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May the Circle Be Unbroken

May 24 - May 27


An Immersion Course in Community Best Practices, with Marlow Hotchkiss & Leslie Roberts

“True belonging is born of relationships not only to one another but to a place of shared responsibilities and benefits. We love not so much what we have acquired as what we have made and whom we have made it with.” —Robert Finch American naturalist, author & essayist

A FOUR-DAY IMMERSION-COURSE in living Council, specifically tailored to deepen the awareness and skills necessary for flourishing communities. We’ll explore best practices for building trust, conflict resolution, real consensus decision-making, as well as co-visioning, and shared-leadership models. Ultimately, a community’s resilience—its ability to adapt, grow and sustain itself over time—comes down to the resilience and quality of our individual personal relationships. Whether urban pocket-neighborhoods, artists cooperatives, co-housing projects, or more rural, self-sufficient ecovillages and intentional communities, open-hearted communication and generous doses of empathy are key to health and long life. In the long run, the permaculture needed to grow a thriving community is ‘people permaculture.’ Think of Council as the art of relationship and the circle as the ‘communion’ at the heart of community.

In the rustic beauty of Whidbey’s wild sanctuary, we will live and breathe Council. The multi-day arc of this training gives us space to explore circle work as both a communication technique and a spiritual practice. Here the questions we are living, and the experiences we each bring with us, will shape our time together, as will the shadows following us here. In a world in which everything is connected to everything else, even weather and the wildlife surrounding us are part of our commons, influencing our moods and movements.

This program combines both intermediate and advanced levels of group work and is intended for leaders and change-agents, caregivers and caretakers, and those longing for and creating community. There will be both soloand group-activities. Many, if not most, of our sessions will be out of doors, inviting us to open to the teachings and wisdom embodied in natural systems. You will have a chance to explore facilitation challenges, working alone and with partners, and with our whole impromptu community. With vulnerability and a little grace, we hope to enter that space where serving self, serving others, and serving Creation, is spoken with one voice.

Leslie and Marlow are Senior Trainers with The Ojai Foundation in California, and have lived here in Port Townsend now for 8 years. With over 30 years experience with circle work in organizations and intentional communities, both here and abroad, they offer this course as part of their long-term commitment to their family’s new home.



Marlow Hotchkiss is a poet, Council trainer, ecologist and wilderness guide, with over 40 years experience in circle work with young people and adults, in the classroom and in nature. He is a founding member of the Ojai Foundation’s Leadership Council, and continues today as a senior teacher and member of its Elders Council. Marlow is a member of Local 20/20, a chapter of the Transition Town movement here in Jefferson County, and is focused primarily on relational and resiliency education. A family-man, he is father to six kids and grandfather to three. He sees himself as a would-be Elder in search of a Tribe.

Leslie Roberts has roots in the healing arts, harvesting fruits from practices as diverse as Bioenergetics and Gestalt, Jin Shin Jytsu and Hospice. A passionate gardener, she has studied structural bodywork, movement therapies, and sports medicine. She has ventured into CoCounseling, Permaculture, graphic design and ceramics, as well as working with horses and wolves, and raising gardens in multiple bio-regions. A mother of two daughters and one granddaughter, she has a life-long practice of swimming meditation, to renew her soul. Leslie is a teacher and trainer, deeply involved with the Ojai Foundation’s way of Council and ceremony for over 20 years.


Dates: May 24th~27th (Please register before April 15th!)

Location: The Whidbey Institute, on South Whidbey Island. Beds or camping are on a first-come-first served basis.

Tuition: $350 per person, including housing/camping.

Non-refundable deposit: $150.

Some scholarships available on a need-basis.

Make checks payable to LOCAL 20/20 (& please write Sound Institute on the memo line). Send to: Local 20/20, 1240 W. Sims Way #12, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

Meals for our 4-days will be mostly potluck & self-organized by the group. Come with a cooler full of your favorite eats to share; there will be some limited opportunity to shop for additional supplies.

Program prerequisites: a brief (half-page or less) Letter of Intention, spelling out any previous Council, NVC, or circle training & facilitation experience, plus what you hope for from this program. Information packets, including logistics, directions, camping and accommodation information, plus equipment recommendations, will be sent to registering participants.

For questions regarding the program, prerequisites, or to register, contact [email protected] / or phone: 805-701-7846.


May 24
May 27
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