Robert Koehler, Peace Journalist
I’ve had two week-long Circle training sessions and participated in numerous circles of varying purpose and length, primarily healing and discussion circles. I also helped with publicity for a Chicago-wide “day of healing,” in which Circles were held throughout the city.
I have been involved doing Circles with numerous groups around the city of Chicago, including restorative justice groups and men’s groups (for healing and spiritual discussion).
The Circle is an extremely adaptable form. Many are informal in nature. I was part of an organization for many years called the Men’s Art Forum. The basic form of the meeting was a Circle; participants checked and talked about the presence of art in their lives. I have also participated in a healing Circle, which was organized for my benefit after I’d been victimized in a mugging. This was a powerful process for regaining emotional health and a sense of connectedness. Situations in which all participate as equals often seem naturally to form themselves into Circles. The specific rituals and traditions of the Peace Circle, such as the use of a talking piece, enhance the concept of equal participation and respect for all. I feel I have barely tapped, or even begun to imagine, what is possible through the Circle process.
Areas of Interest and Service
I consider myself a Circle keeper in training. I am deeply committed to the Circle process and, as a writer, committed also to explaining the value of Circles in healing and other processes to as wide an audience as possible. I am a student of the nature of power and a researcher into the applications of power in a context of equality, not domination.
I am a career journalist: reporter, editor, columnist. For many years I’ve written a nationally syndicated column that focuses on politics and current events from a peace and spirituality perspective. I consider myself a peace journalist. My interest in Circles is specifically from a writer’s perspective.