Circle of Trust Touchstones

From Healing Democracy Action Circles Guide by the Center for Courage and Renewal


1. Be present as fully as possible.  Be here with your doubts, fears and failings as well as your convictions, joys and successes, your listening as well as your speaking.


2.   Choose for yourself when and how to participate.  There is always an invitation,  

never an invasion; always opportunity, never demand.  


3.   Speak for yourself, of your own truth, with respect for how that might differ  

from others’ truths.   Use “I” statements.


4.   No fixing, advising,” saving,” or correcting one another.  Instead, learn to respond  

to others with honest, open questions.  With such questions, we help “hear each  

other into deeper speech.”


5.   When the going gets rough, turn to wonder and curiosity.  If you feel judgmental, or defensive, ask yourself,” I wonder what brought her to this belief?”  “I wonder  

what he’s feeling right now?”   “I wonder what my reaction teaches me about  

myself?”  Set aside judgment to listen to others—and to yourself—more deeply.


6.   Trust and learn from the silence.  Silence is a gift in our noisy world, and a way of knowing in   itself.  Treat silence as a member of the group.  After someone has  

spoken, take time to reflect without immediately filling the space with words.


7.   Observe confidentiality.