Keeping Connected Through Circle Spaces
Circles can build, restore, and deepen connections. A circle orientation puts relationships at the center. It’s a way of being. Even in this time of “social distancing,” technology and intention can help communities become closer than they were before.
As a conflict-transformation scholar-practitioner for over two decades, I seek to bring circles into my day-to-day personal and professional life. Circle processes happen in person. In the wake of the pandemic, I have been adapting these to the virtual platform.
In the last month, I have facilitated several circle spaces one-on-one, with family, at work meetings, in exchanges with friends, at virtual lunches with colleagues, during a “chill hour” with students (my first), and at some group facilitations.
In every interaction, I am being intentional about setting time to check-in. It's a part of the agenda. During these virtual meetings, I have found myself in students’ homes. Some were back with their families, and some were living alone in rental spaces. At times, family, children, and pets would walk by on the screen or join the work meeting. We offer each other friendly smiles and waves. This is our new normal.
A student shared about how she's trying to come to terms with the news of the postponement of Commencement this year. She is the first to graduate in her family. Another talked about being laid off from work, yet another about the loss of an internship opportunity. One of them showed the art she now had the time to make and was grateful for the conversations she was having with her siblings.