March 11, 2022
Dear Kundalini Yoga and Sikh Dharma Communities,
We are pleased to be providing this biweekly update, including some thoughts from us about group process.
Group Processes and “Group Agreements”
This week, Just Outcomes has been leading a third Circle Facilitator Training for members of the KY/SD communities. Group Agreements are useful for many group processes where complexity and strong emotions are present. We thought we’d offer some thoughts to you all here for those who may be leading or facilitating groups processes in the community right now.
General guidelines can be used for the short-term, but it can be a longer-term generative process to create Group Agreements together which are shared and agreed upon by all participants. These Agreements are created to help the group understand mutual expectations and norms for interactions.
Our approach to building Group Agreements often begins with a round of sharing by all group members, with a prompt like “what do you need from the group in order to share authentically – that you can also agree to?” The process often involves a subgroup to then distill the themes that emerge from a Circle into a draft list of Agreements. The larger group then goes through the process of discussing and fine-tuning Agreements until all participants are satisfied.
Why are these Agreements worth taking the time to establish? When a group can truly feel ownership of the Agreements, all members are more likely to be accountable to those Agreements. The work of creating Agreements itself is a practice of engaging in respectful ways that helps create and maintain the space/container moving forward. We have observed that groups in conflict are often in a precarious place as it is, and when groups do not take time to do this, it always costs much more time sorting through conflict along the way. That said, peaks and valleys in groups with longer term goals are inevitable. The Agreements can provide a mutually-agreed upon compass to navigate those ups and downs—even as an indicator when the group process is off-track.
When we don’t have time to develop fulsome Agreements, we sometimes recommend using these simple guidelines:
- Speak mindfully and from the heart (and watch for triggers)
- Speak from your experience (without naming others)
- Listen From the Heart
- Trust You Will Know What to Say
- Say Just Enough (and monitor your airtime)
- Personal Sharing in the Circle, Stays in the Circle
- It’s always okay to pass (no one is required to speak)
Upcoming CRP Sessions and Trainings
Just Outcomes will continue to provide regular opportunities to learn more about Compassionate Reconciliation through monthly Q&A sessions (1 hour), and also through informational sessions on the foundations of restorative justice (4 hour sessions). Below are the upcoming dates:
Q&A sessions—have your questions related to the Compassionate Reconciliation Project answered. The 2022 sessions are as follows:
- Monday, March 28—4:00pm-5:00pmPDT / 23:00-00:00GMT
- Thursday, April 28—8:30am-9:30amPDT / 15:30-16:30GMT**
- Thursday, May 26—4:00pm-5:00pmPDT / 23:00-00:00GMT
Restorative Justice 101 (4 hours)—learn more about the meaning of restorative justice, how it can benefit communities, and how restorative principles are guiding the Compassionate Reconciliation Project. The next sessions are as follows:
- Wednesday, April 6– 8:00am-12:00pmPDT / 15:00-19:00GMT**
- Monday, May 16–1:00pm-5:00pmPDT / 20:00-00:00GMT
Yours in kindness, compassion, and gratitude,
The Just Outcomes Team: Catherine Bargen, Matthew Hartman and Aaron Lyons
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