“We heal best in community.”
—Rachel Naomi Remen, Author of Kitchen Table Wisdom
An old proverb reminds us that sharing joy with others doubles that joy and sharing sorrow halves that sorrow. Scientific research is starting to confirm what people have long known to be true: Those with positive social support have fewer heart attacks, live longer, experience less dementia, recover from illness more quickly, and are generally happier. But many don’t have the support they need.
Healing Circles is a nonprofit whose vision is to provide positive social support to anyone who asks for it. This takes place in small groups of people who have a circumstance (such as the loss of a loved one) or interest (such as poetry) in common. A circle is built on a framework that brings out the best in people. It encourages participants to treat one another with kindness and respect, hold one another’s stories in confidence, withhold judgment, and honor one another’s unique path to healing without advising, fixing, or rescuing.
Circle participants work together to explore the best ways to remove obstacles to healing, alleviate suffering, and deepen their capacity to heal. They also access their own inner guidance to determine where the greatest healing—physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual—can occur.
The Healing Circles learning community is growing and includes centers in Canada, the US, and Israel with programs taking root in India, Switzerland, Thailand, and among groups of professionals, such as nurses and chaplains.
Our website, healingcirclesglobal.org, contains training resources, blogs on how to deepen the work, and links to online circles for both hosts and participants.