The Way of Council


This is one of the tools and practices we use to hold true to our values and try to bring about the change we want to see.

Below is a brief outline of what this tool is about and how we use it. We honor the Ojai Foundation as one of the great resources available for learning the Way of Council and empowering and training communities and individuals in cultivating community resilience and sustainability through council practice.

 We gather in Council to Vision.

To Co-Create. To Serve. To Listen.

To Energize and Empower.

To Honor.



Council circles have been used for generations by indigenous peoples everywhere as a way to connect, to share, to strengthen bonds and alliances, to allow for each precious voice to be heard, to collaborate and solve, to teach, to listen and understand. In current days, many are reaching back to a renewal and relearning of these tried and true practices of community and social governance which offer a more authentic way for each member to participate in the co-creation of their communities and the reality they inhabit. Council Circles are the heart of our intent as a community, and lie at the heart of all of our events, and all of our organizational activities.

When participants leave a Tribal Convergence Network event or participation on a TCN project we hope that they take with them an expanded tool box of ways to facilitate and engage collaborative communication within their home tribe communities.


The Four Intentions of Council

  • Speaking from the Heart

    When words come from the heart, there is a tangible expansion and connectedness to the circle. Listen deeply to your inner guidance and share it authentically.

  • Listening from the Heart 

    Imagine that the speaker’s words are entering your chest area rather than your ears. Take a few deep breaths while holding the image of listening from the heart. Be fully present and receptive to what they are offering instead of just thinking ahead to the next thing you would like to offer.

  • Being of “Lean Expression”

    Be brief, concise and find a means of expression that serves both the teller and the circle. Do not distract from the topic or purpose by wandering into story or hoarding the talking stick for soap box rhetoric or preaching on topics you prefer to move to.

  • Spontaneity  

    Ask yourself: Will speaking this serve me? The circle? The greater good? Be present to the moment and offer your truth.

Guidelines for Honoring Integrity of the Circle

From the Ojai Foundation


  • Confidentiality

  • Examine Your Motivations

  • Talk about topics- not about personal stories

  • Stick to your own experience

  • Invite curiosity

  • Avoid leaks between council sessions

  • Make clear agreements

  • Deal with broken agreements quickly

  • Encourage transparency