[My last post reflected on my training in Reintegration Support Circles. This post continues to track my experience, especially in role-plays where we practiced how to conduct a Reintegration Support Circle with a returning citizen, his or her family members, and perhaps a clergy person or a community member.]
After reaching consensus on Guidelines, a Keeper asked us to write on 3 x 5 cards a Value that we wanted to bring to the Circle and explain why the value is important to us. According to author Kay Pranis*, values “help people remember who they want to be in their best selves before they want to work together.”* I wrote “generosity.” Others wrote honesty, compassion, commitment, and authenticity. And so on.
The process deepened my engagement. I knew I was on to something very special and different from my experience mediating.
Next came Story Telling: Beginning with the Keeper, participants shared stories about a life experience. Examples ranged from what it was like to return home after a long absence to a how we felt when someone gave us unexpected but needed support.
Imagine how this process was intensifying: From identifying ourselves and sharing our feelings about taking part in the circle, to our relationship with the RC, to suggesting guidelines and sharing values, to telling a personal story, I felt an ever deeper connection with those in my circle. (And this was only a role-play!)