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.

The Clearness Committee is a central component of my new Creative Clarity weekend workshop (coming up on the 9th and 10th December in Bristol). This blog is to introduce you to the delights of the Clearness Committee and to explain how the Clearness training will integrate into the 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. 

During that week, Penny Williamson introduced us to the simple yet potent structure known as the Clearness Committee. 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.” 

The Clearness Committee supports small groups of people to support each other to find their own inner guides or teachers, by:

  • listening in silence
  • asking honest open questions
  • mirroring back what they’ve seen and heard
  • celebrating and savouring 
  • During the Creative Clarity weekend, we’ll explore all of those components in depth, playfully, experientially, with our curiosity wide open. 

What I love about The Clearness Commitee

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. What I love most about it, is the magic that happens when you give someone compassionate attention and space to not know. It’s really taught me how to sit with people in the unknowing 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. 

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 in their inquiry. This means you get many perspectives as a focus person and lots of support as a supporter.

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.

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.

How Will It Integrate Into The Creative Clarity Weekend?

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

Dates: 9th and 10th December 2023

Times: Saturday and Sunday 9.45am-6pm

Venue: St Werburghs, Bristol (more details after booking is confirmed)

Cost: £160 (supporter) / £120 (standard) / £80 (supported)

Deadline for applications: 10th November 2023

Read More about the Creative Clarity weekend here.

Application form here.

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