What We Believe

The True Self in Everyone is Good, Wise, and Powerful

We believe that everyone has a “core” or “true” self that is good, wise, powerful, and always present. The core self remains this way no matter what has happened to a person in the past or what they may have done in the past. This model of self-distinguishes between doing and being—what we do, how we behave, or how we feel is not the whole of who we are. Helping people tune into the goodness and wisdom of their core self is the first step toward re-aligning behavior with this deeper self.

The World is Profoundly Interconnected

We may not always be aware of the impact of our actions on others, but we must eventually realize that our actions have consequences. In our human relationships, we are profoundly interconnected—each of us is fundamentally a part of the whole. Traditional African society uses the term “ubuntu” to express this idea. It means: “I am because we are.” This principle reminds us that there are no throwaway kids or people in this world. By excluding someone based on age, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class or behavior, we do harm to them and to ourselves and to the very fabric of our community. Because we are all connected, what we do to others is also what we do to ourselves.

All Human Beings Have a Deep Desire to Be in Good Relationships

We believe that all people want to love, to be loved and be respected. Their behavior may not reflect this desire especially when they have not been loved and respected by others. But we believe all human beings, at their core, have a desire to be in good relationships with others. In our culture, we have a tendency to focus on the bad sides of human conduct. Now, more than ever, we have a great need to remember the overwhelming fact of human goodness.

All Humans Have Gifts and Everyone is Needed For What They Bring

We believe that, in human societies, all gifts are indispensable to the well-being of the whole. Diversity is the source of strength, and interdependence is essential for survival. Different people are needed because different people see and do things differently. We require the contribution of diverse talents, personalities, and perspectives to build thriving communities and find creative and innovative solutions to meeting all our needs.

Everything We Need to Make Positive Change is Already Here

We believe that everything we need to make positive change is already here. This is true because human creativity and human commitment are our greatest treasure and our greatest hope. We believe our communities hold rich reservoirs of talent, wisdom, and creative energy that are waiting to be accessed. We need to learn how to tap into these human resources. By doing so, we liberate the potential of our collective will to create the world we desire.

Human Beings are Holistic

The restorative practices we use draw on all parts of ourselves: our intellect, emotions, spirit, and body through art, storytelling, music, and movement. Human experience has mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions, therefore our bodies, emotions, and spirits are in all that we do.

We Need Practices to Build Habits of Living From the Core Self

The next section on “Practices” offers many time-tested means to reconnect with our healthy core self. The peacemaking circle, mindfulness training, and emotional literacy exercises all introduce practices that help feed “the good wolf” in all of us.