Integrative Pathways to Healing

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in Chicago

Circles of Healing

When people come together with a welcome and open-hearted sense of safety, healing happens.

It has been a joyous journey for me to discover the benefits of participating and guiding Healing Circles. I found this model of care during the first few months of the pandemic, when I felt isolated, confused, and deeply sad. As I looked for ways to be of service and support healthcare as a nurse and mind body specialist, I found a beautiful group of women, all holistic nurses who were determined to provide front line workers with a place to come together to share as a group with safety and compassion. Over the weeks of my participation in the circle in early spring of 2020, I found grounding, common humanity, and acceptance. It was just what I needed. After being in a circle, I felt a sense of calm, peace, and love.

The Compassion Caravan was the brainchild of a dedicated holistic nurse that gathered up her local and national friends and colleagues to offer weekly Compassion Listening Circles. We opened a zoom room several times a week and welcomed all who arrived with whatever they were carrying in their hearts. Yes, that is a key component of the sharing circles, to connect to our own hearts and welcome all that is there – and if you feel able- to share your heart with the group. It wasn’t required that you say anything, silence is always a welcome share. And many times, as new people arrived in circle they would listen, and often feel the healing of just being with others who verbally shared their hearts. We all have difficulties; we all have endured a very chaotic time in the world and being with others and sensing the common humanity of suffering is healing.

I was so excited about the powerful experiences I had in circles that I trained with a national organization, Healing Circles Global to become a facilitator of Healing Circles. When we join in community with others in heart and mind, we heal individually and collectively. The circle provides a place of refuge, deep listening, self-reflection, and loving accompaniment, which expands one’s capacity for healing and well-being. I attend and support two circles weekly often and found the healing power of the group experience. Grounded in ancestral history of gathering around a fire to share community, comradery and compassion, the light of hope shone brighter.

Working and participating in Healing Circles has also opened doors to new friends and support and added value to my work and my life. The Compassion Caravan group is now one of the 6 healthcare professional focused circles offered by the HCG. There are many other weekly circles offered by this organization, for those suffering from grief and loss, cancer, caregiving a loved one, and many more. If you would like to join a circle, I encourage you to try. There is no charge and all who facilitate are volunteers.