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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Stringing of the Beads: A Strategy for Facilitating and Developing Groups

Authored By:

Carolee Hayes


November 15, 2023

This month we share a strategy from the indigenous tribes of the North American plains. It was featured in a Grove Consultants publication and is worth sharing with our community as a strategy similar to grounding. It is based on the metaphor of a string of beads, each person representing a bead. The purpose is to bring a deeper focused energy to a group before beginning its work. It requires time, much like grounding so would likely be used in a retreat setting or in a day long work session.

The steps are:

  • Form a circle of the group and share the metaphor of a string of beads made up of individuals forming a whole. You might want to have a string and beads and give a bead to each person. Or you can just have a stick to pass that represents the needle holding the string.

  • Offer a time limit to take the string and answer some grounding questions. Begin by saying my name is…

Grove offers the following questions, which you may want to use or modify:

“Tell us about your current condition: How is your heart? How is your mind? How is your spirit? And how is your body? Before speaking check in with yourself.”

If time allows, go around a second time, asking a question that focuses on the day’s work, e.g., “What are you hoping for today?” or “What positive thing do you bring to the room today?”

The facilitator should say, “Thank you,” after the person finishes. And ending might refer back to the completed necklace that forms the circle of the group for the time together.

If you have a large group, you might make several necklaces and will need to have several facilitators.

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