Our intention is to share simple practical ways of living that can be easily learned, applied and carried on to benefit life.
Way of the talking stick
Improving how we communicate is a key in shifting humanity from the paradigm of competition and being against each other, to collaboration and being for each other.
The way of the Talking Stick and Circle Council can be used in essentially any group of humans, to bring awareness to how we speak and listen and to help us focus on compassion, learning and how we can help each other. This can be used in all relationships in the family, school, work, organizations and projects.
The Way of the Talking Stick is used in many Native American cultures, and can be found in various forms in most ancient peoples around the earth. It is the best friend of the circle.
Pawis-Steckley, J. Illustration of Indigenous people sitting in a circle.
The Talking Stick is used as an ally to two or more people who wish to communicate in a way that focuses on honoring each others’ perspectives, forgiving, learning, connecting, and creating collaborative solutions. When passing the Talking Stick it is great to form a circle.
The stick is passed from person to person often around the whole circle. The concept is simple the person holding the stick is given the opportunity and safe space to speak, while the whole circle listens.
As you listen to each person and their unique experiences, you are given the opportunity to see from many perspectives. When the stick comes to you it is your opportunity to speak. The elders encourage you to breath and feel your heart, and allow the words to come through naturally. Everyone is valued as essential. This way of sharing allows people to learn, see a common vision and a more whole perspective of the truth.
Together the circle and the talking stick can create great safety and peace. Like this you know you are supported and cared for by many people, and you can see how the choices are being made for the good of all.
Council is another word used to describe this type of communication. There are many different forms and some use a different object such as a crystal or feather as the talking piece. Each council may have different intentions and specific ways of conducting the meeting.
At the core the Talking Stick is a powerful tool and symbol. It reminds us that we are here to communicate in the best way we can, to listen and learn from others and to find paths of peace.
Although relatively simple it is a powerful paradigm shift away from communication based in right and wrong, judgment, blame, winning and loosing, to seeking to open our hearts and minds to see and learn form each other, that we may grow together and create ways of life that are mutually wonderful.
“When Grandfather Speaks” by Artist Alfredo Rodriguez.
Way of the Circle
Many ancient cultures looked to Nature for teachings about relationship, health and energy. The shape of the circle is found throughout Nature, embodying balance, strength connection and perfection. The Earth, Sun, Moon, a drop of water, and the center of our eyes are circular.
When human beings come together in a circle, many special things occur. First there is not a hierarchy, all people hold an equal, essential place. We can all hear and see one another, thus we are all connected.
When we hold hands, it unites an energy circuit through our bodies which are electrical systems. When we breathe together, our heartbeats, and biorhythms synchronize.
This form of connection is visible in nature in schools of fish, flocks of birds, and herds of animals. When a school of fish moves simultaneously as one, they are not communicating through signals to each other, rather each one is is like a cell in an organism receiving information and responding as one biofield.
As humans, we can also unite as one energy field. The experience of being in circle can be deeply healing, for it allows us to release the notion and feeling of separation, allowing us to feel held and connected to tribe and the oneness of life.
In our practices in Peace Sticks and Peaceful Ninja we form circles in many ways. We place the sticks in a sun forming a circle. We then stand or sit in a circle to pass a talking stick and share teachings. We also come together in a circle to make music together and create a space to play peace sticks inside, while being energetically supported by the people in the circle .
We also practice movement techniques based on circular motions.
The circle is used in many teachings and stories to see deeper into our relationships to each other and all things.
To create a new way of peace requires that we observe and evolve how we communicate. There is great power in brining awareness to the ways and words we use and actively learning and upgrading our language program incorporating words and phrases that more accurately share our experiences and create opportunities to meet each other in our emotions, needs and creative solutions.
Helping and healing the earth with our hands is one of the simplest and most empowering things we can do.We guide experiences bringing children and people into nature to clean and restore by picking up trash, and planting trees.
Each location offers new learning opportunities. We may help with a community organic garden, clean a river, or pick up trash on the beach. These processes feel good and show us how easy it is to make a difference.It’s a special feeling to walk into a forest littered with plastic trash, and an hour later see a clean nature sanctuary.
The act of picking up trash also literally puts us in touch with pollution, and sparks curiosity. What are the brands we see on these pieces of plastic? Why are people buying and consuming toxic things, like artificial candy, snacks, cigarettes, and sugary beverages? Why are we using so many plastic bags? Why do people throw it in nature? Even after we pick it up, where does the trash go, how is it processed?
All these questions inspire discussions and the exploration of solutions. Solutions that range from education to how we can redesign human interaction with resources and nature?
These experiences often shift our world view in a fundamental way. We start noticing the habits and ways of life in a city that were once accepted as normal, and seeing and searching for the replacements and solutions that will create a more balanced relationship between us, human beings, and the earth
We share teachings that allow us to enter into states of meditation and presence. These include Yoga, Chi Gung, breathwork, and many forms of moving and seated meditation.
These practices guide us to release the mind and thoughts of future and past and expand our awareness in the present. These states provide healing on almost every level for our mind, emotions, and body, and allow us to connect to the field of infinite possibility and creativity. It is in these states of being that many of the greatest advances in humanity are birthed. Teaching children and Peace Leaders to use these tools opens us to create solutions.
School of the Peaceful Ninja
School of the Peaceful Ninja was founded in 2011 by Shine Rilling with his two sons. School of the Peaceful Ninja is a holistic youth empowerment school that weaves teachings from many ancient lineages, such as yoga, meditation, martial arts, peaceful communication, and earth wisdom. The mission is to cultivate and focus our energy in a masterful, peaceful way and empower our youth to be stewards and protectors of their own life, their communities and the planet.