by Marti Beddoe
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This month’s circle tale is by Marti Beddoe. Marti is the Founder of Designs for Peace and served as co-chair of the fourth International SoulCollage® Facilitators’ Conference in 2011. From the Chicago area, she is a longtime practitioner of The Circle Way, a SoulCollage® facilitator, and meditation teacher who finds great joy in fostering the spiritual synergy of these three forms. You can contact her at email@example.com. We appreciate and thank Marti for her story about another venue that was greatly helped by the introduction of circle.
The first time I encountered SoulCollage® was during a circle practicum in 2005, when another participant shared his compelling cards. Originated by Seena Frost, SoulCollage® is a process for “accessing your intuition and creating an incredible deck of cards with deep personal meaning that will help you with life's questions and transitions.” This intuitive process came at a time when I needed a nonverbal way to make meaning of my life. I was enthralled by how easy it was to create a SoulCollage® card and then allow it to speak its wisdom.
Naturally, I called a circle of friends who were seeking creative self-expression and who welcomed the safe space that a circle offers. Since August 2005, our circle has met the first of each month to make SoulCollage® cards and do readings with our decks. Like us, thousands of people around the world have benefitted from this process, whose motto is: “Discover your wisdom. Change your world.”
In 2007, I became a facilitator and in 2009, I volunteered to co-chair the team who would create the 2011 SoulCollage® Facilitators Conference. Naturally, I invited this team of ten volunteer facilitators living in ten different North American cities to adopt The Circle Way as a way to carry out our formidable task over 22 months.
On September 9—11, 2011, ninety-five facilitators gathered at Bon Secours Center in Marriottsville, Maryland. It was a great joy for me to see SoulCollage® and The Circle Way work together with such ease. Facilitators appreciated how the conference was structured so there were many opportunities to share their wisdom. Mentoring circles were a new addition to the conference. These small circles of eight facilitators promoted a genuine peer exchange of each person’s wisdom and deepened communal intimacy and trust. Enthusiastically received, the mentoring circles were modeled after the same process that the planning circle used. Facilitators praised the conference’s loving and peaceful vibration and the planning circle’s cohesive and caring manner.
What made this event so special? What was the invisible container that held it all together with such grace, heartfelt community, and joyful creativity? How did the planning circle’s ten volunteers (all with strong personalities who were mostly strangers to one another, and who were meeting only on the phone over twenty-two months) create consensus on the vision, values, form and content of the conference? How was leadership rotated and responsibility shared with integrity? What made it possible for us to work from our highest purpose/values? How did we keep on task, meet deadlines, and take care of ourselves in the midst of professional and family needs, serious illnesses, the deaths of loved ones, financial and other challenges? How did we manage the fear around holding the conference on the 10th anniversary of September 11?
The answer is simple: the planning circle embraced The Circle Way. SoulCollage® facilitators are fond of saying, “Trust the process.” Month after month, the planning circle trusted the The Circle Way and kept our agreement to “ask for what we needed and offer what we can” as volunteers charged with so much responsibility. Planning circle members who’d worked on previous events remarked on how good it felt to be seen and heard in the circle as full human beings, not simply as unappreciated “worker bees.” Over the twenty-two months, we began each of our planning circles setting sacred center and then with a meditation to carry out our intention to do our work in harmony.
On the morning of September 11, 2011, the conference closed with the Oracle, our traditional community visioning process. Then Seena B. Frost, our extraordinary originator, visionary and all-round wise woman, shared her reflections about the role SoulCollage® is playing in the great shift that is transforming our world. On a day that could be associated with great fear and devastating despair, she spoke with hope of the many communities of souls who are committed to healing the planet, who include the voices of all peoples, and who value democracy, hope, and creativity. Seena illustrated her hope with a powerful slideshow of the SoulCollage® cards made by facilitators about SoulCollage® and the great shift.
My life has been enriched beyond measure by the practices of SoulCollage® and The Circle Way. Here is the SoulCollage® card that I contributed to Seena’s slideshow. Below is what the card had to say.
Circle makes the world go round
I am One of the Many Who carries the Way of Circle,
Who remembers how a circle allows for…
All the people to be included, heard and honored;
All the wisdom to belong to all the people;
And all the people to govern their own lives.
I am One of the Many Who remembers that
Circle brings us back to Source and Self,
To the unity of the One and the Many,
Inviting a new, ancient Way for humans to Be.
I tell this Circle Tale and share this SoulCollage® card with deepest gratitude for these two soulful communities who are doing such good in the world.