July 2014Volume 20Number 1PDF icon PDF version (for best printing)

International Women’s Day Talking Circle – March 8, 2014

The theme of International Women’s Day 2014 is “Inspiring Change.” To explore this theme members of the ISBA, including former chairs of its Women in the Law Committee, came together on March 8th to enjoy spa services and hold a Talking Circle in the common room of the Ally Spa,1 Chicago. Talking Circles process involves a ceremony, a talking piece and creating a space for the participants to listen wholeheartedly and to speak without interruption, judgment, question, distraction or interference.

At this Circle, the participants shared their voices and explored how individually and collective we can and do help other to find their voices. “Finding your voice and helping others find theirs” is what is described by Dr. Stephen R. Covey2 as “the critical challenge of our world today” – from his book The 8th Habit – From Effectiveness to Greatness (Franklin-Covey, 2004). In his writings Dr. Covey talks about the “whole-person paradigm.” A whole person or entity being the unity of: body, mind, heart and spirit.

As Covey describes it, each of the four aspects of wholeness relate to common and elemental needs of all people around the globe. Those are: to live, to learn, to love and to leave a legacy. As demonstrated by Covey in the chart below each of the aspects of wholeness and their related needs give rises to different intelligences, attributes and roles.





Body (To Live)




Mind (To Learn)




Heart (To Love)

Emotional Intelligence



Spirit (To Leave a Legacy)





Acute pain comes from the disruption of the unity of body, mind, heart and spirit in families, business and organizations. From that then comes symptoms of chronic problems related to disempowerment and misalignment including: in-fighting, victim-ism, defensiveness, political gamesmanship, escapism, anger, co-dependency, apathy and clear hypocrisies. As lawyers and problem solvers members of the ISBA in their work as lawyers, judges, mediators, arbitrators see on a daily basis people suffering from these symptoms.

During the 2014 International Women’s Day Celebration the ideas of how the legal profession might better serve by modeling, path-finding, aligning and empowering people were explored and the bonds of friendship, connection and wholeheartedness were strengthened among the attendees. Talking Circles are private gatherings and the thoughts, hopes and actions shared among the participants are keep confidential among those who are participate. However, what the author is free to share is that the consensus of the women gathered was that the celebration of International Women’s Day 2014 was a success and that plans are underway to make the event a yearly occurrence on the local Bar related activities calendar. We encourage all interested in Peace Circles, developing the “8th Habit” (greatness) or joining next year’s International Women’s Day Celebration, both women and men, to get in touch. ■



Sandra Crawford, is a lawyer, mediator and Collaborative Law Practitioner and a former Chair of the ISBA’s Women in the Law Committee. Sandra can be reached at (312)726-8766 or lawcrawford@att.net. If you are interested in Peace Circle or Collaborative Practice, please feel free to contact her directly.


1. Ally Spa – 600 West Chicago Ave, Riverwalk Level, Chicago, IL – www.allyu.com

2. Covey is an internationally respected leadership authority, teach, organization consultant, author of the book - The 7th Habits of Highly Effective People and co-founder of the Fraklin-Covey. Co.

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