This is the original letter of invitation for the first wisdom circle, sent on 11/13/98 (please see the charter for the latest specifics)....

Hello Friends,

     I hope this note finds each of you well and in a place close to your heart.  I apologize for doing this via email.  I would much rather have called each of you, but I just don't have the resources for that.  So, consider this a warm, electronic invite....  :-)

     As most of you know, I'd like to form a Wisdom Circle.  What's that?  Well, we can define it together as we go.  I've put up a web page with some initial words about it and an invitation, in case this is new to you (it's new to me!).  This, I guess, would be the WHY:

     Some logistics....

  The core of this group will be friends who have met in Headwaters Outdoor School classes (  A wonderful community of beautiful, mature, authentic and compassionate souls was formed in those classes, and this is a way continue the magic of that community and expand it to touch others.  In addition, I am inviting a couple special friends of mine who I think would both add to and benefit from the circle.   I was talking with Kevin from Headwaters, worrying how I would possibly be able to contact everyone.  He suggested that we just start small, with those for whom I have email addresses, and let it take its own form from there by word of mouth.  This seemed less overwhelming to me, and feels like the right way to start.  So, feel free to call anyone who's not on this list who you'd like to invite.  I will be happy to add any email addresses to this invite list, but I'd like each of us to take responsibility for anyone we'd like to be in the circle who doesn't have email.

  I've chosen 12:30pm, Sunday, November 22 as a first meeting to get this off the ground.  I was thinking that we'd meet once a month, around midday or early afternoon on a Sunday.  Maybe we can even choose a particular Sunday, like the 2nd Sunday of each month.  Please voice any preference you might have for our permanent circle time. [Update 7/6/2000: We have decided to meet on the 1st Sunday of each month.  Sometimes that changes, as does the time of the circle.  Please call the circle host or me to get the latest info if you haven't already received an email invite for the month in question.  -Rich]

  As we are scattered between Santa Cruz, San Francisco and the East Bay, I have rented a room in the Peninsula Conservation
Center (for the winter months) which is somewhat centrally located in Palo Alto.  It will probably come out to about $1 per
person per month for the rental...can you handle that?  ;-)  I'll put any left over funds toward the next month's rental.  (Directions
to the PCC at bottom.)  [Update 7/6/2000: Each month, the host for that month's circle will choose the location for the circle.  Please call the circle host or me to get the latest info if you haven't already received an email invite for the month in question.  -Rich]

  Eventually, I'd like to step back and have the circle take on a fluid life of its own, with rotating leadership.  To get things going, however, I am sketching an initial format.   I envision that we will gather and sit in a circle.  When everyone has arrived, we will join hands and perform a small ritual or two to call in spirit and create a safe and sacred space.  Then, we will pass a "talking stick" of some sort around.  Only the person with the stick will be allowed to speak during this time.  The person with the stick will introduce him/herself, and, optionally, disclose a bit about any personal specifics that brought him/her to the circle that day.  Next will be some silence for individual reflection, meditation or prayer...with an optional theme.  An appropriate theme for this month's circle would be Thanks-giving; ie, for what are you most thankful for in your life at this time?  After the quiet meditation time, we'll pass the stick again and share any things that came up in the meditation or for which we'd like to publicly give thanks and have the community bear witness to.  This, I guess, would also be the time to share any specific issues for which you'd like the support or congratulation of the group.  (I'd like to stress that any and all of this sharing is optional, and you may always just hold the stick for a moment and then just pass it on if you're uncomfortable sharing with the group at any particular time.)  Finally, after everyone has had a chance to share, a ritual will be performed to close the sacred space.  After that, we can just socialize.  :-)  [Update 7/6/2000: See the charter for the format that has evolved.  Basically, each month there will be a different host for that month's circle who will choose the location and specific activity for that circle.  Please call the circle host or me to get the latest info if you haven't already received an email invite for the month in question.  -Rich]

  I will use this electronic invite list to announce the time/place of each month's circle.  I'll try to give at least a week's notice.  If you'd like to be removed from this list at any time, just send me a note and I'll take you off no questions asked.
  Please be on time.  A note letting me (or the circle's host) know that you're coming would help, so that I at least have some idea of when to begin.  I will try to wait until everyone is there to start, so try not to keep us all waiting for you.  I'm traditionally late everywhere I go.  Hard as it seems to be for me, I am pledging to be there on time as well.  (It's a new and somewhat scary thing for me to organize a large group in this context.  Your prompt arrival will not only show your respect to everyone else, but will make things go more smoothly for me.  :-)
  We will be sitting on the floor, so bring a pillow or comfortable floor chair to sit on, and wear comfortable clothes.  I'm not sure about the temperature there, so bringing a sweater or something might also be a good idea.  Oh, we need to leave the room as we found it and they've requested that we not bring food.  So, you'll probably want to have lunch before you come.  (In the future, we may organize a potluck meal, but I don't want to take that on now.)  [Update 7/6/2000: See the charter for the full scoop on this.  Basically, we now do an optional poluck at each circle.  -Rich]
  Other than that, all that's really required to be a member of this community is to show up with an open heart and a respectful, compassionate ear.
  If you have experiences, suggestions, or special needs/requests, please feel free to call or email me privately.  You may also "Reply All" to the whole group as appropriate.

Call me anytime at 650-493-2993

Welcome to the community!  I hope to see you on Sunday!!

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