The Way of Council is The Ojai Foundation's central and foundational practice, representing a rich blend of age-old communication practices that had been brought to TOF from an array of wisdom traditions.
By fostering attentive listening, authentic expression, and creative spontaneity, council practice builds positive relationships between participants and neutralizes hierarchical dynamics fostered by inequality of status, race, economic stature or other social factors. Council allows participants to communicate in ways that lead to a heightened sense of common purpose. Council offers effective means of working with conflict and discovering the deeper, often unexpressed needs of individuals and organizations. Council, in its various forms, provides comprehensive and powerful practices for co-visioning, learning, healing, community building and decision-making in a group context.
Center for Council provides regularly scheduled trainings in council practice throughout the year. Click here for a list of upcoming Council Trainings and links to register.
The Way of Council book was authored by former TOF Directors Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle, in 1996 (and revised in 2009), and introduced council practice to for-profit and non-profit organizations—schools, businesses, healing centers, spiritual and religious communities—throughout the world. (More history here)
Some of the ways Council is expressed in our programs:
Council is woven into almost every Land Sanctuary program. From our rites of passage programs designed in collaboration with regional schools, to our adventure ropes course, to days of service, council helps create the container and deepen the experience and meaning of all our programs. Read more about Land Sanctuary program offerings here.
Center for Council is devoted to supporting the practice of council, the growing network of carriers of the way of council in the world and a wide variety of council trainings and programs. Center for Council offers a three-part training arc which constitutes the basic curriculum for council facilitators (read more here). Center for Council fosters the growth of council in public and private sector organizations through projects like the Social Justice Council Project and the Soledad Prison Project.
Council in Schools (CIS) helps to inspire engaged and compassionate school communities by bringing council to students, teachers, administrators, parents, school district officials and members of wider school community. Council helps children and adults to more fully understand and appreciate the diverse backgrounds, experiences, and opinions of others and to connect meaningfully with their peers and with adults. (Visit the CIS website)