Restorative Circles at the Shambhala Centre

water drops
An article by Tina Lopes

I was so grateful to learn that Nat Roman and the Shambala Meditation Centre were willing to allow people who are not members of the community to participate in the two-day introductory workshop on Restorative Circles. Everything I had read and heard about this process, which was developed by Dominic Barter in Brazil, made me eager to learn more and there are few opportunities to do so in Ontario.

It was with great excitement that I climbed the stairs up to the third floor and opened the door of the centre on the morning of the first workshop. I was greeted warmly by Brendan who was taking care of registration and book sales; his welcome made for a good start to the day. It was a pleasure to walk into the large room and experience the beauty and positive energy of the space where we would be working; how fitting to be gathered in a Buddhist meditation centre to learn about an approach to resolving conflict that requires participants to cultivate compassion and a willingness to be transformed by the process.

The two days flew by as the group of fourteen people learned about the essential elements of a Restorative Circles system and process. Duke Duchscherer is a skilled facilitator and effective teacher who gave us lots of room to question and explore what Restorative Circles have to offer. Though many of us did not know each other at the beginning, we were soon laughing and sharing ideas, experiences and the energizing experience of learning about something very important.

As its name suggests, Restorative Circles assist communities to restore the relationships that have been damaged, often by giving participants a chance to rediscover each other’s humanity. By the end of this introduction, most of us were anxious to continue the conversation and eager for the next opportunity to learn more. Those who were new to the Shambala Meditation Centre were also glad to have had the wonderful bonus of being introduced to the centre and a few of its members.