Our philosophy is grounded in the values and principles of diverse wisdom traditions, philosophical traditions and restorative practices. For us, the work that we do is an extension of a way of being that we seek to embody personally. We also believe that there are universal truths that supersede our own individual experiences and we are active seekers of what we do not know – which is a lot!
We are guided by the contemplative traditions of Vedanta, Buddhism, Christianity, Daoism, Sufism; the philosophy of Plato, and Aristotle and the Stoic tradition of Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Seneca the Younger, and Zeno. We honour the ancient wisdom and customs of Indigenous, African and Aboriginal traditions throughout the world. We acknowledge with deep respect, that our business is based in K’jipuktuk (Halifax) in unceded Mi’kmaw territory. As the descendants of settlers, we commit ourselves to our responsibilities and seek to uphold the spirit and intention of Peace and Friendship Treaties in all that we do.
Restorative Practices is a multi-disciplinary social science that seeks to build healthy connections between people by repairing harm and nurturing relationships. When we experience difficulties in our families, in workplaces and schools, and in our communities, weak or broken relationships between people are often the root cause. Restorative practices are not a new discovery or innovation. The key learning and practices conveyed by the approach are rooted in the wisdom traditions of Indigenous and Aboriginal people throughout the world. These ancient and customary approaches, along with accompanying technologies such as circle processes and rituals, stress the interconnection of human beings and also the natural world. Elders and wise people across traditions knew and experienced that harmony in all aspects of the human experience- individual, family, communal, societal and environmental – could only be maintained if we continually work to renew and repair our connections and relationships.
We therefore are deliberate about nurturing respectful and strong relationships in any given situation. We work to build communication, good feelings and trust between people. We value authentic human exchange. We utilize key learning from research in many fields such as human emotion, neurobiology, psychology, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and alternative dispute resolution to help create the optimum conditions for a strong relationship. Optimum conditions often include participatory, fair and inclusive processes. We use and honour structures, processes, and tools that are deliberate about creating opportunities for people to “stand in each other’s shoes” and learn each other’s story. We value empathy and its power to transform our society for the better.
Storytelling and personal narrative is as vital in modern settings as it was our ancestors. It creates space for empathy and understanding to arise between people. ARC believes that if we share our stories, we can provoke synergy between people, organizations, systems and structures no matter how different they are. And we are all stronger and better for it.