Archive: The Grandest Circle of All

By Marti Beddoe
May 1, 2006  

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In North America, the second Sunday in May is observed as Mother's Day. This month's circle tale, written by Heartland Grandmother, Marti Beddoe, illustrates the multi-generational reach of both circle and women's wisdom. Thank you, Marti – may your words inspire many to make this day more meaningful, even radical. Whether we are mothers or not, whether we have mothers alive to honor, may we keep discovering how to acknowledge mothering contributions to a world in great need of comfort and protection!

I have had the joy of calling and sitting on the rim of hundreds of The Circle Way circles since October 2000 when I first read Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture. The Circle Way circling has indeed become a way of life for me—there is the relationship tending circle my husband Harry and I have had every Friday night for 5 years; the monthly Grandmothers Circles and Women’s Wisdom Circles; the circles for daughters who are mourning the loss of their mothers; the event planning circles; the Artist Way and Soul Collage circles.

The Circle Way Circling allows all the wisdom of all the people to come forth in the most unexpected and creative ways. Circle is where my heart sings at the chance to be heard and to listen in depth.  Circle offers me the privilege to truly know another’s soul. Circle is where Spirit guides me with ease and grace. Circle is where I remember who I am, a spark of the Divine Light.

Recently, I was blessed with being in the grandest circle of all. After a year apart, I visited my son Matthew, his wife Denise and their children William (age 9), Andrew (age 5), and Callie (age 2) at Fort Stewart, GA. Their Chicago cousins Malcolm (age 11) and Madeline (age 9) also joined us.  (Unfortunately, 6 year-old Evan could not skip school for this adventure.)

On our first night together, while Matt and Denise retreated to the dining room, I joined the five grandchildren who were merrily talking all at once at the kitchen table. As one who lives in silence most of the time, I firmly requested that the decibel level be lowered. William said, "Well, gee, Gramma, where’s your talking piece?"  Before I could answer that it was in my purse, Andrew leaped from his chair, scurried back with a small chartreuse metal car, and breathlessly announced, "This is the talking piece and I get to ask the first question.  'Who is your favorite superhero and why?' "  Without a moment's hesitation, my grandchildren and I were off to the most hilarious, meaningful and poignant conversations we have ever had together. We agreed to take turns asking a question and that we would reword any question offered until everyone understood it enough to answer it. Two-year-old Callie was so enthralled with the process that she broke new records for sitting at the table without complaining or dumping her food in her lap. When it was her turn to hold the talking piece, she gleefully and consistently crowed her favorite comments, "Mine!  Me!  Bug!  NO!!!"

While everyone else went on a "Ghost Story Tour" of some old Savannah mansions, I chose to stay in the blessedly quiet home, writing in my journal and fondly reminiscing about my mother who had made her transition three years before on April 13.  Once again, I pondered my own mortality, wondering how I would be remembered.  Around 11 p.m., Malcolm, Madeline and William burst into my room, requested my special purple heart talking piece and proceeded to relate their insights about ghosts. (Consensus: "There are only good ghosts and I am not afraid of them.") This led to a profound conversation about our beliefs and feelings about death and beyond.

As we listened attentively and spoke intentionally that week, I learned so much about these incredibly wise and kind children. I rejoice that part of my legacy is that I have introduced circle as a way of life to them. Now I know that my spirit will indeed live on through my grandchildren, especially whenever they pass the talking piece around the circle.

In my own purple heart, that week of soul sharing with Malcolm, Madeline, William, Andrew and Callie will always be the Grandest Circle of All!

Thank you, Ann and Christina, for contributing to the well-being of the Seventh Generation!