Stringing the Beads

Why the name – Stringing the Beads?

Necklace Image:
Each human is viewed as a unique and beautiful bead.

As each person speaks, the talking piece goes around the circle and becomes the energetic “needle” carrying the thread of connection from person to person, “Stringing” the Beads together into a complete necklace and an energetic whole.

The talking piece and our words are the thread of connection that create the larger fabric, the “We”. Much like a shuttle moves back and forth in a loom connecting/expanding/transforming the “independent” strings into a woven fabric that contains the beauty of each thread and creates a larger beauty.

Items Needed to String the Beads
A talking stick (a smooth piece of wood), stone or any special item at hand)
A box of tissues (Emotions are often expressed.)
Cell phone or clock for timing (if needed)
Drum or Tibetan bells for timing (if needed)
Sit in a circle if at all possible. (It is important for everyone to be able to see everyone else who is in the circle.)
Create a simple center or altar using a candle, flowers or item of beauty as the center of the circle.
Or… imagine yourselves sitting in a circle with a fire or candle in the center.
Create a safe, sacred/non-threatening ceremonial space, focus upon beauty.


•  Never try to get people to do anything before they are connected.
•  The whole is always wiser than the sum of its parts.
•  Humans seek to simultaneously belong and retain their individual freedom.
•  All life is related.
•  All life is interdependent
•  STBs is a way of awakening the field of relationship that holds us all..

Taking the People Into Our Hands

In order for people to “relax”, they need to know they are cared for. That someone knows what they are doing and is “in charge” and that this is an environment they can trust.

Seeing wherever we are meeting as “alive space” with a consciousness of its own. One that fosters a certain kind of consciousness – a forest and a meeting room with no windows tend to foster different kinds of consciousness and ways of being.

Caring for people is important. That old Hallmark Cards saying of “When you Care Enough to Send the very Best.” When you care enough to spend time creating a loving, harmonious, coherent environment in which the people can gather, it makes a huge difference.

People are impacted in positive ways by beauty and a sense of being cared for.

Human elements:
Body, Emotion, Mind and Spirit
Caring for all of these

Body: Comfortable chairs and soft lighting, a sense of safety.

Emotion: Meeting people wherever they are, encouraging them to be present and set other concerns “aside” for now.
Honoring whatever emotions are present and not getting caught or stuck there. Not moving in to “rescue” people if they become emotional. Simply holding them energetically and trusting they will find their way.

Mind: Answer any questions the people may have before you begin.
Clarity about what’s going to happen so that the mind can relax.

Spirit: Creating beauty, choosing as beautiful a place as possible in which to meet and/or bringing beauty into wherever one meets. Having something that speaks to spirit (and the rest of us) – a candle, water, flowers. Beauty in any form.

Overall Guidance

You as the guide are a resonant tuning fork – sounding harmonious resonance into which the people step. Stringing the Beads is a way of being together, not a “technique”. How we hold it in our own minds makes a huge difference.

Really “grokking” and embodying what it means to take people into our hands – rather than focusing upon remembering a bunch of words.

(as our teachers always used to remind us)

Steps to Remember in Stringing the Beads

1) Describe the process of Stringing the Beads.

We often describe it as an old practice that allows each voice to speak from the deeper places of the heart, without interruption.  Focus upon the desire to hear everyone and understand what matters to them or is important to them right now.

“Everything under the sky has a voice to speak with and Wisdom to share.”  (Old Blackfoot saying.)

2) Explain why it is called Stringing the Beads

3) Protocol/Steps in Stringing the Beads

I am…
Speak from the heart…
I have spoken.

a. The talking stick moves clockwise around the circle.  The person with the talking stick speaks and the others in the circle listen as s/he speaks.

b. Whomever has the talking stick, always begins by speaking their name: “I am…“  Speaking the name is a signal to the self that we are moving from ordinary time to sacred time, from linear to nonlinear timeless time.  It also helps create the sense of safety and structure that encourage people to go deeper in their sharing.

c. Next, the person speaking speaks to their present condition (whatever it is that is on their mind that needs to be spoken in order to allow them to be more present in the circle.  This is usually just a few words.)

d. And then s/he speaks their words from their heart around whatever the focus of the circle is to be). When they are complete, they say “I have spoken.”  (That lets everyone know they are complete and not simply pausing to reflect upon what they wish to say next.)

e. The others in the circle respond by saying “ho” – (which is a way of acknowledging that we have heard your words).  It is never about whether I agree with you or disagree with you or like you or don’t like you. It is simply about truly listening to someone and receiving their words as well as discovering what is moving in the larger circle of people who have gathered.

f. No one is required to speak if they do not wish to do so.  Remaining silent is always honored and respected.

g. If people are not ready to speak when the talking stick comes to them, they may simply say “I pass for now.” And then when the others have spoken, the talking stick comes back to them and they then have the opportunity to speak (or not).

h. Stringing the Beads largely involves listening to one another at a deep level from a desire to hear and understand what is moving in another’s life.

i. Making comments or remarks while another is speaking is not done. Doing so influences what s/he chooses to say, The want or desire is to hear what is truly moving in another’s life/heart/being.

j. If someone is “minding the time” in terms of how long each person speaks, let the circle know before you begin that each person has “x” amount of time to speak after which a drum beat or bell will sound to let them know that their time is up.  And that they need to bring their “bead” to a gracious completion, i.e. complete whatever it is they were in the middle of saying when the drum sounded.  This requires discernment from whomever is “minding the time” for the circle.  Usually, we give people at least 3 minutes to speak.

4)  Possible topics as a focus for Stringing the Beads

1)   What is moving in my life that matters to me?
2)   What am I wrestling with in my life that I am ready to share with you now?
3)   What am I excited about in my life?
4)   What is life saying to me right now?
5)   What is my biggest challenge in life right now?
6)   What has been the favorite time in my life so far and why?
7)  What is moving in my heart today?
8)  What is life trying to teach me at this time of my life?
9)  What am I grateful for in my life?
10)  What is the question, which if I had the answer to, would set me free?

5) Choose a focus question that encourages speaking from the heart.

“What do you think about ….?” will automatically cause people to go to their minds.
“What feelings come up for you when…?” will encourage people to go to their hearts.
If you are in doubt about this, simply form a focus question and ask yourself the question
and then see which gets engaged first in responding – your heart or your mind.

Other Thoughts

Approach the whole process with a lightness of heart and excitement at being able to hear from everyone.
Know that speaking in front of others is easy for some and difficult and frightening for others.

Over time, in family situations, children will become interested in Stringing their Beads in the circle as well. Usually it begins with them finding the courage to hold the talking stick in their hand and say their name. That’s a huge step and is to be celebrated by the circle!
Know that as the talking stick goes around the circle, people will tend to speak for longer and longer periods of time. When people are speaking, their sense of time often goes out the window so reminders are helpful.

Having someone whose is responsible for “Minding the Time” can be helpful and needed in larger groups. Typically, we try to give people at least 3-4 minutes to speak and if the group is smaller, then more time can be given to each person. However, having a limited amount of time to speak helps focus the mind. Using a Tibetan bell or a drum beat to signal to the person speaking that their time is up, is helpful.

Follow the Protocol. People need the safety of structure in order to trust and go deep. Structure often has a bad rap in our culture as we equate it with control and fixedness rather than as a scaffolding for the Light of The Divine to gather around and in.

Original Painting by WhiteLightning Dove