At the Watershed Retreat Center in Millerton (Upstate) New York
Council is an ancient way and a modern practice whose roots are deep within the natural world, spanning diverse cultures and spiritual traditions. It integrates a contemporary understanding of group dynamics with traditional forms of group interaction from Western, Eastern, Hawaiian, and Native American cultures. Here we remember and learn to listen to the whole: the people, the place and all living things. This practice elicits an experience of deep community, recognizing that each voice has value; every person has a gift, a story to share, a piece of the puzzle. Council comes from and connects with the earth and its mysterious and exuberant life.
Open, heartfelt expression and attentive, empathic listening lie at the heart of Council. It’s simple formats support us in developing and sustaining direct, honest, and effective communication with those we care about–our relationship partners, our friends, and other groups that have a place in our lives. We learn to be more spontaneous, authentic and “lean” in our speech as we pass the talking piece and invite each and every voice to be heard.
Council is effective in organizations, communities, schools, families, partnerships that want to move more fully into a partnership model where initiative, responsibility, collaboration and leadership are shared. It has been used in for-profit businesses, social-profit organizations, public and private schools, universities, faith-based organizations, intentional communities, families, ongoing groups in the US and around the world