at Earthaven Ecovillage | Black Mountain, NC
3rd Bi-Annual Restorative Culture Festival
July 4 - 7, 2019
To register for 2019, click here....
Reflections on the Conference from 2017
The 2nd bi-annual Restorative Circles Conference at Earthaven was a smaller, more intimate gathering than the first "grand opening" we held in 2015, when Dominic Barter, the progenitor of Restorative Circles, was able to attend. As a result, this time I had the opportunity to get to know more of the like-minded folks whom I hadn't had a chance to connect with the first time. As a result, I feel more personally connected to people across the country (and a few elsewhere in the world) through the lens of this work.
This was the kernel of the Conference for me: the quality of the participants. Their ability to jump on the same page; their ability to speak from one page to another; their curiosity about the phenomena their work is creating. Some of them, perhaps the most vocal, are doing this work in their communities, within their jobs, and even with their families. Others came out of an attraction to the overriding issues of justice in our world. A few came seeking information and support for conflict in their immediate lives.
Local peace worker Susan Livingston’s leadership in a semi-simulated circle was (in my opinion) impeccable, and the fact that she received a lot of praise and an unexpected honorarium emphasized the level of appreciation RC folks consistently express for one another. (Susan moved several towns away since then, but if we're lucky, she'll be able to make the next one.)
True to the authenticity of this populace, there was some static about the way the Power and Violence session had been facilitated, and I found the work several folks followed-up with a recipe for respect and reconnection. A well-attended discussion with Alyson Ewald, Mikhail Lyubansky and John Lash about systems building engaged many of us in a deep look at the uphill road we're on. I look forward to sharing notes on this topic in '19. Also, Alyson’s session on RC with children was very well attended, although not so much by Earthaven parents who, after hearing about it, expressed interested in learning more.
Since the essence of Restorative Circles is the restoring of connections that get injured or broken when conflict isn't treated well, I found that community—the context in which our shared resources and risks play out—was high on everyone's priorities, and it also showed in how well Conference guests adapted to our ecovillage lifestyle. We talked—at mealtimes, breaks, late into the night, and while some folks were able to linger the day after the Conference—about our jobs, our families, and the culture we're working to change from wherever we're living or called to assist.
Once again, of course, Money Piles was a jaw-dropping phenomenon. Could we come out in balance again? With a fairly small group and yet a fair amount of expenses, we just had to jump in and act our parts with a lot of trust. The process went through all its fascinating stages—gratitude. appreciation, need, concern, vulnerability, delight, perplexity, generosity, humbleness, rejoicing, ingenuity, relief, surprise, and awe. And, in the end, there was more than enough money to go around, paying all bills, handing out honoraria and even enjoying some unexpected bonuses!
In our staff debriefing, we committed to continuing on a bi-annual schedule, which will give us time to plan well for the next time, and also make it more likely that folks will keep coming back. When we’ve gotten clear on dates, we’ll get back in touch to start enticing you to show up and share what's alive and true for you and your communities.
Well, that’s the latest report from the field. If you have any questions, I’m happy to keep remembering! Just email me….
Arjuna da Silva | Director, Restorative Culture Conference