Healing in Community


Dear New School Friends:

Does some part of you call out for healing?
Do you know we heal best in relationship, in community?
Do you wish for a relationship or community that would help you heal–and learn better how to help others?

Healing Circles is a simple way to learn how to find or create such healing relationships or communities. The Healing Circles training guide is a good resource.

People have gathered in healing circles since the beginning of time. In our era, Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the granddaddies of healing circle work. Traditions we draw on include Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea’s Circle Way and Parker Palmer’s work at the Center for Courage and Renewal. Different people bring different traditions into their circles.

Which tradition of circle work you choose doesn’t matter as long as it provides good guidance. What matters is entering and sustaining authentic healing relationships. It isn’t a healing circle unless you experience it as healing. Because different people experience different circles as healing, one size can’t fit all.

You can’t take people deeper than you have traveled yourself. The only way to experience deep healing is to practice it.

The good news is you can practice every day. The first healing relationship is with ourselves. You can practice healing with yourself at any moment with every conscious breath.

The next is with one other person. You can have a deep circle of two with someone you sit next to on a plane, or someone you live with every day.

And so the circle grows. Practices that work change with the number of people in the circle. What works also changes with who is in the circle, whether the circle is time-limited or continuing, the agreements that govern the circle, whether the circles is closed or open to new people, the setting, and much more.

We can only be authentic in a true healing circle. Nothing else works. Nothing else allows healing to take place.

That authenticity is ever changing. No feeling is final. We can only start with ourselves. We’re all beginners. Some of us have just known we are beginners for a little longer than others.

Welcome to the Circle,


2 thoughts on “Healing in Community

  1. Dear Michael,
    Will you be offering training again for the cancer help program, and/or Healing Circles? I have long been interested…

  2. Hello Micheal, your conversation with journalist on Haida was fascinating. I’ve paddled several month long sea kayaking expeditions off the B.C. coast just south of queen Charlotte . The connections to Sal Alinsky were also interesting. In high school a very dear classmate … Her father was the foremost biographer of Alinsky. He was a very fine sociology professor from the university of Chicago. As I understand it He spent much of his easily career running a boilerroom activist operation to help minorities apply and get into medical school… Chicago had a group of activists, muckrakers, journalists that were “ social entrepreneurs” much like yourself. I was affected by Nelson Algren, Studs and mike royko’s writing and labor historians like les Orear, James Green etc. Mike royko’s oldest son recently reminded folks that his dad was tending bar at the family tavern at age 12 and handling payoffs to Police and politicians. My mother’s side of family were polar opposites, they were progressive, ranchers / westerners. From Mormon pioneers stock. I hear the voices of ethnic Chicagoans ( my father, “tree, turdy tree” 3:33 ) and my mother’s Utah twang ringing through my ear… my jack Mormon grandfather ( b 1902) was a Norman Thomas socialist ( the least likely of his kind) and often quoted Gandhi, senator Wayne Morse and Bertram Russell. You’re a brilliant east coast intellectual, progressive thinker and activist Micheal. I love your interview skills. “ let’s take a moment and let that sink in”. Dam right ! , “ take that and think about it” thank you for your writing, educating and listening. All the best, Jeff.

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