How often do you get to just be who you are and feel what you feel in the moment, while being fully welcomed, seen and accepted by others? How often do you get to peek into the world of another, sharing how they impact you and really feeling into what life is like for them? When in our lives do we get to experience the deep truth that real change can only happen when the current situation or feeling is totally accepted? In what situations do you experience true intimacy with your partner, children or friends, let alone relative strangers?
Every person you ask will give you a different definition of what Circling is. Here is one short attempt. In Circling or Authentic Relating, we come together to practice a simple yet profound meditation-in-relation. It is touching more and more people, and building strong intentional communities of men and women that want to be nourished by true connection. During workshops, people express experiencing a profound depth of intimacy, feeling seen, accepted, loved and supported, being blown open, being able to stay with the intensity of their emotions, gaining insights and feeling inexplicable trust in the people that were unknown to them just hours before.
It is hard to explain why Circling has such a deep impact: it is one of those things that ‘just’ needs to be experienced. And although every circle is different, there are skills we can learn and practice together to train our muscles of awareness and presence, our ability to stay in the moment, and in connection, in beautiful and in uncomfortable or even painful situations.
What is Circling not?
One of the most sure-fire ways to have people not feel seen or heard is to assume things about their experience and then give them advice. One of the most sure-fire ways to make sure people are not that interested in and engaged with you is to tell them stories that take you out of the here and now and present a mentally constructed explanation of that previous experience. In Circling, we are only interested in what is alive for you right now. And we don’t want to know so we can give you better advice, but so we can better understand what it is like to be you. Circling is not therapy, although it can have therapeutic effects. We are not trying to change anything, we are just curious about what is true for you in this moment, in connection with us.
As more and more people experience the practice of Circling, and realise how simple and profound it is, the desire for immersive workshops and regular practice groups is growing. Experience with meditation and personal development is not a requirement, just the intention of having an open heart and mind.
Below you can find more information about the typical elements of each type of workshop.
Before diving deep into a full Circling weekend, you can have a taste of what it’s like in our open evening introduction workshops. On a single evening you get to know us and the Circling practice, for a small investment of your time and money.
Like during practice groups, we do pair exercises and if possible short circles, with more emphasis on explaining the ‘languaging’ of your experience. Not much explanation is necessary; we’ll dive in pretty quickly to see what comes up.
Days and Weekends are a great opportunity to experience the full effect of Circling. You might well get blown open in ways you hadn’t imagined. Or you’ll gain a fresh perspective on a stuck issue, or find new depths of trust and beauty in yourself and others.
A typical workshop consists of
- Welcome and program, ground rules, ‘checking in’
- Exercises to get used to tuning into your awareness and expressing what is alive for you
- ‘Birthday Circles’ where each participant gets the full attention of a small group for 45 minutes
- Sharing insights and questions in the main group throughout the workshop
- Other practices that involve presence and authentic expression (movement, voice work, meditations, touch)
- Integration session on how to use your new insights in daily life
- Closing and aftercare
Of course all of the workshop elements are optional; you are invited to take care of yourself and keep your boundaries, while gently challenging yourself to explore as well. This is ‘adult play’!
A big part of the reason why we give Circling workshops is so that people can experience more depth and connection in their day-to-day lives. Afetr a workshop, the new skills may fade to the background while old patterns take hold again. Unless you keep practicing them. Practice Groups are a great way to extend and consolidate your Circling experience. Since it is a simple, but not an easy practice, some assistance when starting your own group will prevent you from common pit falls that can derail the practice. We will gladly assist you on an ad hoc or regular basis.
During these evenings we will do pair exercises and short Circles, e.g. in triads. The pair exercises will have a familiar format, but each time you do them, they will be very different: this is a new, unique moment in time and space. We can also go into more detail around core principles of Circling, like trusting and ‘owning’ your experience.