photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Heartland: Convening as the Art and Science of Authentic Engagement
-Join the Heartland Network (free): Heartland Network
-Become a Convener or hone your Art: The Art of Convening TeleTrainings
-Be Inspired: by our unique VisionHolder Calls
-Attend & Engage: The Thought Leader Gatherings (MN, CA)

The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair

photo credit: Craig neal

photo credit: Craig neal

Craig's May 18 conversation with Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea, Co-founders, PeerSpirit Inc. was as engaging as any conversation we've had. Christina and Ann bring wisdom, authenticity, humor, love to all that they do.

In their work Christina and Ann noticed that more and more organizations are looking for alternatives to rigid, top-down hierarchy as people realize that good ideas can come from anywhere and that fostering collaboration and group cohesion is vital to any healthy enterprise. But what approach can best create an environment that ensures clear speaking, compassionate listening, and the making of well-grounded decisions? Circle.  Th  The Circle Way lays out the basics of circle conversation based on the original work of the coauthors, who have studied and standardized the essential elements of circle practice and implemented them in a variety of organizations for over fifteen years.

Circle is the molecular unit of democratic practice. Every voice counts. When you are in the circle it doesn’t matter who you are outside the circle.

Peer spirit circles: when we’re practice our engagement as peers, spirit floods through us. The wisdom is in the room, the wisdom is in the circle. We lean in and stay in even when the going gets tough. Then the wisdom comes flying through sometimes the most unusual person.


The circle depends on us to hold together the agreements of civility. If someone is incapable of maintaining an attitude of civility, then the circle won’t hold. Anger or incivility can be directed into the center, into the candle, for instance, but not directed at an individual. The circle and hierarchy are not mutually exclusive. Circle can be particularly challenging if the person(s) holding hierarchy in an organization don’t wish to have a leader in every chair.

The structural elements of the circle are akin to the human structure. Each person that carries circle language or form back to their organizations or families is the right person to create the form and language that fits their group.

The circle by its very nature creates something that occurs —a recognition without having to say anything at all. What do you say about the circle that has inherent properties that makes it work so well? 

The circle is an archetype, part of our collective unconscious and our social DNA. People often come into a room and say, “what is happening here?” and nothing has been said yet. It’s just that the chairs aren’t bolted down in rows. And a different kind of presence is called for. No multi-tasking, no control from the front of the room.

The circle invites the whole of us to be present. We’re all visible. People are searching for a place where their whole self is welcome, not just our technical or sales savvy.

Advice from Christina and Ann: just try it. Just try a check-in and check-out. Try it in gentle places. Follow your heart with it. Know you always have support. Just keep breathing.

Life as Ceremony with Pele Rouge & FireHawk

Photo credit: Craig neal

Photo credit: Craig neal

We gathered around the VisionHolder campfire to engage in the "Heart of Leadership" with our dear and wise friends, Pele Rouge and FireHawk, guides and teachers of the Medicine Way. For 10 years they have partnered with Heartland to convene the Bay Area Thought Leader Gathering sharing the Earth Wisdom teachings in many ways. They have brought the power of beauty and the practice of "stringing the beads" or hearing all the voices to each gathering. This evening they spoke of leadership as  stepping forward in energy.Listen to the full audio recording of the interview with Craig Neal in the column to the left.

Our Vision

The people gather

in a Sacred Way

Listening deeply

Wisdom emerges

Courageous action ensues

Healing happens

Awakening occurs

Pele Rouge & FireHawk

Angeles Arrien VisionHolder Call

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

Angeles Arrien in September

On September 16, Angeles Arrien, cultural anthropologist, award-winning author and educator, will talk about The Four-Fold Way and how to "walk the mystical path with practical feet." Register here

The Four-Fold Way™ Program is an educational experience that demonstrates how to "walk the mystical path with practical feet." It is designed to increase our respect for nature and each other, and enhance our ability to work cooperatively and creatively in teams. The program inspires "spirit in action" using the cross-cultural components of leadership and communication skills, creative problem-solving, health care, and education. The Four-Fold Way™ Program emphasizes four major principles that integrate ancient cultural wisdoms into contemporary life.

  1. The Way of the Warrior or Leader
  2. The Way of the Healer or Caretaker
  3. The Way of the Visionary or Creative Problem Solver
  4. The Way of the Teacher or Counselor

7pm - 8pm CT

Learn More

email:  registration@heartlandcircle.com

phone:  952-925-5995

web:  http://www.heartlandcircle.com

Patricia & Craig Neal

Heartland Inc.

Transformational Leadership: A Partnership of Science and Spirituality

photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

From a participant reflecting on the Friday TLG: The entire philosophy, spirit of approach, the wonderful container for safe communication. To receive and give. To respect and be respected. Makes the whole experience feel sacred. It is a complete community.

Our Friday TLG with James O'Dea, of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, was rich. As Amy Lenzo noted in her Beauty Dialogues, James became the mesmerizing storyteller to lead us through stories of how human evolution is moving to integration with ourselves, our surroundings and all beings and how this can lead to a wisdom that creates wholeness for us and those around us.

Amy: The [story] that made the strongest impression on me was of Orpheus & his ability to counter the call of the deadly sirens (which O'Dea compared with the necrophiliac lure of cultural 'norms' like war and greed) with the enchantment of his own poetic imagination, with love of life or biophilia. The meaning I made of this story is that I can find solid ground in my innate love of life & my relationship with nature, that I must call on the power of my creativity to address the challenges of my life & times... and that new answers won't be found in old forms.

James called us to a heightened level of liveliness, invoking awareness that we are at a critical opening of consciousness in the human evolution:

You can participate in social healing in tangible ways.

  • Practice Imagination! That’s different from fantasy… imagination is the yearning, where neuro-plasticity exists, where the brain grows. Practice everyday richly imagining.
  • Learn to shift states. You can change your biological flow in seconds.
  • If I am stuck in judgment I am not seeking to understand. What do you need me to understand? It’s in that process that the juice arises.
  • Belief – comes from what you really love. When you no longer love it, be brave enough to change your belief.
  • Support emotional intelligence and social intelligence.
  • We are hard-wired for challenge. We are up to this moment. Don’t let the breakdown depress you, because we love a challenge, we rise to a challenge.


photo credit: craig neal

photo credit: craig neal

...to the Heartland Circle™ Journal. Chronicling the pulse of Heartland’s unique VisionHolder and Thought Leader network: current writings from Heartland, our VisionHolders, upcoming events, programs. Use the blog to 1-register for upcoming programs, such as the next VisionHolder Call (free), 2-listen to a past call (on the left), 3-check out our featured book (on the right).

Come gather round to learn, connect, express yourself and navigate the Heartland Circle™ Community. Join us on this journey of shared hearts and minds as we make our way together. You have the opportunity to fully participate in exploring ways to support, inspire, inform and interact with each other.

Claim your place at the fire, take your time, look around....

For an overview of the blog, use the 'ABOUT Heartland & this Blog" link (left column), and if you'd like help navigating this new format, check the 'How To' links (right column).

Please share your own musings in response to my posts or those of others... Let's use this space to ask the deeper questions & create the understandings that unleash the beauty and brilliance of this community!