Setting the scene
This could be as simple as reminding folks that there will be many other individuals, and groups, world-wide holding the questions along side them. You may also wish to say a few words about the Equinox, harvest time etc. We’ve started to compile a few paragraphs of background information regarding the Children’s Fire and the CFM below…
Fire as a metaphor
Beyond fire’s practical use to mankind as a potent source of heat and light, we can also work with fire on other levels. Working with fire as a metaphor of the Self can be very powerful and alludes to the responsibility we must take for our own vitality, health and wellbeing…
For the individual the fire can be seen to represent one’s vitality or aliveness – qualities which relate to our health and happiness. This is a fire that no-one else can touch, its brightness is our responsibility alone regardless of what others may say or do. Following this theme we can see the wood that is placed upon our fire to represent our thoughts. So what kind of thoughts would you want to place on your inner fire? Of course, our inner fire isn’t just affected by our thoughts – what about the food we take into our bodies, our sleep cycles, the TV programmes we choose to watch, the beliefs that we hold about ourselves and Life – to name but a few?
If working with this metaphor what kind of wood do you want to place on the actual fire? Do you want to place damp old painted wood peppered with rusty nails on it?
As a collective we can see the fire to represent the vitality of Life as it continues to evolve here on Earth. The Children’s Fire fits into this metaphor beautifully and is the perfect device for us to measure our own individual contributions. What are we feeding the collective fire with?
The Children’s Fire
The Children’s Fire was a small fire placed at the centre of an ancient indigenous wisdom gathering structure known as the Council Wheel. The fire served to remind the chiefs, who represented different perspectives around the circular Council, that “no law shall be passed that will harm the children” – basically a reminder to always put the continuation of life, and our future generations, first.
The Children’s Fire Movement (CFM)
The CFM is a UK non-profit Community Interest Company or C.I.C. that holds the wisdom of the Children’s Fire at its very heart. We are a group of passionate individuals, community groups and organisations that wish to leave a brighter, and more democratic legacy for our future generations.
World Gratitude Day
The 21st September is also World Gratitude Day and so you could also suggest a few words of appreciation as part of a Talking Circle around the fire. You could also go deeper and surface what you appreciate in the world that you would like to continue for our future generations.
Preparing to hold the question
How to measure your question (judgement, the Equinox and Being & Becoming)
The CFM is founded upon peaceful pragmatism, not blame or judgement – as how can we create a truly peaceful future for our children if we are carrying blame and judgement within us? The sense that there is a perfection in all things is therefore an important aspect of the CFM and for some, especially when this viewpoint is held in isolation, can be very challenging indeed. The Equinox with its equal lengths of day and night is a time of balance between light and dark and gives us an insight into how this idea of perfection can work. The duality of day and night, light and dark, male and female, Yin and Yang etc can also be expressed as Being and Becoming. From one perspective everything is perfect just as it is (the Being) – there is no need to do anything other than to simply BE what is! It is the ground of potential from which newness can grow. From another perspective there is the desire to become something else, to improve on what was before – to birth, grow and evolve (this is the Becoming).
So what does this mean for us in practical terms?
It means on one hand to appreciate what is, right now – to appraise the current situation objectively and determine what we would like to carry forward from this. It means to not harbour blame, judgement, hate or any desire for reprisal towards anyone regarding the present condition here on Earth (or indeed towards yourself – go easy on your self, you’re perfect! 🙂 ).
On the other hand it asks, “what we would like to do differently in order to secure a more life-affirming legacy”. The measure we need to be using here, as opposed to “is it right or wrong?”, is “is it life-affirming or life-negating?” – “does this thought, word or action support life (and result in it being even more vibrant), or does it diminish Life?”.
Everything begins with Self
Black Elk, a revered Native American holy man described a state of being known as the First Peace. His point was that in order for peace to exist between two people or indeed two nations (the 2nd and 3rd Peace), peace needs to first exist within the Self. As we mentioned earlier, we cannot expect to create a peaceful future whilst holding the energies of blame and reprisal. As Mahatma Gandhi said, we need to “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”. So, if we want to awaken the Children’s Fire for our future generations, first we must begin to live it in our own lives – this will help to inform your questions.
Getting Present (the ‘burial of weapons’)
‘Burial of weapons’ is a give-away process that enables you to clear your mind in order to be fully present – in the moment.
Origins… This tool harks back to tribal times when two (potentially enemy) tribes came together in council etc. The last thing you would want during a peace council is the constant distraction of knowing your opposing party is fully armed and ready for action should things go south and become, let’s say, emotionally intense! It’s not really conducive to focusing on the here and now – to being fully present and able to hear the depth of each word spoken whilst maintaining a non-judgmental attitude! So, what the tribes would do would be to physically bury the weapons on the perimeter of the camp in order to avoid the above scenario – to enable true dialogue to take place.
So, what does this mean for us… The weapons that keep us from being fully present in any given situation are not necessarily physical weapons that someone else is carrying – they are the weapons we hold within us… anger, fear, belief and judgement for example. It may be that you are away from your loved ones and miss them dearly or you may still be hooked by a harsh unresolved argument you’d had the day before. It can also be the diminishing beliefs that you hold about yourself, about another or a situation.
The practice… There are many ways to do this but I’ll start with the way I was taught. Go out onto the land and surface the weapons that you may be holding in your mind. Allow yourself to be guided to an object that you can hold in your hand (a stone, leaf, twig etc) that you can use to represent them. Now, find a place on the Earth where you can literally bury your object(weapons). Before you place them in the Earth really get in touch with the weapons through your imagination – feel them and see them as they enter into the item you are holding (as much as you are able – no judgments here, just do what you can). Then, preferably asking the Earth to transform them for you with gratitude (I know this may be a stretch for some and that’s absolutely fine – do what feels comfortable**), bury them in the ground.
** The above works on many levels and for those of you who feel uncomfortable asking the Earth for assistance just know that the psychology alone, of identifying your weapons with an object and then burying them, is very powerful indeed.
You can also do this at any time in your daily lives and there are many ways to do it. It could be as simple as discretely blowing them out (I often do that in public) with your breath. Some like to write things down on a piece of paper and let go of them in a fire/candle. And not to miss out the element of water, you could also imagine a stream carrying your weapons away whilst standing in the water – get creative!!
What’s important is your focused intention, your imagination and your belief – powerful stuff!
What if I don’t want to let go of my weapons? This may sound like a strange request but it’s not and I’ve come across it on a few occasions. Some may have issues that are unresolved and need further attention before wanting to let them go. Others may feel the need to hang on to them a little longer to feel safe in the meantime. If so, simply imagine them being held in the Earth until after the session at which time you can then take them back – if you still want them!
Holding the question
When we speak of ‘holding the question’ we mean holding the question in our consciousness without trying to directly ‘answer’ it straight away. Questions open us up to deeper understandings – understandings that can evolve over time. Answers, and the attachment to them, can close us down enslaving us and this happens all too often in our academic answer-craving culture.
(Tools to support group discussions)
Talking Circles and the Talking Stick
Sitting in a circle and sharing, even if it’s just your name and a few words, helps to bring the group closer together. And, we can go deeper…
The circle is a beautiful example of symmetry, equality and unity. When you sit in circle you are reminded that there are no superior/inferior positions to be taken – all viewpoints and perspectives are equal, and therefore worthy of the group and need to be respected (even if we do not agree with them!). This is not a place for judgement or superiority.
The talking stick is literally that, a stick! It is held by the person who’s turn it is to speak and represents each person’s uniqueness within the whole – this is a call for all present to be silent and listen deeply whilst suspending judgement (remember everyone sat in the circle is an equal and worthy of being heard). When each person has finished it is customary to say “I have spoken” – this makes it clear that they are not simply pausing for thought and that it’s time for the next speaker to hold the stick and begin. For larger groups you may want to limit each person to a specified time and sound a rattle to indicate when a speaker needs to start wrapping up.
The round lodge is a flying talking stick – ouch! No, the idea here is to use a soft object (like a beanie ball) that can be passed to whoever wants to speak for a more free flowing discussion. Whoever wants to speak unobtrusively raises a hand and waits for a subtle acknowledgement from the person in charge of keeping track of the speaking order. When a person has finished speaking, the person holding the order of speakers indicates who the object should be passed to next.
Coming soon… This is a more in-depth tool for gathering the wisdom of groups and will probably be shared in the future via webinar.
Ten stoning is a simple polling process for prioritising a list of items (e.g. suggestions, recommendations, tasks etc). Each person has 10 stones with which to weight your top four preferred items. First, write down each item on a separate piece of paper and arrange on a flat surface. You then place your stones as such… 4 stones on your first preference, 3 stones on your second, 2 stones on your first and 1 stone on your fourth (you can also do this without stones and simply write 4,3,2 and 1 on the pieces of paper). When everyone has cast their vote you can then tally the scores and list all the items in descending order – hey presto, a prioritised list!