On being a “Way of Council” Trainer by Rob Dreaming

Somewhere between where I’ve been, where I am, and where I am going…

So… You want to be a Trainer! Congratulations!

You mean like those people who are held on high as important, top of the pile, listened to and loved (or not) by many, like a workshop guru, a CEO, a filmstar? Take away the binoculars, the tinted glasses and look down, at your feet. The ones that have carried you down (and I mean down) the path to this point. And you are on a path, a very long path, the ground, the earth beneath it. There’s the real trainer, the real work, the unnoticed or taken-for-granted place to come back to when it gets real. And then there’s the Spirit of Council, the thing that comes through you when you work, the people, the place, the every moment that is in itself the trainer, in, out and beyond any pretense to say, ‘OK time off!’ or ‘nah, that’s not my responsibility…’

So you carry it, right through from the first time the fire was lit. But this is different, because that commitment has deepened, changed your life and keeps on changing it, and will keep on changing it, and you break down piece by piece because the ‘higher’ your rank, the deeper you have to serve. And if you truly want to serve when you sit, the whole world is waiting inside of you, and you are just there to meet it. It’s a job beyond any idea that you will ever achieve it, and believe me, going outside will change little. Or nothing. And it might feel like it most days, being alone, but you are not alone, and neither should you be.

So you listened, asked, listened, walked, is it mine to do? You asked yourself, your peers, your community and mentor(s). You asked the Spirit of Council, and all who saw you in that role thus, the water, the smoke, the fire and the earth, gave it back to you. And on you come, learning, unlearning and re-learning like on day one, until and beyond the unknown, the unknowing becomes a home, your place to sit. And everybody sees you there, called to hold that place.

So you are living, and are a living council, full circle, full time, inside and out. Inside the circle, you are held by clear intentions, a context and container with limits that are agreed, and to the degree the circle is tuned, truth and emergence come. And to step out of that circle, that safe space and walk this way, that way and any way in places with maybe some rules, and maybe not, and who knows the rules here? Well, that demands risk, a courage, a lifetime practice and maybe one day, a living example may one become.

And it’s not (just) about living the ceremony, thinking like a circle, becoming grateful. Not just about when to do this, how to do that, being an expert at reading the field, holding any group, challenging the ‘safe’ container, being really present and refusing to be compromised by status, risk of upsetting the stakeholders, or not getting paid, etc. It’s about something more, something…

And this something. What is it? Service yes, but more than that. It is a dream, a particular thread and rare thing in this modern societal fast-food frenzy: holding a living tradition. Rare, young and delicate (relatively speaking), that in this world of ticking boxes (excuse the pun), rubber-stamping and trademarked legal ‘clarities,’ this thread comes woven from the roots of something ancient, many traditions, practices and prayers. It is neither owned nor neatly packaged, but passed on to you hand and heart by people who have lived it before you, who know the history, the growing community who practice by this name, and who trust you to look after it, them and all the peoples who gave to it in ensuring as best can be that: the gift stays out of the box.

And that too has now become your job, to hand it on with every bit of care you yourself received, and give it away. And every day that thread gets longer as more come hold the line, the land, the wound, the grief, the dispossessed and so by consequence, the responsibilities too. Blessed be, that weight may get lighter, the more who come to hold and share it, be supported and contribute to the community of the Way of Council.


Rob Dreaming, Way of Council Trainer, ECN