I live my life in widening circles
that reach out across the world.
I may not complete this last one
but I give myself to it.
—Ranier Maria Rilke
An old proverb reminds us that sharing joy with others doubles that joy and sharing sorrow halves that sorrow. Scientific research is starting to confirm what people have long known to be true: Those with positive social support have fewer heart attacks, live longer, experience less dementia, recover from illness more quickly, and are generally happier. But many don’t have the support they need. Commonweal’s Healing Circles programs provide positive social support — powered by volunteers — to anyone who asks for it. The framework of the circles encourages participants to treat one another with kindness and respect, hold one another’s stories in confidence, withhold judgment, and honor one another’s unique path to healing without advising, fixing, or rescuing.
Healing Circles draws on 30 years of experience with four of Commonweal’s programs: the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, The Institute for Health and Illness, the Healing Kitchens Institute, and the Healing Yoga Foundation. You can find out more about this work on the Healing Circles Global website.