Sustainability, Hope, Resilience: The Resilience Circle Network

Sustainability… Resilience… Hope… Communities that can thrive and offer a positive life based on local food systems, alternative energy, compassionate ways of living and being…

Is this possible?

Can we really shift ourselves to this more positive future in light of the overwhelmingly negative news and trends that bombard us each day? In light of the severe economic stress that so many of us are under?

There are so many ways for us to shift to being more sustainable. More locally based in our economies. There is hope for us all if we collectively take these actions together. I fear that this sounds trite… stating the above. This is not an easy process. The forces that have been at play for so many centuries to lead us to this dire historic time are deep and powerful. But all it takes is one step in that more positive, more community-based sustainable direction. We can take this step, together, if we so choose. We can learn to be more resilient. We can.

I have just learned of a new resource for people to come together to build more resilient communities. Resilient as in aware, active and committed to supporting each other. It could be bartering. It could be growing more food in each person’s back yard, organically. Or tinkering with alternative energies. It could be one or many different collective actions.

But here is a group that is offering us the resource to frame our way. To give us a compass and set of discussion tools to help us build the foundation.

It is called the Resilience Circle Network (also called the Common Security Circle Network) and it is a pilot project of the Institute for Policy Studies Program on Inequality and the Common Good ( On the Commons ( has also provided resources to develop the curriculum.

Below is an Overview of Sessions (taken directly from their website):

Click the links below to download copies of individual sessions, or email us for a copy of the whole Guide. See below for a visual overview.

Session 1 – Our Resilience Circle

In this session, participants share their reasons for wanting to join a Resilience Circle and consider how dominant cultural messages keep us isolated and convince us to accept things as they are.

Session 2 – Changing the Story: A New Vision

The old economy created huge inequalities between the very wealthy and everyone else. Debt on both personal and societal levels has fueled unsustainable growth and overconsumption of the earth’s resources. In this session, we consider that our security depends not on a “recovery” to the old ways, but on imagining something different.

Session 3 – Changing the Story: Breaking Isolation

The old story about the economy tells us that we shouldn’t talk about our economic situation: it is either shamefully bad or embarrassingly good. This session creates a space for people to begin to break the habit of silence.

Session 4 – Strengthening Community: Real Wealth and Security

In Sessions 4 and 5 we consider the vital role our communities will play in building the new economy. In Session 4 we’ll consider new concepts of community wealth and security, and introduce the idea of mutual aid.

Session 5 – Strengthening Community: Mutual Aid

In this session, we will explore the proposition that ecological changes will deeply alter our economic lives – and that there is no going back to the economy of the past. This session also includes the exchanging of gifts and needs – a tangible experience that shows how much we can help each other.

Session 6 – Changing the Rules

In this session, we will explore the proposition that large corporations exert too much influence over the “rules” that govern our society. With a vision of a new economy (Sessions 2 and 3) and strengthened community ties (Sessions 4 and 5), we are equipped to engage in social action to rewrite these rules. We discuss what types of action the group is interested in. 

Session 7 – What’s Next

Session 7 reviews what we have learned together and our vision for a new economy.  We explore how we can build resilience together and what our next steps as a group will be.


About Mare Cromwell

Referred to as “The Voice of Earth Mother” by a gifted Shoshone elder, Mare Cromwell is a multi-award-winning author, Medicine woman/Lightworker and healer. She has also been told by another gifted elder that her work with Earth Mother is in the prophecies. Her books include: "The Great Mother Bible"; "Messages from Mother.... Earth Mother"; and "If I gave you God’s phone number.... Searching for Spirituality in America". She has studied with Native American teachers for twenty-two years and sat on the World Council for Wisdom Gatherings for three years. Mare leads workshops on our Sacred Planet-Earth Mother, Womb Wisdom and Sacred Silliness and more. She is the visionary and producer of the 1000 Goddesses Gathering in Washington DC. Mare loves to be involved in Ceremony. She is also a former worm herder. She calls Western Maryland home.
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