“A truth which should be engraved in the human soul as a lofty moral maxim: When you see something evil in the world, do not say, ‘Here is evil — that is, imperfection’; ask, rather, ‘How can I attain to the enlightenment which will show me that on a higher plane this evil is transformed into good by the wisdom of the cosmos? How can I learn to tell myself: Here you see naught but imperfection, because you are as yet unable to grasp the perfection of this imperfect thing?’ Whenever man sees evil he should look into his own soul and ask himself, ‘why am I not yet able to recognize the good in this evil that confronts me?’”

This quote from Rudolf Steiner would be something I would bring up in circle to have a conversation about it. I think it is a question worth asking, not only for ourselves personally but also as a collective within our community.

It reminds me of the question or greeting of the Masai tribe, “and how are the children?”

I’m not sure if we need to ask too many other questions beyond how are the children and what it is I need to recognize or face to see the perfection of an imperfect situation. Can you imagine the growth we would achieve if we worked together in answering these questions?

In spending some time reflecting on these questions myself, I have had many thoughts on what and which direction I wanted to take in this column. What I keep coming to is this.

I would like to have these conversations in circle with those who choose to show up, be vulnerable in being their authentic selves and sharing responsibility in our sacred space of circle. Together we share our perspectives, giving each other an equal opportunity to voice our thoughts and stories. In using the circle process, the use of the talking piece slows the conversation down, allowing people to listen and think before speaking.

The guidelines for each circle are intended to keep the circle a safe and sacred space. The guidelines are put together through consensus on what each person needs to feel respected and listened to, which creates a space to be present with each other and bring out our most authentic self in a good way.

I cannot begin to express or explain how much I have missed sitting with those who dedicatedly and honorably gather for circle.

Yet in these past couple of months of not being able to hold circles in our regular space due to the “stay at home” order I have noticed something. 

I noticed that I may have taken for granted how truthful, honest and authentic the circle space had made me feel. The circle validated for me how we are all interconnected, what happens to one affects others – a ripple effect.

This is something that cannot be explained, defined, labeled or measured…Circle is something that one has to experience to understand the power and magic of possibilities that it manifests.

This isn’t some sales pitch, it is an invitation to be present and share your voice, wisdom with your community to bring forth some solutions to these conflicts that we face. It is an opportunity to, “unwrap the gift of conflict.”

There was, and maybe there still is, a part of me that wanted to rant and rave about the current state of affairs we are in at the moment, but I am not sure who that would serve. Instead I find it a better use of my energy and opportunity to invite you to join a circle to discuss these questions and seek solutions to our struggles as individuals and as a collective.

So, in the end, instead of writing about the need to move into a more self-sustaining lifestyle, living more respectfully and closely with the Earth or the 4.8 million people forced into sexual exploitation worldwide, with at least 100,000 children in the U.S. for the $150 billion a year human trafficking industry, I would rather use this opportunity to invite you to circle to have these discussions to work together for the solutions to these issues and questions as a community.

Use your voice to change the world. That all starts from within and flows out from there.

Think globally, but act locally.

Please join us in a safe and sacred space to seek solutions to the “evils” that confront us all.

“In your daily life, do what you feel right, say what you feel true and leave, with faith and boldness, the consequences to God.” F. W. Robertson

–Eric Johnson is the coordinator of the Restorative Justice Program in Redwood County