Storytelling at Work
July 24, 2019
What People Say About Their Experience of Wisdom Circles


Wisdom Circles are enjoyable, lightly-facilitated, two-hour gatherings of 6-12 people sharing meaningful, personal stories with each other -- stories that convey insights, humanity, lessons learned, and memorable moments of truth. What follows are a sampling of testimonials from some of the people who have recently attended Wisdom Circles in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and Woodstock, NY.

"I didn't know what to expect when I attended my first Wisdom Circle; I had brought pen and paper, prepared for note taking and homework. Half way through the evening I found myself spell bound by the spinning of tales and stories, notebook forgotten. What if, in every day life, we paid attention to the stories of our peers with the same focus and respect? What would happen if we gave a child, a friend or and spouse 10 minutes of undivided, uninterrupted attention? At the closing of the Wisdom circle that night, I felt that I had been given the opportunity to glance at the human soul." -- Carole Clement

"Wisdom Circles make space for the human spirit by creating space for shared human experience. How unusual it is in these modern times to gather in a circle of friends and strangers and have the opportunity to share personal stories of growth and transformation in an intimate, safe and supportive space. The format is simple, but the impact profound. I always leave full of new perspective, insight, and feeling -- a deeper connection to my fellow storytellers and story listeners, but most importantly, a refreshed relationship to my own life path and deeper connection to my values, voice and truth." -- Akka B.

"I attended a Wisdom Circle for the first time last night, and left feeling uplifted, connected, and heard. Sitting together in community, listening to others' stories and unique perspectives on life, and bearing witness to one another's experiences is not only powerful, but healing. These circles are a microcosm of how I hope society at large might one day function -- truly seeing those around us, valuing them, and recognizing we are on a journey together in our shared humanity." - Karen Kinney

"There is no doubt in my mind that Wisdom Circles are a service of enormous value to the community. There is indeed great wisdom in exploring our own stories; in speaking them, sharing them and allowing them to be witnessed. The feedback, insights and questions from Mitch and the other participants open a door for us to reconsider from different perspectives that which we too often have only seen from one angle for too long, perhaps causing an inflexibility in our attachment to our story. It is quite possible to hold something too dear and too tightly; to offer that up to a group is to open to a larger picture and to yield to the process of letting go. I highly recommend the Wisdom Circle to anybody who feels that they have a story to tell, especially if they feel that they don't." -- Carlos F. Chancellor


"My Wisdom Circle evening was a heartwarming event. The remarkable stories we heard created an instant community of trust and empathy. I felt embraced by everyone. I went with one story to share in mind, but the stories others told tapped into a very different place in me, and a story that surprised me emerged from me. The experience gave me a new insight that stunned me, or really, it was an old insight that I had forgotten about and was deeply happy to have back. The Circle was a beautiful, totally engaging evening." -- Susan Page

"As a psychotherapist, I am, in a way, a professional listener. I encourage people to tell their stories, but no one is necessarily encouraging me to share mine. The Wisdom Circle was a unique experience. We came together as a community of supportive listeners, each person encouraged to share a story from their deepest heart. With no topic taboo, and no judgments, I did not need to fear the effect of my story on the listeners. There was an atmosphere of openness and safety in the room. How freeing this was for me. I could allow myself to find the tale that wanted telling and feel safe to tell it. Afterwards I felt a sense of relief and freedom. I felt seen and heard without judgment. This was not group therapy. This was community, each person listening deeply, listening with the third ear, which is the heart." -- Ellen Goldberg

"I went to my first Wisdom Circle with some interest, but as the first session unfolded, my interest piqued. I am hooked with the experiences that I am receiving in The Wisdom Circle. I find that days after I leave The Wisdom Circle I am still reflecting on the stories told. I had no idea that someone else's experience told in a story could affect me so deeply and would have an impact on my future thoughts. Mitch is interested and caring in his duties as the mediator. I love going and look forward to the experience with great anticipation." - Robyn Johnson

"One of the biggest takeaways I had from the Wisdom Circle was the importance of listening. I couldn't help but notice how my mind was constantly wanting to interject during other people's stories. Whether it was a joke, a comment of acknowledgment, or even just wanting to say 'yeah sure'. But through the process of listening to each person's story, really paying attention, and clearly hearing what it was that they had to say, I found that it was not only an enriching experience, but also something I've begun to implement in my day-to-day life." - Jon Jeffers

"I went to my first Wisdom Circle last week. It was wonderful. The space was loving and safe, with wonderful people, none of whom I had met before, but two hours later felt like I had six new friends. It's an inspiring environment that naturally evokes the sharing of stories. I'm going again." - Sharon Jeffers

"The Wisdom Circle evening I attended was not only stimulating, but conjured up stories of my own I hadn't even remembered, until my memory was stirred by the others in the circle. The facilitator made us feel safe and appreciated in sharing our stories and created an evening of ambiance, gratitude and mutual appreciation -- a place to be real.' -- Sher Davidson


"The whole experience renewed my interest in listening to, writing, and telling stories." -- Jean Paul Peretz

"Sharing our stories with one another is a beautiful way that humans support and teach and enrich one another. It is also a way to build community. Most of all, in hearing one another's stories we are aware of our shared, flawed, exquisite humanity." -- Diana Kuper

"I found it immensely moving to listen to people's core narratives at the Wisdom Circles I have attended. It deepens my appreciation of who they are and what their inner life looks like." -- Ruth Garbus

"Wisdom Circles are SO MUCH FUN. Under the facilitator's alchemical guidance, each and every storytelling gathering is a safe, encouraging, inspiring, profound, and creative opportunity to more deeply connect with myself and others." -- Lynda Carre

"I was invited to to attend a Wisdom Circle with my daughter and we spent a wonderful evening of storytelling and enlightenment. Sharing insights and bringing people together made it a memorable evening." -- Jean Buchalter

"The Wisdom Storytelling Circle is a simple, alive form that brought forth my deep narratives. Working within a theme, focused and strengthened my voice. Knowing that the facilitator was guiding the time, I relaxed, took in other's offerings, stayed engaged, and found my moment to speak. This is an ancient activity, arising again, in amazement." -- Barbara Bash

"Participating in a Wisdom Circle is uplifting, empowering, bringing forth empathy, trust and intimacy, sharing, learning, real listening, digging into and sharing one's own life and memories, community-building. It is so enriching to mind and soul -- truly rewarding. Am looking forward to the next one!" -- Eldad Benary

"This aspect of gathering the troops and sounding the clarion call is a way to say Let's Do This... Let's Connect... Let's Inspire and reward each other with heartfelt experiences. In our very busy lives, filled with all of the calamitous news, Wisdom Circles are a serene way to escape, for a few hours, back to oneself." -- Jan Buchalter

"Participating in a Wisdom Circle was a very freeing experience, as I am generally shy when presenting to a group. I developed a confidence in my ability to tell my story in a transparent and honest way without feeling that I had to make it better by exaggerating or leaving things out. It was also fascinating to hear the stories of others. The circle created a bond between participants that opened the door to understanding others by seeing things through their eyes." -- Dr. Alan Pizer

"I had a wonderful time at the Wisdom story telling session. I loved thinking about relevant story themes from my life, preparing for our evening, meeting with other storytellers, hearing their stories, and telling my story. I heard amazing and inspiring stories from each person and felt spiritually and emotionally enriched afterward. I felt connected to each person who shared. The facilitation was beautifully done, summing up the core of our stories, reinforcing the beautiful learning in each of our lives. The evening was truly memorable and meaningful." -- Corinne Mol

"Mitch Ditkoff's wisdom storytellers circles are transformative. This is what my life has been sorely lacking for a very long time. I am so glad that I stumbled upon his group. Through the process of storytelling using thoughtfully selected themes, we each delve into aspects of our lives that are not generally discussed or deeply considered. The questions and discussions that follow each story, facilitated via Mitch's keen insight, inspire the storyteller and other group members to tap into our own wisdom, with surprisingly wonderful results. His warmth, wit, and hospitality are an integral part of the group, setting the participants at ease, and creating an atmosphere of safe camaraderie." - Alan Powitz

"Upon meeting Mitch and the other Wisdom Circle participants, I felt that I was reconnecting with people I had met before. Sharing and hearing our stories brought tears to my eyes and laughter from my heart. In the Wisdom Circle, we were connected in our common experiences of grief at our mothers' death, the insecurity with using Another Tongue as a Second Language, and the power of carrying a strong voice and presence in response to imminent danger. The following morning I shed tears of loss and love as my story continued to grow in the meditation hall of the Tibetan Buddhist Monastery on Overlook Mountain that sits above the cottage where the Wisdom Circle grows. As I headed home along winding roads of Woodstock, Paul Simon shared with me his Mother and Child Reunion, a story sure to be right at home in our Wisdom Circle." - Fred Szczesiul

What story will you tell.jpg

To continue the conversation:
Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling at Work

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at July 24, 2019 06:10 PM

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Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

Order the book:

Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
Do you want to know more about the book before buying it? Click here for Mitch's response to frequently asked questions about Storytelling at Work – the perfect book for people who think they have no time to read.
The Workshop
Storytelling is an "unconscious competency" – an ability we all have that all too often remains inaccessible to us. Enter the Storytelling at Work workshop – a simple way to activate this powerful, innate skill.
Wisdom Circles
Want to establish a culture of storytelling in your organization or community? Looking for a simple way to help people to share their meaningful, memorable stories with each other? Here's how.
Podcasts & Videos
Click here to view and listen to a series of interviews with the author of this blog. Go beyond the written word. Listen. Feel. Elevate the conversation. Understand what the big deal is about personal storytelling.
Blogs 'R Us
If you like this blog, you might also like Mitch's other two blogs: The Heart of Innovation and The Heart of the Matter. Mitch is also a regular contributor to the Huffington Post.
Idea Champions
When Mitch isn't writing, he's captaining the good ship Idea Champions, a leading edge innovation consulting and training company based in Woodstock, NY. What their clients say.