A talking circle is an informal gathering for people to share their thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences. It is a traditional way of communicating in a respectful and positive environment. Each person in the talking circle is equal, even the people who lead the talking circle. These individuals are only there to provide guidelines and create a safe place for people to share their point of view. Participants learn to listen and respect the views of others. It is important to remember that what another person shares, does not belong to anyone else. It is strictly prohibited for anyone to share things about another participant.
Often, talking circles begin with a traditional smudging ceremony, blessing, prayer, or song. An object is used as a talking piece. When a participant is holding the object, they have the right to speak without interruption. When they have completed sharing their thoughts, they pass the object to the next participant. When a participant is sharing, it is the responsibility of the other participants to listen with nonjudgment. Silence and passing is acceptable. Participants can express themselves in a way that they feel comfortable; sharing a story, an experience, by using example or metaphors, and so on.
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