“You don’t need to get what you want if you can express what you want” – Strephon Kaplan-Williams
This page summarizes the purpose, logistics and guidelines for Developmental Circling (DC). Groups are forming now. If you want to join a group, either come to an introduction or book a 20-30 minute get-acquainted call with me. If you are looking for a high-level description of DC and the different processes, see here.
What is the purpose of Developmental Circling?
To make deep changes in our lives, and to grow in wisdom and discernment as relational leaders, we need ongoing support from people who know us. If you are reading this, you probably know that Authentic Relating practices are extremely powerful for creating connection, and from there transformation. The problem, is that authenticity is scary and A/R can be triggering. Ironically, it is by moving through the inevitable triggers and metabolizing those lessons, that real growth is achieved.
Developmental Circling happens in small, closed groups of people who are committed to their own development, and to the development of the group as a whole. It is also (usually) very fun.
- Meetings are weekly for 90 to 105 minutes (depending on the size of the group), and are usually limited to 6 people plus the leader. Group timings are set by the groups preferences, and are optimized for North America day/evening, European afternoon and evening, and Australia / New Zealand morning times.
- DC happens in closed, committed, invitation-only groups. At the beginning of each month you will be asked to renew your commitment to 4 sessions, or not. We don’t accept drop-ins.
- You should not join if you cannot commit to participating in most of the sessions. One-off absences are okay, but please communicate.
- Groups are by donation and charged at the beginning of each month. Suggested donation is $15/session ($60/month), but if you can only afford $20/mth, apply anyway. If you are paying the minimum amount, please re-think your monthly contribution periodically depending on your circumstances.
- If a meeting occurs on a major holiday, it is skipped.
- After 12 sessions the group may opt to “breakaway” (become independent), but many groups go on for years. 12 weeks is a good set-point because it is the average time that it takes for a new group to deeply drop-in, and/or for people with no prior experience to become skilled in circling.
- If you want to enroll your own group and just use me to kickoff the first 4-12 sessions, write to me.
“Trust that people move towards wholeness, and we just have to follow” — Alexis Shepperd
DC inherits all the principles and practices of traditional circling, except that we pay more attention to time constraints, we ask for everyone’s voice in each round (specifically in check-ins, the aliveness round, and check-outs), and we encourage the exploration of developmental goals, be they personal or business-related.
- We make the best attempt possible to show up with truth and care in all our relationships, in and out of the circle. These two dimensions need to be balanced. High-truth and low-care is called being an asshole, whereas high-care and low-truth is co-dependence. In DC we like to push our own and each other’s edges a bit more than in traditional circling, but this must be balanced with care and vulnerability.
- The invitation in all circling is to practice relational leadership, but this invitation is especially valued in DC. Leadership in circling, is done by demonstrating empathy and vulnerability.
- “Own your experience”. What this means is although it may appear that someone is doing something that is upsetting you, ultimately the fact of your being upset reveals something about you, most probably some developmental trauma, and hence is an opportunity for growth. Note that most people are not able to immediately see this or metabolize trauma the moment it occurs, our initial human reaction is almost always to blame others for our distress, and to distance, defend or counter-attack. The Circling commitment is to stay in connection to whatever extent possible. This provides the most fertile environment for growth, whatever side of the triggering you are on.
- Coaching, story-telling, even advice-giving are permissible in DC, provided they are wanted by the circlee (the person currently being circled). However, there is a shared agreement to return to in-the-moment presence and feeling-processing if tension occurs. This “circling consciousness” is the root context of DC.
- Finally, remember that usually people just need to be witnessed, or given space. This can be done silently or non-verbally, so if you do nothing but that, you will be fine. When in doubt, do nothing. Circling is more of a presence practice than a “technique” or a communication model, such as NVC.