» All the way throughout a circle, make sure that you –and your circle– is managing itself in a way that places the welfare of wildlife and the respect of the habitat ahead of any other consideration. This means following proper general wildlife etiquette, as well as being aware of special considerations depending on the habitats, species that we are enjoying, and the wildlife activities that we are involved with.
4 | 💝 End » Share and Inspire
» A sharing circle within the Circle. Close your circle activity with a sharing and inspiration moment with your circle.
» At the end of the session, gather again in a circle and get the talking stone out, or use a talking piece such as an item that you or a companion found along the trail and that you want to share about. This is a time that encourages reflections and deepens the experience and awareness.
» Pass the stone or the item around and invite each of the participants to share the highlight of their experience. Discuss one of their sketches, one of their pics or reflections, or discuss the found-and-shared item.
It’s not necessarily about knowledge, actually most of the time it’s really more about the perception of our environment: a sense of wonder, surprise, joy, or even pain. Often what happens in those moments, is that someone shares something and another person realizes that s/he had the same feeling but had not noticed until it was shared. In this sense, this is raising our own awareness of ourselves.
» If you are alone, do the same, grab the stone ritualizing the experience and recall your favorite moment then record it in your journal.
» Think about sharing your experience and the activities that got you inspired, with the EwA community. We have a forum just for that!
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