Monday Morning Musings

Posted on June 21, 2021 under Monday Morning Musings with 2 comments



“All my life’s a circle, sunrise and sundown,

Moon rolls thru the nighttime, till the daybreak comes around,

All my life’s a circle, but I can’t tell you why,

Seasons spinning round again, the years keep rollin’ by.”

All My Life’s a Circle – Harry Chapin

Circle of friends.

Healing circles.

Talking circles.

Songwriter’s circles.

I’m not sure where the arc of this story is going. I’ll try not go off on a tangent.

Living in the north among the Inuit taught me many lessons, among them patience, persistence and resilience. They are a remarkable people who have endured much suffering but still manage to display warmth and kindness. I was the beneficiary of their generosity and wisdom.

It didn’t take me long to realize the importance of the circle in Inuit life and culture. “The significance of the circle is evident for Aboriginal people in many ways. The circle is a sacred symbol of the interdependence of all forms of life; the circle is a key symbol in Native spirituality, family structure, gatherings of people, meetings, songs, and dances.” (Pewewardy, 1995)

In many Indigenous cultures, healing circles and talking circles are often used as a way to provide group support for people who are dealing with issues such as addictions, violence, grief, and trauma.

Many of the meetings that I attended inside and outside the school began with a prayer and it was not uncommon to see people form a circle and often hold hands as a sign of unity. I was lucky enough to share country food with the Inuit. This required sitting on the floor in a circle eating raw meat and fish. For an old fella like me, getting up off the floor was the hardest part of these meals!

I was invited to be a part of a children’s singing group which convened regularly at the local museum, one of the most stunning and intimate that I have ever seen. The children always formed a circle to sing, dance, drum, or throat sing. One always felt a sense of unity.

I was fortunate enough to spend one Christmas in Kangiqsujuaq and got to participate in some of the Inuit games held outdoor on one of the lakes. Many of the games were held inside a wide circle.

Songwriter’s circles are very popular in my part of the world in Atlantic Canada. Before Covid came along and spoiled the party, you could find a songwriter’s circle in small communities on any given weekend.  These are events where local musicians come together to share their music with fellow musicians and the public.

So, why have I decided to pick the topic of circles on this first day of summer?

Last week, I was at our local university, St. Francis Xavier, chatting with a well- known adult educator. She is a super star in her field. It will not surprise anyone that she is from god’s country, otherwise known as Newfoundland. I went to inquire about the possibility of an ancient relic (me) doing a Masters in Adult Education with a focus on Indigenous issues. We had a wide-ranging discussion. There are still many opportunities for lifelong learning even in one’s golden years. Golden years can turn into ‘olden years’ in the blink of an eye so tarry not.

The discussion was stimulating and informative, and yes, even went off on a few tangents. One of these involved the notion of a writer’s circle. My friend suggested that there are many, many people who are itching to write something about their life, their family, their community or some personal matter but really don’t know where to start. We were sitting on a bench outside of Xavier Hall on a warm morning. When my friend suggested that I facilitate a writer’s circle, I thought that she must be suffering the effects of the heat.

I am not a professional writer. I simply write what I know and will even write about things I don’t know! Many writing circles include established and up and coming authors. This would not be the intended audience should such a venture take place once Covid allows people to gather more freely. I would be happy to meet with people to share stories and encourage them to write them down in some fashion. If you know anything about genealogy, you understand the importance of old letters, documents and written anecdotes from one’s ancestors.

“But my story isn’t interesting.” I disagree. Everyone’s story is unique and would be of great interest to their children and grandchildren.

I contacted People’s Place Library and they seem interested in hosting these get togethers.

What about you or your friends? Would you be interested in attending? I repeat. I am NOT an expert. I have never taken part in a writer’s circle and I’m not even sure about the format, but I would be happy to sit around (in a circle!) and facilitate stories and ideas for stories.

“In the circle of life, it’s the wheel of fortune,

It’s the leap of faith, it’s the band of hope,

‘Til we find our place, on the path unwinding,

In the circle, the circle of life.”

Circle of Life – Elton John

All of these circles are important, none more so to me than my circle of friends. Through old school relationships, my writing, working on boards and committees, teaching and travel, I have been blessed with many great friends.

“Will the circle be unbroken?’

I hope not.

Happy first day of summer.

Have a great week.

Highland Hearing Clinic

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