Wisdom Circles: A Guide to Self Discovery and Community Building in Small Groups
by Charles Garfield, Cindy Spring, Sedonia Cahill (Hyperion,1998)
About Cindy Spring (co-author)
The Wisdom Circles book was a collaboration of Cindy Spring, Charles Garfield and Sedonia Cahill (now passed). Cindy conceived the idea of having guidelines for forming a circle for those who wanted to support each other in various kinds of explorations.
The Ten Constants were formulated during a vision quest taken by Cindy in the spring of 1994. It was led by Sedonia, a vision quest guide, in the high Sierra Mountains. Charles, a clinical psychologist and Cindy’s husband, joined as co-author in order to provide psychological depth to the book as well as ways to address difficult personalities that can show up in any human group.
Their collaboration resulted in a book published by Hyperion in 1998 (paperback in 1999) that found its way around the world. Cindy, who maintained the website, received reports from people using the format throughout the US, as well as far-flung places such as Taiwan, Germany and the Arctic Circle.
Also gratifying were reports of diverse contexts where the Wisdom Circles format was being used. It became a fixture in trainings at Shanti Project, founded by Charles Garfield, where volunteers are trained in practical and emotional support for people with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer and AIDS. People reported using wisdom circles in organizational settings in order to create more cohesion among employees. One major insurance company introduced the format from bottom to top in its corporate culture. A social worker in Los Angles wrote about how effective the format was in round table discussions among gang members. Homeless people dropping into St. Mary’s Adult Day Care Center in Oakland met in wisdom circles for two years. Hundreds of circles have come together in senior communities.
The wisdom circle format introduces skills such as speaking from the heart and listening from the heart to all who hunger for deeper connection. It also encourages us to give voice to our fears and concerns, allowing people to sometimes say they have never felt that anyone was listening fully to them in their entire lives.
Currently, Cindy is creating wisdom circles for elders within the Conscious Elders Network www.consciouselders.org based in California. She also participates in a wisdom circle focused on how we can face what we’re learning about climate change. The impact of this one seed of consciousness – the wisdom circle format – has rippled and multiplied throughout the world. Each of us contains seeds of consciousness that can impact others far beyond our awareness. May it be so.
To contact Cindy Spring you can e-mail her at: <email@example.com>