Village Medicine harmony council

About Harmony Council & the Agreements

Harmony Council is the name a group of local women coined for a social technology that is designed to create a safe container to metabolize interpersonal friction. It evolved out of a need in our community and has continued to iterate for various situations and configurations where conflict has arisen.

Conflict in a supported setting is an incredible opportunity to learn and grow with one another — the highest possible outcomes are harmony, increased self-awareness, greater intimacy and clarified boundaries. We find that collective metabolization of interpersonal friction liberates massive amounts of creative energy for our service work, akin to the personal energy reclaimed doing individual shadow work and integration. We share this here freely, in hopes that it supports similarly deep shifts for you and yours.

The basic technology is this: Each of the people in conflict have an ally, or support person, who they feel safe with, who is attuned to them at a nervous system level, tracking their needs, and advocating for them in the council. Additionally there is a neutral mediator managing the flow of the whole conversation. We find that having so many nervous systems in the room offers abundant co-regulation, which supports metabolizing conflict at a deep level.

We have had some experiences where the roles were less defined, where everyone was holding for resolution and supporting the process together. We do not recommend one participant having an ally and another not having one. We have had success with two neutral mediator/witnesses and no assigned allies. The basic tech can be adapted to meet the needs and skill level of participants.

Agreements: We find that having a set of agreements supports the structure and process of a Harmony Council. We have created and modified multiple sets of agreements over time to meet different circumstances. These Harmony Council Agreements have been tailored to suit the specific function of a mediation process:

Practice Self-Responsibility
Be willing to take accountability for your contributions to a dynamic. Recognize the distinction between objective facts, physical and emotional feelings related to those facts, and the stories held about them. Own your feelings and stories.

Be Generous
Leave room for the possibility of generous interpretations of each other’s words, tone, and actions. Listen and reflect with curiosity if possible. Assume everyone is doing the best they can in any moment.

Track Impact
Notice that impact can be different from intent. Be willing to give and receive feedback and reflections from others in the group and find ways to create repair when needed.

Make Space for Each Other
If you speak often, try stepping back to offer space for others to contribute. If you tend to speak less, challenge yourself to share more. This is particularly important in a group mediation — the more people involved, the more relevant this becomes.

Cultivate Transparency
Use discernment to cultivate balance between vulnerability and what feels safe, relevant, self-responsible, and compassionate to share in any given moment.

Honor the Container
Our intention is to harmonize even though we might not experience harmony immediately in this container. Discomfort can arise as we move through conflict into harmony. Stay with the process. As we clear blocks to essence and become more transparent, harmony naturally arises. We choose to evolve in this way.