What Is The Clearness Committee?

Oct 25 2023

Holly Stoppit
Image credit: Photo description: 3 women with paper badges, flags and a fascinator, with the words “Good Girl” written on them. Photographer: Aisha Ali / taken during a Clearness day, as the group celebrated their inner Good Girls.

This blog is to introduce you to the delights of the Clearness Committee and to explain how this simple yet potent group inquiry structure integrates into the Creative Clarity weekend.

I first came across the Clearness Committee way back in June 2018 during a weeklong residential ‘Clowning and Clearness’ retreat at Emerson College, led by Penny Williamson and Vivian Gladwell. Penny has been a long-term student of Parker J Palmer, who developed The Clearness Committee as part of his Courage and Renewal programme. But it is nothing new! Parker explains on his website that the roots of the Clearness Committee are deep in the Quaker tradition: 

“From their beginnings over three hundred years ago, Quakers needed a way to draw on both inner and communal resources to deal with personal problems because they had no clerical leaders to “solve” their problems for them. The Clearness Committee is testimony to the fact that there are no external authorities on life’s deepest issues, not clergy or therapists or scholars; there is only the authority that lies within each of us waiting to be heard.” 

I have been sharing The Clearness Committee with groups of friends and peers for the last 5 years and it also made its way into The Well-Held Space facilitator training.

How It Works

The Clearness Committee is a collaborative process, where small groups of 3 or 4 people take turns to take the focus. The other group members then work together as an ensemble to support the focus person to find their inner guide by: 

  • listening in silence
  • asking honest open questions
  • mirroring back what they’ve seen and heard
  • celebrating and savouring 

What I love about The Clearness Committee

What I love most about it, is the magic that happens when you give someone compassionate attention and space to not know. It has really taught me how to sit with people in the Not Knowing and to trust them to find their own answers.

It has been a practice to come out of habitual responses; i.e advising, fixing, consoling, saving, etc, but the quality of the connection and the discoveries that are made through offering this kind of open space, are nothing short of awesome.

The Clearness Committee is not coaching and it’s not therapy, it’s more about connecting with people where they are, through your own compassion and curiosity, and helping them to open up their understanding of themselves and their world. 

You can use the Clearness Committee for absolutely anything! You can ask questions about your work, relationships, future direction, home, or whatever you’d like to shed more light on.

How Will It Integrate Into The Creative Clarity Weekend?

I have been developing The Clearness Committee to include more play, physicality and ritual, because those are the things that work for me! My version employs the use of images, metaphors, body sensations and movement, to help people discover more about what’s true for them.

The Clearness Committee training will be integrated with movement exploration, meditation, and various creative activities for pairs, groups and individuals, all designed to help people find different ways to connect with their inner guides. 

All invitations will be optional and/or adaptable, allowing each individual to find their own way to connect with the activities on offer.

I am hoping that you’ll come out of the weekend with some clear insight and some wonderful inquiry techniques that you can use again and again.

Live Workshop Dates

In Bristol: 3rd and 4th February 9.45am-6pm  

Deadline for applications: 5th January

In Cardiff: 17th and 18th February 9.45am-6pm

Deadline for applications: 19th January

More info / application forms here

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