Are you pondering an important life decision? Do you find yourself at a dead end, a crossroad, or a roadblock? Do you need ongoing support for stressful work? Who can you talk to without getting well-meaning but ultimately unhelpful advice? How can you hear your inner voice and tap into your own inner wisdom, so you can make decisions infused with authenticity, integrity, and courage?
“I not only have my secrets, I am my secrets. And you are yours. Our secrets are human secrets, and our trusting each other enough to share them with each other has much to do with the secret of what it means to be human.” – Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets
At the core of two-day retreats is the experience of “clearness committee,” a Quaker practice that began in the 1600s, which Parker Palmer, a Quaker himself, integrated into Circles of Trust. It is a two-hour questions-only process in service of a focus person, someone who wants to think more deeply about a life issue, often at the intersection of “where soul meets role.” This person is joined by four to six others who create safe space with their attention, deep listening, “double” confidentiality, and open-honest questions, questions not elicited through curiosity or cloaked advice but by thinking about what would help the focus person. Double confidentiality is never speaking about the content of the clearness committee with others within or outside that group as well as never speaking about the content with the focus person unless she or he brings it up. The experience of a small group giving focused, holding attention to another person’s inquiry for two hours is rare in any other setting in our culture; likewise is the experience of receiving that much attention. (See www.couragerenewal/clearnesscommittee.)
I offer individuals one-on-one clearness conversations. If you have an issue, question, or dilemma – personal, relational, or vocational – that you would like to think more deeply about, I invite you to try a session or a series. To be clear, I am not a psychotherapist, counselor, or life coach; this is not for issues that should be discussed with a therapist or coach. Based on the Clearness Committee process, these confidential conversations are designed for you to be able to hear your own voice and inner wisdom. In this session I will not offer fixes, advice, or answers.
Each conversation lasts 90 minutes. In the first 5-10 minutes, you present the issue, question, or dilemma. For the next hour, I only ask open, honest questions. In the following 5-10 minutes, from notes taken, I mirror direct quotes or body language. Then there’s 5 minutes for you to write down immediate thoughts or takeaways. We end with affirmations and celebration, and closure as you wish.
In these times we can meet over Zoom or by video call. When the danger is offer, we can also meet in my office in Millbrook, NY. I offer everything as a gift, asking that, if you can, you reciprocate out of gratitude.
Working with Cat in my own individual clearness conversation gave me the chance to review and reflect about my next steps for both my career and my personal life. Cat listens with an open heart, creating a safe space for speaking one’s truths and desires. She helped me to realize the vast bounty of choices I had before me and be grateful for the many people who love and support me on my life’s journey.
- Linda O.
Thank you so, so much for guiding me through dark terrain with such grace and compassion! I am grateful. - Sandy B.