Circle of Courage, from the Reclaiming Youth Network
Port Hardy is near the northern most tip of Vancouver Island. The fastest way to get here is by a Pacific Coastal Airlines Short 360 which is the only plane I know of with a square fuselage. We flew up through the first rains of the late summer, a storm system that has tracked low into Southern BC as the jet stream has begun to sink southwards. in the mist and fog, two ravens were playing next to the runway as we touched down.
Iï¿½m here to open space for the Vancouver Island Aboriginal Transition Team which is a group responsible for setting out a service delivery model for Aboriginal child welfare. This is the first of three community consultations that are being held around the Island.
Tomorrow I will do my thing, which is to say I will facilitate a meeting for 60 people with thoughts and passions for the kinds of systems and services children at risk need. I’m following hot on the heels of what was apparently a tremendous day of learning facilitated by Dr. Martin Brokenleg, a Lakota professor who is well known for his teachings on reclaiming Aboriginal youth at risk. His teaching model is called the Circle of Courage, and it is a medicine wheel.
The Circle of Courage, being a medicine wheel, is made up of four quadrants: Belonging, Generosity, Mastery and Independence. Brokenleg teaches that these capacities are inherent in each of us and need to be relatively balanced for us to live balanced social lives. It’s fairly obvious that any services directed towards children need to foster all four of these areas.
As I am thinking about my opening for tomorrow, I am thinking about the posting I made earlier today about places to intervene in a system and how one creates new paradigms by, as Donella Meadows says, coming “yourself, loudly, with assurance, from the new one, you insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility and power.” So i will use Dr. Brokenleg’s framework to suggest that as we contribute ideas to this process, we do so out of the paradigm that he advocates. In short, we have an opportunity to practice that paradigm right now, in Open Space.
Open Space acknowledges the four quadrants of Dr. Brokenlegï¿½s teachings by inviting each person to see themselves as belonging to a whole, using generosity to contribute their wisdom to the group, drawing on their inherent mastery of life to share ideas and thoughts about what works and taking the step forward as independent folks with two feet, able to make choices about how they will spend their time and energy.
It is so important to embody new paradigms. We cannot expect the new ones to arise spontaneously without fully entering them and living within them. Tomorrow we’ll try a little new living.