Everyone is Welcomed

by Shantal Martinez, Open Circle student

I have been going to Open Circle since the beginning of my first year.  In my first year I really wanted to join a club that would take away stress instead of adding stress.  Open Circle was perfect for me because I was not obligated to attend every session, I never felt I was not accepted, and every time I went was a little break I never knew I needed.  Because of Open Circle, I believe I am more patient with myself and others.

Every week I try to go to at least one reflection session and really listen to people and myself.  That is probably the biggest thing I have gained from Open Circle.  It honestly took me a while to realize that hearing people is not the same as listening to them, and brushing off my feelings as insignificant does not mean I am not feeling something.

I know it isn't for everyone, but for the people who attend and really feel something every time they go, Open Circle is a little safe place where everyone is welcomed.

Shantal (second from left) at our Winter Retreat

Creative practices in our reflection circles, retreats, and courses help students to give attention to their own questions, longings, and experiences.