Re: Sharing Circles
From: Berrins (
Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 22:50:02 -0600 (MDT)
In a message dated 6/18/01 11:05:35 PM, bschaller [at] writes:

<< I'd like to know what kinds of experiences other communities have had with
sharing circles.  >>

We have non-business meetings occasionally and call them "other" meetings.  
They often have a sharing circle in them but can take whatever form the 
presenters want.  

We use them to discuss all kinds of issues, get feelings out into the open, 
basically think out loud about issues without the pressure of making any 
decisions.  The presenters might use some of the feelings, ideas, whatever, 
expressed to help formulate a proposal(s) for a general meeting.  Frequently, 
however, we don't take notes, or will write some things down without naming 
who said what.

Since no decisions are being made, we don't need a quorum and attendance is 
stricly voluntary.  Some "other" meetings are well-attended and others 
aren't.  My feeling is that if you're interested in discussing a topic you'll 
show up and if not you won't.   No big deal.  Some folks, as has been said 
many times in this list, aren't in cohousing to share their feelings with 
everyone all the time.  Those people don't usually go to other meetings.  
That's fine with me.  Other folks, including me sometimes, may not feel 
strongly one way or another about an issue and would prefer to do something 
else.  At those times it's great to not feel obligated to go.

Our other meetings, I feel, have been invaluable stress relievers and problem 
solving sessions that were well worth the time, even the ones I didn't attend

Up to recently we didn't plan them, they just happened when someone or a 
committee felt that some issue wasn't getting enough air time at a general 
meeting or we were starting to build up some resentments about certain things 
and so it was time to talk about them.  This summer we decided to schedule a 
third kind of meeting, somewhere between an other meeting and a general 
meeting, once a month for a few months, and see what kinds of issues people 
bring up.  These are a work in progress.

Don't be discouraged.  Just keep having them, and make them fun and varied in 
how you do them, like Patty said.  They all work in their own way.

Roger Berman
Northampton, MA
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