Way of Council

The Four Tenets of Council


When I speak from the heart, I tell my story.  I speak authentically, connecting my story to my feelings, present and past, and to the deep needs that are always alive in my soul waiting to be honored.


When I listen from the heart, I am giving you the gift of my presence.  I am stepping into your inner world, connecting to what is alive in you.  I am listening with my entire body.  My eyes, my ears, my heart, and my body, are focused on you.


I am going to tell my story succinctly.  I honor your full presence. I will not tread upon that gift with lengthy speech.


I am not rehearsing my story.  If I listen to my own thoughts, I become aware that I am not listening to you.  When I speak spontaneously, I am tapped into what is present and alive for me right now.


The basic practice of council is simple: a group of people sit in a circle. A talking piece is passed from person to person in the circle and one at a time people speak. Each one has a voice, speaks from their heart and all the others listen. 

We try to speak from the heart, we commit to the practice of kindness, and do not condone any form of judgment, or blame.  If we find ourselves caught up in blame, we take responsibility for shifting into a place of compassion for ourselves and others, and we practice deep listening. We do not interrupt each other. We don't rush to respond.

Council opens hearts. This is important in all our relationships, but especially in situations of conflict. Whereas many forms of reconciliation and peace work focus primarily on dialogue, council teaches that true reconciliation cannot occur as long as people's hearts are closed to each other. We aren't just trying to connect with people who share our own views and values, but with people who see the world completely differently than we do.

Today, the form of education we need most is rarely taught.  If we can't relate well, we can't live in peace. Council shows an alternative to the warfare and violence that pervades our world by teaching the skills of peaceful co-existence, skillful communication, and compassionate love of self and others.

When People share from the heart there is a transformation in the way people see the world.

The Way of Council, a listening circle, is a good ancient tool.  I know that by participating in circles people can release their fears, prejudices and stereotypical expectations.  Sitting in a circle with heart communication creates connection and acceptance.

When their shifts in this way, love and respect comes through.  That’s a powerful tool.  I can lead councils anywhere, but I want to bring it where it makes a difference, in the Middle East.  I also want to make a difference where women are, especially in countries where women can’t speak.”

                - Itaf Awad