For an updated Circling leader format click here.
I don’t consider myself in any way qualified to train circling leaders, but this is a 10-minute circling group format introduction, which I hope will be useful to people with experience in Circling and want to try running a group. It emerged out of a conversation with one of my developmental partners, who was asking for a group format. I want to do a re-take on this (a few things I would say differently), but it’s good enough for now. Enjoy!
A few changes I propose in the re-take:
1) “circling is a deep connection practice” — circling is a practice of un-withheld present-moment connection to self and others. Fundamentally it is learning how to express truth with care. Or care with truth
2) “Practices that are known to break connection”: advice-giving, coaching, therapizing, EXCESSIVE STORY-TELLING…
3) “decide in advance to run a birthday or organic circle”. I would probe the group after the warm-up. But quickly: “Close your eyes and feel into yourself. Then raise your hand if you would like to get the entire group attention for 10 or 15 minutes” [pause, and then decide]. I think it would work well to do one or two short birthday circles followed by organic. That would actually be my preferred format.
4) “Circling is the deep-dive version of A/R”. Not exactly. A/R games can go very deep as well. It’s just a different flavor. Pepsi or Coke.
5) Provide historical context at the very beginning: “circling is part of a rapidly-growing global movement called Authentic Relating…”. Help them to understand upfront that this is not just some new-agey change modality (a new-and-improved encounter group), it is a global movement for creating a better world
6) In the introduction, as well, start with some personal impact: “I have been circling just over a year and it has showed me many things about myself that I did not even know about (and that were problems for other people, I call it “recovering asshole”), AND it has connected me to a worldwide community and made me many friends”. Or whatever
7) The rule is “whatever makes you feel good” — whatever makes you feel MORE ALIVE AND MORE CONNECTED TO OTHER PEOPLE, EVEN WHEN SHARING THINGS THAT MIGHT BE PAINFUL TO YOU