Teleconference Series Backup
Our Teleconference Series gathers people in virtual circles to support you in creating your own face-to-face circles, and to provide sources of inspiration and educational tools to deeply connect you with your higher self and others. We believe that circles provide sustaining support for each of us to take our stand for the good, to contribute our talents to our community, and to co-create a culture of peace and sustainable life on earth.
2014 Teleconference Series: Beloved Community
Beginning January 15, 2014, CirclesWork!, the Jean Houston Foundation, and Be The Change will co-sponsor our second teleconference series with inspiring talks by Beloved Community builders who are doing world-changing work and building communities empowered to co-create a conscious, ecological, cooperative and just civilization.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the Beloved Community, not as a “heavenly” ideal but as a practical possibility we can achieve in our lifetimes and a gift to our children unto the 7th generation. It is an outcome of the shift to nonviolence.
• Food for the hungry and shelter for all.
• True equality of access to education and jobs.
• Neighborhoods made safe and enlivened by teaching tolerance and overcoming prejudice, as well as just distribution of wealth.
• Reclaiming of the commons: sharing equally with all inhabitants the rich resources of Mother Earth – water, air, soil and sun – used conservatively and sustainably to nourish life.
“If you feel called to bring people together in circle, then the CirclesWork! Teleconference program is a tremendous, easy-to-access resource to get you started or to keep you going. Dr. Lauren Oliver combines her expansive energy and heart with her deep knowledge of psychology and human dynamics in offering a year-long program of teleconference circles that allow people new to circle, and long-time circle facilitators to hone their skills and confidence in the simple processes that make circles work.
“What I loved about the CirclesWork! Teleconference series was that each month we got to have what I experienced as an intimate conversation with an eminent peacemaker, often a person I knew as having made a remarkable difference in the world. It wasn’t one-sided like tuning in to a YouTube video or an audio-recorded lecture. It was a real conversation with people like Joanna Macy, Tom Atlee, Jean Shinoda Bolin and others. Lauren Oliver facilitated the call as a circle and brought us into conversation with our guests through time for questions and answers all centered around our theme The Great Peacemaker. These conversations were so rich and inspiring, I really look forward to “meeting” our guests in the 2014 series with the theme The Beloved Community.”— Lorraine Cook
Sign Up Here to receive notice of our 2014 Teleconference Series enrollment.
2012-13 Teleconference Series: Great Peacemakers
Our inaugural year of the teleconference series was based on the book Manual for the Peacemaker: An Iroquois to Heal Self and Society, by Jean Houston and Margaret Rubin. The themes of the series were peace and democracy:
• How to bring peace and democracy into our culture of the US – learning from the first democracy co-created by the Great Peacemaker, founder of the Iroquois Federation.
• The use of circle as a way to build and sustain community: of respect, of equality, of justice, and of peace.
Archive of recordings of the 2012-2013 Eminent Peacemakers
July 2013 Speaker
A long time friend of Jean Houston, this fascinating and powerful woman is Oglala Lakota Sioux, born on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Loretta’s mother, Beatrice Long Visitor, and her aunt, Rita Long Visitor, both sit on the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, with Grandma Agnes.
Loretta carries an enormous mission: gathering and presenting to the Obama White House a consensus on the future of the Black Hills. Loretta already has that consensus. The message of all 9 tribes of Great Sioux Nation is: ‘The Black Hills are not for sale. We want all the unseated lands in the Black Hills back, returned to the tribes.’ But nothing is easy: 4 years, and she is still at work. She’s ready to be a grandmother – perhaps by the time she joins us! Hear that story… and the one about her grandfather, Earnest Afraid-of-Bear, who was dead for 3 days.
Loretta Afraid-of-Bear is the faith-keeper and holder of the Afraid of Bear/ American Horse Sundance Pipe. Fluent in Lakota, she serves as Cultural Specialist, the only one who speaks both languages perfectly on the board of He’Sapa Reparations Alliance — Black Hills Reparation. Loretta Afraid-of-Bear and Tom Cook, together with their people, are sponsors of the Sundance in the Black Hills. On a shoestring, they accomplish great work. With Running Strong for American Indian Youth, Tom enables food security: they put in gardens: 462 last year. Fighting a local uranium mine – for 5 years they’ve held off this disastrous, water-poisoning proposal. Tom, of the Mohawk Tribe, grew up with the practices of the Great Law of Peace of the Haudenosaunee – as initiated by the Great Peacemaker.
July 2013 Speaker
Working Like the Great Peacemaker, David Cobb is building a coalition for a healthy, peaceful democracy led by the people. David Cobb is a dynamic and forceful orator. And he is on a mission: nothing less than amending the Constitution of the United States to include that “A corporation is not a person” and that “Money is not speech and can be regulated.”
David, a lawyer and 2004 Green Party candidate for president, declares “I’m a proud, patriotic and pissed off American citizen.” David Cobb and the national coalition Move to Amend (MTA) are committed to passing a constitutional amendment to restrict rights to ‘natural persons only,’ giving government the power to regulate corporations, and declaring campaign expenditures are not speech. Like the Peacemaker. David Cobb is in this for the long haul. The Great Peacemaker organized for many years, building awareness and acceptance among the original 5 tribes, to co-create the first constitutional democracy in North America – continuing today. David and MTA know we’ll not repair our democracy – returning power to human citizens – without a long-term vision and deep organizing.
April 2013 Speaker(s)
Tom Atlee connects in to the work of the Great Peacemaker — bringing it up to date with the work of many around the world to raise the wisdom voice of the people, in managing our own communities with peaceful democratic methods. Manju reports on three mutually-aware circles in Ashland deepening understanding of Tom’s work and bringing Circle alive.
Tom Atlee is founder of the nonprofit Co-Intelligence Institute (co-intelligence.org) and author of The Tao of Democracy, Empowering Public Wisdom, and Reflections on Evolutionary Activism. His work explores topics ranging from leadership, governance and economics to spirituality, dialogue, and activism – all derived from evolving wholeness and the role of human conversation in co-creating our world. His books have sold several thousand copies in more than a dozen countries and his articles have been published in dozens of alternative journals. His websites have tens of thousands of visitors every month and 1800 people subscribe to his free mailings. He has served on several nonprofit boards and consulted internationally.
Manju Lyn Bazzell joins the dialogue, bringing experience as a talk show host, non-profit Executive Director, organizational consultant and award-winning inner-city schoolteacher. Her vision: ‘if we can imagine a better world, it is within our reach.’ Serving on Boards of Directors including The Co-Intelligence Institute, and featured in both INC. and Entrepreneur magazines, Manju’s skills in large group processes, communications & person technologies bring co-intelligence to governance and economic systems.
March 2013 Speaker
‘My children and I are all traditional First Nation natives and we walk our talk. I’ve been at death’s door. I’ve survived cancer since 1982. I asked my Creator to let me live because my family needs me and I’ve got a lot to do. I said if you let me live I’ll keep busy the rest of my life. And I’m certainly doing that!
Handed down from my people was a story that the only duty left to us from the ancient ones was the duty of prayer. So I became a prayer person. The Creator has answered many, many prayers and I give blessings for allowing me to be a mediator. Prayer is needed throughout the World. It is time we step forward and join prayers with people around the globe. Together we can stop the abuse of women and the molestation of children, hunger, overgrazing, protection for our medicinal plants, and drug abuse. We can join together no matter what our religious or spiritual beliefs are. We can join together and fight to save our Earth Mother and salvage our own existence. It is time to take action now if we want to help. We need not for one moment, limit ourselves about what we can do. We must give support and encouragement to each other and to whomever we meet on our path. Love people unconditionally and add their voices and prayers to ours. People need to be encouraged to use their voice.’
Grandma Aggie sends blessings to us and our circles, and prays that our good works lead to a new culture of peace. She is the oldest living female member of the Rogue River Indians, Takelma Band, Oregon. A world renowned spiritual leader, she was elected Chairperson of the International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and is a keeper of the Sacred Salmon Ceremony. Grandma Aggie is an exceptionally clear and strong speaker whose no-nonsense eloquence has touched people of many different cultures in the US and around the world. While studying psychology and Native American studies at Southern Oregon University (SOU) at the age of 50, Agnes co-founded the Konaway Nika Tillicum (All My Relations) Youth Academy – held each summer for native youth at SOU.
Feburary 2013 Speaker
Steve brings us his wonderful energy and motivation to awaken our Evolutionary Awareness. To focus our Evolutionary Intention – as individuals and as a society – we decide what we will do each day to plant ourselves firmly in this new field. Steve’s daily steps to exercise Evolutionary Practice include building the Outer Net of local face-to-face community: your CIRCLE!
In teaching-learning peacemaking circles, we amplify this gathering of community, gathering energy, connection, awareness, and coherence so we carry the New Story forth. At some point, Steve assures us, the critical mass will take hold, and the obsolete, failing institutions of our society will no longer hold sway. We are part of the wave, this critical mass. Steve Bhaerman opens our eyes and ears to new possibilities of healing, forgiveness, and reconciliation – alternatives to revenge and retribution. Steve has wonderful ideas to share, based on our biological history and evolutionary potential, as well as the wisdom of the Iroquois. AKA Swami Beyondananda, Steve brings refreshing humorous perspective to the serious matters of our survival and thrival. As the Swami says, ‘The truth shall upset you free’ … and look at ways to ‘metabolize’ the ‘residoo-doo.’
Steve Bhaerman is an internationally known author, humorist, and workshop leader. For the past 25 years, he has written and performed as Swami Beyondananda, the ‘Cosmic Comic.’ Swami’s comedy has been described both as ‘comedy disguised as wisdom’ and ‘wisdom disguised as comedy.’ Noted author Marianne Williamson has called him “The Mark Twain of our generation.” Since 2005, Steve has written a political blog with a spiritual perspective, ‘Notes From the Trail.’ Check out his latest book, written with cellular biologist Bruce H. Lipton, PhD, Spontaneous Evolution: Our Positive Future and a Way to Get There From Here (Hay House, 2009).
January 2013 Speaker
Jean Bolen, Jungian psychiatrist, authored 11 books and holds many honors. Her books The Millionth Circle and Urgent Message From Mother shape the culture shift to circles. Jean’s own words reflect her essence:
“I continue to take my ‘assignment’ as a message carrier to heart. I believe critical-mass, grassroots activism transforms consciousness, which changes history. I believe humanity is at a crossroads and what women do in the next few decades will determine the fate of life on this beautiful, abundant planet.
Activism and individuation (to find a meaningful, inner directed, chosen life-path) come together when the choices we make express who we are. There is a soul purpose to life. Be centered, and archetypes, dreams and synchronicities provide depth and direction. As one phase of life shifts into the next, energy becomes free to take on something that is personally meaningful, fun, creative and motivated by love—my definition of ‘assignment.’”
Jean speaks to us about building an a “Circle of Allies”. Just as the Great Peacemaker linked up with Hiawatha and Jighonsasee, and then drew more and more allies to him, you too can draw on strength from your circle to fulfill your “assignment”. She shares why she believes:
“that the thought that women together can change the world is emerging into the minds and hearts of many of us, and that the vessel for personal and planetary evolution is the circle with a spiritual center…. Listening, witnessing, role modeling, reacting, deepening, mirroring, laughing, crying, grieving, drawing upon experience, and sharing the wisdom of experience, women in circles support each other and discover themselves, through talk. Circles of women supporting each other, healing circles, wisdom circles, soul sister circles, circles of wise women, of clan mothers, of grandmothers. Circles of crones, circles of pre-crones, lifetime circles and ad hoc circles, even circles of women in cyberspace and the business place, circles are forming everywhere.”
To take on an assignment as an activist is for most of us, an act of service-an expression of compassion in action, an element of living our personal myth or individuation. If you are at a crossroad and can now make a choice about what direction you will take, these are the questions: “Is it meaningful? Will it be fun? (it is fun to use your talents and your life experience, be with others who share your values, make a difference), and Is it motivated by love?”
December 2012 Speaker
Joanna’s talk on ‘Honoring our Pain for the World’ connects to Hiawatha’s grief and need for condolence from the Peacemaker. Honoring our pain requires space —like Circle—to hear our sorrow, grief, outrage and all feelings revealing themselves in response to the state of our world. This takes us into culturally forbidden territory, taboos that silence our distress.
‘Negative feedback loops’ help us navigate thru life via signals when we are off course, so we can make a course correction: Stray off course -> Notice this -> Respond to get back on course ->. Feedback loops enable all living systems to keep in balance. In Circle, we use feedback in Clearing the Air and Appreciations. Yet a strong current in mainstream culture views gloomy news or feelings as ‘negative experiences’ from which we need to protect ourselves. This can lead to avoidance – a habit that lessens our confidence to cope with emotional distress, and can reflect fear that we’ll get stuck in those emotions.
Dr. Macy will talk with us about ways to unblock the feedback loops in a safe group where grief can be voiced, heard and valued. Ecophilosopher Joanna Macy, Ph.D., interweaves her scholarship of Buddhism, systems theory, and deep ecology with five decades of activism in the movements of peace, justice and ecology. A world-renowned teacher and author, she created the Work That Reconnects: a groundbreaking framework for personal and social change, embedded in a bold workshop methodology.
Joanna Macy’s work helps people transform grief, despair and apathy, in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, into constructive, collaborative action. The Work That Reconnects brings a new way of seeing the world as our larger living body, freeing us from the assumptions and attitudes that now threaten continuity of life on Earth.
Her website is: www.joannamacy.net/ Joanna Macy’s fiery, profound presence called for communities of connection, safe for expressing grief, despair and often taboo strong feelings. How liberating to break these taboos, to voice, befriend and honor, our despair. Describing how society has ‘privatized’ grief and labeled it personal pathology, Joanna helped us feel compassion for others and ourselves, who can suffer paralysis and become lonely shutdown people. She emboldened us to speak up and speak out, dare to break through barriers separating us from others and our inner selves. Our silence makes us complicit with those who speak not of war, of climate change, of high rates of incarceration. Her anti-nuclear study action group exemplified how, in circle, we build a safe space to explore our own pain and pain for the world, and emerge ever stronger – with trustworthy colleagues to tell our stories to and work together.
November 2012 Speaker
Starhawk’s 30+ years of action in collaborative groups result in her clarity and precision on the factors that enable circles and community groups to thrive: * Common vision. * Power and authority balanced with responsibility. * Trust balanced with accountability. * Group norms made visible and conscious. CirclesWork! envisions co-creation of a Longhouse-like, circle-based extended community, in which Social Artists and cultures are encouraged and empowered and linked. Our endeavor can be greatly assisted by the collaborative tools pioneered by Starhawk. As we build our own circles, let’s learn from this successful group founder and leader.
Starhawk is one of the most respected voices in modern earth-based spirituality. She is also well-known as a global justice activist and organizer, whose work and writings have inspired many to action. An author of twelve books, a permaculture designer, group organizer and consultant, Starhawk’s new book on group dynamics is just out: The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups. Her twelve books include The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, Truth or Dare, The Earth Path, and for children, The Last Wild Witch. See www.starhawk.org. She has lived and worked collectively for thirty years. She directs and teaches Earth Activist Trainings, www.earthactivisttraining.org, which combine a permaculture design certificate course with a grounding in spirit and focus on organizing and activism.
October 2012 Speaker
In her unique and bold fashion, Monica Sharma weaves for us greater understanding of the theme of Manual For the Peacemaker, Chapter IV, focused on seeing the True Face of self and others. We must be willing to Name our Purpose, Declare our Truth, and Mirror The True Face, encouraging self and others to act with conscience, mindfulness, and compassion.
Monica Sharma, trained as a physician and epidemiologist, worked for the United Nations for 22 years. Currently, she engages worldwide as an International Expert and Practitioner on Leadership Development for Sustainable Change. She fosters results-oriented partnerships with governments, civil society, business, media and United Nations.
As a practitioner, her proven track record of generating measurable results at scale, as well as enhancing leadership on every continent, is unique. She designs and facilitates programs for whole systems transformation and leadership in both developed and developing countries. Using cutting–edge transformational approaches and methodologies, the purpose is to achieve measurable and sustainable change in development, business and peace. For example, she developed and implemented transformational leadership programs in 40 countries generating multiple innovations and large-scale results in the context of HIV AIDS as the global Director of the HIV/AIDS program of UNDP. She pioneered the strategy for “whole systems transformation” for reducing maternal mortality in South Asia, addressing women’s rights and leadership at all levels.
In 2009, Monica Sharma received ‘The Spirit of the United Nations Award”, given to a person whose work is an expression of the core principles, spirit and vision on which the United Nations was founded. Dr. Sharma was honored for “her inspirational leadership, skilled wisdom and devoted attention to the United Nations… for guidance in developing effective strategic frameworks for action for application world-wide… that has manifested in effective programs and leadership development initiatives.”
Monica Sharma created, uses, and teaches a unique conscious full-spectrum response model based on extensive application –which simultaneously in time solves problems, shifts systems and creates new patterns sourced from individual inner capacity and transformational leadership. She fosters emerging leaders world-wide – proactively seeking out potential leaders, unleashing their power of effective creativity, enabling them to manifest their full potential. These leaders recognize the invisible, multiple patterns and systems that shape societal and planetary situations and actions; they distinguish, design and deliver actions sourced from self-awareness and empathy; manifest sustainable change, creating new patterns as they solve problems.
‘Development’ of the individual and the collective is being redefined by her, to include the further reaches of the human and cultural capabilities, to discover a deeper balance between humanity and nature, our intellect and emotion, our inner and outer worlds, and to foster its expression through many programs world-wide in society as well as organizations.
September 2012 Speaker
‘Awake, stand up, be counted’ calls Joanne Shenandoah, leading our September teleconference with rich stories of growing up in the Iroquois culture, a legacy of the Great Peacemaker. She describes her shock when she ‘went out into the world’ to college at how women poorly are treated. Iroquois women are equals and active; they choose the leaders, and remove them if they are not serving the will of the people. Women decide about going to war, asking ‘How many women would want to give up their children to war?’ Plus, she shares two of her songs!
Joanne Shenandoah, Ph.D, is one of America’s most celebrated and critically acclaimed musicians. She is a Grammy Award winner, with over 40 music awards (including a record 13 Native American Music awards). She has captured the hearts of audiences all over the world, from North and South America, South Africa, Europe, Australia and Korea, with praise for her work to promote universal peace. She is a board member of the Hiawatha Institute for Indigenous Knowledge www.hiawatha.syr.edu.
This past year Joanne was included on the recording entitled “Path to Zero” with Sting/Bono, Morrison, Robert Downey Jr., and others. Shenandoah was invited to Rome Italy where she joined in the celebration for the canonization of the first Native American Saint Kateri Tekakwitha in October 2012. Shenandoah has performed at prestigious events such as The White House, Carnegie Hall, 3 Presidential Inaugurations, Madison Square Garden, Crystal Bridges Museum, The NMAI-Smithsonian, The Ordway Theater, Hummingbird Centre, Toronto Skydome, The Parliament of the Worlds Religions, (Africa, Spain and Australia) and Woodstock ‘94.
August 2012 Speaker
Margaret Nash (Peggy) Rubin is founding director of the Center for Sacred Theatre in Ashland, Oregon. Primary activities of the Center include the creation of workshops in Living Life as Sacred Theatre, and Sacred Studies of the Divine Feminine. Since 1987 she has also been the principal teaching associate of Jean Houston, Ph.D., in Dr. Houston’s worldwide multicultural transformational work and in her schools of spiritual studies, as well as a member of the core faculty of the School for Social Artistry, an intensive leadership training program.
Working with Jean Houston, Peggy Rubin has presented classes, workshops and trainings throughout the United States, and in Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, Sweden, Greece, Egypt, The Netherlands, India, West Africa, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Jamaica, and on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme, in Albania, St. Lucia, Barbados, Kenya, and the Philippines.
Before joining Dr. Houston’s staff in 1987, Peggy was for 14 years the Public Information and Education Director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, one of the largest classical repertory companies in the United States. Before that she was a bank executive for First Western Bank in Los Angeles. She has also been a teacher of English, a freelance writer and editor, and an actor. She holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Texas, and has taken courses, primarily in Economics, at the University of California at Los Angeles, and in the Environment at Southern Oregon University. She has studied extensively with Elaine De Beauport, Ed.D., founder of the Mead Institute, leading teacher of humanistic and behavioral applications of current brain/mind research; and with William Emerson, Ph.D., pioneer in the field of pre- and peri-natal psychology, and its importance in understanding human development.
July 2012 Speaker
Jean Houston inspires you with highlights from the story of the Great Peacemaker: his childhood vision, and setting off to do the Impossible -in a stone canoe! Jean shares her suggestions for starting your Peacemaker Circle — a sustainable teach-learning Peacemaker Circle to support us to do the impossible — and fulfill our destiny.
Jean Houston, PhD is an internationally known psychologist, scholar, behavioral scientist and teacher is one of the foremost visionary thinkers and doers of our time. She is long regarded as one of the principal founders of the Human Potential Movement. She is the author or co-author of twenty-six books, including The Possible Human; Godseed ; The Search for the Beloved; and The Hero and the Goddess ; and Manual for the Peacemaker: An Iroquois Legend to Heal Self & Society. Her PBS Special ‘A Passion for the Possible’ has been widely viewed.
When Jean was 13, she literally ran into an old man on Park Avenue in New York City on her way to school. After this mishap, they became friends, and she enjoyed listening to him on various occasions. At the time she learned to pronounce his name as ‘Mr. Thayer.’ At a much later time, she learned that she had been talking with Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
Houston earned a B.A. from Barnard College, a Ph.D. in psychology from the Union Graduate School, and a Ph.D. in religion from the Graduate Theological Foundation. She has also been an adviser to former First Lady and current Senator Hillary Clinton, during her husband’s Presidency. She was deeply influenced by the work of Joseph Campbell, most notably by ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces.’ But perhaps her most significant mentor was Margaret Mead, who was also a personal friend.
With her spouse Dr. Robert Masters, Dr. Houston founded the Foundation for Mind Research. She is also the founder and chief teacher of the Mystery School, a program for the cross-cultural study of spirituality and ritual processes. She has conducted the Mystery School on both the east and west coasts for more than two decades.
In 1984, she started a national not-for-profit organization known as The Possible Society to explore new ways for people to work to help solve societal problems. More recently, she has also founded the International Institute for Social Artistry. She is currently working with the United Nations Development Programme in the new field of social artistry, training U.N. staff and leaders in certain developing countries. She has lectured in more than 100 countries and worked intensively in 40 cultures. She has received many awards for her work.
June 2012 Speaker
Peggy Rubin evokes the Power of Celebration and our spiritual evolution with a powerful guided meditation on connection, celebration, praise, and how we can re-envision and activate our brains and our daily lives through Circle and Celebration. Peggy ignites us with an experience of energy exchange, and how we can enlighten ourselves with this awareness. Centering poem & pledge by Diane Ackerman is included by Peg Rubin in To Be and How to Be in her chapter on the Power of Celebration See bio of Peggy Rubin under August 2012, above.
May 2012 Speaker
The story of the Great Peacemaker, visionary and founder of the Iroquois Confederacy, is told by our inimitable storyteller. This overviews the full history, as brought to life in Manual for the Peacemaker, by Jean Houston and Peggy Rubin, the book that guides the themes of the teleconference series and illuminates the principles and practices of the Peacemaker Circles.
See bio of Jean Houston under July 2012, above.