Day Twenty-one: Back to our regularly scheduled program

Last night we had a talking circle, to come to consensus about a decision that needed to be made in the community. There weren’t too many of us, just Cate, Chinua, me, Johanna, and Renee. Everyone who is here so far.

For those who aren’t familiar with Rainbow Gatherings and rainbow culture, in a talking circle you pass a talking stick around and the only person speaking is the person with the stick. If you have nothing to say, you can pass the stick to the next person. When you are trying to come to consensus, you pass the stick until there is silence and then you make your decisions, taking as much time as possible for everyone to come to the same conclusion, hence; consensus. It is very different from voting.

We have been working more with consensus for the last year and a half; previously our community had very different ways of making decisions.

I love the talking circle and the talking stick.

For a big time interrupter like me, the kind of girl who gets all upset and empassioned by my opinions, who gets threatened by other people’s opinions, the talking stick is a barrier of love.

In love, I will listen and not interrupt. I will love my neighbor by hearing her, and as I am forced to listen until she gives up the stick, I love her and love her and eventually I come past hearing my own responses in my head and into hearing the very real words that are coming out of her mouth.

I hear my neighbor.

Last night we passed the stick around the circle three times and then we had consensus. It was lovely. It helps to pray first, I think, to ask the Spirit of God to help bring agreement, although we forgot last night and prayed afterward instead. The prayer still stuck.

I love the circle. Everyone can say something, no matter how old or young they are, no matter how new or seasoned they are.

Our stick is from the Sinai and has a wreath of blue leaves painted on it by our lovely friend Cat. Cat was fortunate enough to have a lice day with us, but I like to think it wasn’t our only lasting memory for her. (I know it wasn’t, I’m just kidding.)

Anyways, thanks Chinua for your wacky guest posts. You are wonderfully ridiculous and I forgive you for splicing yourself into photos in a way that makes me shudder. I will now try to forget.

I’ve been tripping through my days talking to carpenters and plumbers, painters and landlords, and one Russian lady who I can’t seem to convince that I don’t have a babysitting service. Yesterday I really thought we were clear on it, because I had someone translate for me, but then today she dropped her son off while I was away and Chinua was home. It is baffling. Chinua talked to her again when she came back (he was unclear when she came about the fact that she was leaving) and told her that she cannot drop him off, and that she needs to call before coming. We often have people drop in, but there seem to be boundary issues in this case.