In culling these out, I'm looking at the degree to which what we're doing is restorative and then asking, what is/is not there? The idea (also first inspired by Dominic Barter) is that the degree to which any one of these is absent, whatever we're doing is that much less likely to be restorative. And likewise, the more they are present, the more restorative whatever we're doing is likely to be.
Right now, I'm working with six principles: inclusion, voluntariness, mutual comprehension, self-responsibility, shared power, and interdependence.
The first two, inclusion and voluntariness, I've heard about from multiple sources in the RJ field. In my experience, I've found them to be critical aspects of any restorative process, including how we live together in every day life with or without conflict. In the Restorative Circle process to address conflict, developed by Dominic Barter in Brazil beginning in the 1990's ("RC") , I see them right from the beginning and throughout. For example, in the "Pre-Circle" everyone is asked who needs to be there, and throughout the process, no one is forced to participate.
The three terms mutual comprehension, self-responsibility, and shared power come from specifically from the words used to describe the phases of the RC. The idea, as I understand it, is that we want to begin to restore connection by understanding each other, take responsibility for ourselves by looking into and sharing what we were looking for when we did whatever we did, and then share power through making decisions together about what we'd like to do going forward.
The sixth, interdependence is a state of being, which is sometimes remembered and sometimes not. I'm thinking it less as a principle and more of an overarching experience that we are always having and that restorative process supports us to remember (re + member, put it back together, yes?). One thing I'm wondering is if conflict by its nature is simply a state of dismembered consciousness of interdependence? (Hm. When I started writing I thought this might be more straightfroward to express, but there it is, such as it is.) Which is really OK, actually. Sometimes we get to Kiss the Hag to remember how much we love Her ;)
Writing this out in linear fashion, (with words in lines!) doesn't fully express it, because all of the principles inform each other, no? Just as when we move through conflict the phases don't follow each other in linear fashion. Indeed, when I try to draw it out, I think a circle (duh) or a five pointed star may more accurately represent it. i'm working on it ;)
I want to add that as wordy as all of what I just tried to express is (reflecting the challenge and depth of what it might take to understand this and live it) and the limitation of words and lines, I do find that having a list of these six principles in my head is really useful for when I feel the need to check into what's going on - when I'm looking to open up something that feels constricted in a process.
So, if any of you are doing that, considering and developing a list or some other way to frame this, will you let me know how that's going? And if you run discover another principle. will you share it with me?