Being Touchstones

— intentional practices for collaboration—

1. Practicing Being Present: Be here. Be present as fully as you are able. Be here with your doubts, fears, and failings as well as your convictions, joys, and successes.

2. Practicing Welcome: Receive welcome and extend welcome. People learn best in welcoming spaces. In ARC, we support each other’s learning by giving and receiving welcome.

3. Practicing Speaking with Intention: Speak your T(t)ruth in ways that respect the T(t)ruths of others.

4. Practicing Listening with Authenticity and Depth: Listen deeply with respect. Help to “hear each other into deeper speech”.

5. Practicing Exploration: Breathe. Everything is an invitation. It is not share or die. Simultaneously, everyone’s voice matters and contributes to creating a picture of the issues in the moment as it helps us to understand our present reality and identify our work.

6. Practicing Trust: No fixing, saving or advising. Respecting that the inner teacher is present in and guiding each of us while we learn in community.

7. Practicing Confidentiality: Safety is built when we can trust that our words and stories will remain with the people with whom we choose to share and are not repeated to others without our permission. Be attentive to and assure that your Zoom space is secure. Stories stay, lessons go.

8. Practicing Living the Questions: Let go of right answers. When it’s hard, turn to wonder. If you feel judgmental, or defensive, ask yourself, “I wonder what brought her/him/them to this belief?” “I wonder what feelings are arising for him/her/them?” and perhaps most important “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about myself?”

9. Practicing Pausing: Offer space and time to ponder. Be open to pausing, silence, and listening to understand before speaking and to hearing from our inner teacher as well as from each other.

10. Practicing Grace and Reflection: Honor that we are all learning together. Embrace missteps as an opportunity to learn — about ourselves, about others and about how we are socialized. Be open to the cycles of ownership, responsibility, regret, grace, reflection, redemption, and forgiveness.

11. Practicing Hope: Believe that it’s possible to emerge from this work with what you need, what the community needs, and with more energy, openness, and perspective, so that our community can hold greater capacity for transformation, healing and wholeness.

Adapted from Circle of Trust® Touchstones Center for Courage & Renewal (CCR), founded by Parker J. Palmer https://couragerenewal.org/wpccr/touchstones/ by Sherry Watt—with deep gratitude to Veta Goler and Sally Z. Hare. Each are facilitators prepared by the CCR.

The Theory of Being: Practices for Transforming Self and Communities Across Difference; Sherry K. Watt, Duhita Mahatmya, Milad Mohebali and Charles R. Martin-Stanley II, Stylus Publishing, 2022 ISBN 9781642673654

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