Start Your Circle

Buddha-Pond-300x199The Launch Toolkit

Our CirclesWork! Launch Toolkit offers you the basic resources for starting a circle in your own community. Our Circle Tools for Cooperative Work provide you with the tools you need for successful, ongoing interactions with a group gathering for any purpose, to deal with the problems that often derail groups after the enthusiasm of initial meetings has waned and to maximize the possibilities for your group’s success.

For more detailed help and for ongoing group tools, see How Circles Work: A Guide for Starting and Sustaining Circles, Tools for Cooperative Work and other Resources.

For ongoing support and training, join us for our twice-monthly Circle Forums.

Circles Launch Toolkit

  • CirclesWork! has developed six Tools for Cooperative Work, that provide the fundamental structure for every circle gathering. The basic tools are:

    • Center Our Wisdom

    • Share Leadership

    • Check In

    • Do the Work in Circle

    • Clear the Air

    • Voice Appreciations and Complete the Circle

    • Center our Wisdom
    (Led by Centering Guardian))

    Centering reminds us we are here for everyone’s benefit.

    Place a lovely object from nature in the center (flowers, shell, stone), read words of wisdom, a poem, or simply share a minute or so of silence.

    • Share Leadership
    (Everyone plays a role each session)

    Shared leadership supports the development of everyone’s leadership. The diverse and complimentary skills within the circle are valued for governing the circle. Everyone is needed.

    Role Selection: Roles are rotated each session and are filled on a volunteer basis (Led by Volunteer/ or Centering Guardian, until Facilitator Role is filled by volunteer.)

    Facilitator – Responsible for the flow of the group though the six steps.

    Guardians – Use all their senses/intuitions to support emotion health of the CIRCLE. Multiple members play this role.

    Centering Guardian – Responsible for opening and closing the circle.

    Timekeeper – Responsible for maintaining all agreed upon time frames. Recorder/Reporter – Uses charts and notations in their Circle Member Guide to track circle findings.

    Announcements: Members share information that is of interest to circle members (e.g. status of an absent member)

    • Check In:
    (Everyone checks-in. Facilitator leads.)

    Check In:

    Each CIRCLE member briefly describes his/her current emotional state; also includes any significant events currently impacting your life. Everyone’s voice is heard.

    Individual Time Request: Facilitator leads, Reporter charts

    A second Round to set Agenda with Timeframes; often stated as: What I need/request from this Circle is… (usually requested in minutes).

    • Do the Work in Circle:
    Can be a question for our inquiry and reflection, a shared topic for the circle, or problem solving: personal work time, or, project-focused discussion.

    Group Time: Circle supporting skills are identified and practiced. Additionally any circle projects are discussed/planned (e.g., circle celebration, community endeavor).

    Individual Time: Members can use their individual time any way they choose — they can share issues, talk about projects, talk just to vent or can ask for and receive advice. An important rule governs all circle advice. An easy way to remember the rule is: W.I.S.E. Advice.

    W: Willing: Is the member willing to listen to advice – alternatively they may just want to vent. A clarifying questions can help… “are you asking for advice?” If the receiver of the advice, says, “Yes, but…” they probably aren’t ready yet. At this point they just need to vent.
    I: Informed
    S: Successful: All advice needs to fit into one of the following three:
    It must be advice you have personally tried and been successful with.
    Or, it must be advice you have personally seen work with a significant other.
    Or, it must be advice you have been given from CirclesWork!
    E: Empathy: Is the advice you are giving kindly presented? For a minute do you stop being yourself and instead walk in the other person’s “mocassins”?

    • Clear the Air:
    Centering Guardian leads

    Note: Clearing the air contains the few circle skills not directly transferable outside our circle. Recipients need awareness and skills to respond effectively. Without awareness and skills, feelings can easily be hurt. These skills are best learned in circle.

    Guardian or facilitator inquires for Unclear Feelings:

    “Susan, I have an unclear feeling, can I check it out with you?”

    Susan responds yes or no. If no, she sets a time/date in near future.

    “Can you come back to me in 5 minutes” or “Can we talk on the phone tomorrow?”

    Alternatively with a “yes” response:

    “Susan, I had an unclear feeling. I think I may have rushed you by asking you a question when I did. I had the thought you were still sharing with us what you already had tried.”

    Susan responds: “You are right. I feel like I pretty much shared what I wanted to.” She might finish with “Thank you for your sensitivity.”

    • Hunches/Intuitions/Fears:

    “Susan I have a hunch. May I check it out with you?”

    Susan responds yes or no. If no, she sets a time/date in near future.

    “Can you come back to me in 5 minutes” or “Can we talk on the phone tomorrow?”

    Alternatively with a “yes” response,

    “Susan, I have a hunch that you are not complete with the individual work you did tonight, and that you are feeling worried.”

    Susan responds: “I can agree there’s some truth to that.” Or, “I can validate the grain of truth in what you said. Mostly I am aware of feeling tired right now, but I’m pretty sure I an still worried and have more work to do on this issue.” She might finish with “Thank You!”

    • Gripes or Grumps, Requests:

    Susan, I have a grump. May I check it out with you?

    Susan responds yes or no. If no, she sets a time/date in near future.

    “Can you come back to me in 5 minutes?” Or “Can we talk on the phone tomorrow?”

    Alternatively with a “yes” response:

    “Susan, I have a grump. When you told me during my individual time, ‘I can’t believe you would let your kid talk to you that way,’ I felt embarrassed and shamed.”

    Susan does not reply verbally to a grump. She just listens. Note: Remember a grump is just a vent of feelings, and feelings are never wrong.

    • Appreciations and Circle Completion:
    Led by Facilitator and Centering Guardian

    Appreciations: Each member is encouraged to share a genuine appreciation. It can be for an individual, the group at large, or a self appreciation/ humble brag.

    Self Appreciation, Humble Brags: “Susan I have an appreciation for myself. I’m really proud that I committed to writing the guide, and I took it to completion.” Or “I enrolled in an Excel class.”

    For more about these tools, see How Circles Work: A Guide for Starting and Sustaining Circles.

  • Launch Agenda: Daylong Gathering Fundamentals

    You’ve got your group. You have set your daylong meeting date. Now what?

    THE PLACE Meet at one of your group member’s homes, or a public place, where it feels comfortable and you will not be interrupted by other people needing to use the space during the day. The meeting space should be equipped with:

    • Adequate seating for all members to sit in Circle. (Literally, sit in a Circle.)
    • Leave a 2′ x 2′ space in the center of the Circle for special items.
    • Have available drinking water and cups, table to place shared food, and accessible restrooms.
    • If desired, bring a stereo for dancing and to set the tone of your shared experience.

    PREPARATION You and your ally confirm the date, time, and location with all members of the TLC Circle. In preparation for the first gathering, you and your ally will collect special items to Center the Circle, like, candles, a scarf, flowers, or any other beautiful items. Invite each member to:

    • Bring a special item for the Circle Center. ☮
    • Contribute good food for the potluck lunch (ask participants about dietary restrictions; encourage people to make an ingredients list to share with their prepared dish).
    • Get the Guide: How Circles Work! A Guide for Starting and Sustaining Circles

    ☮ Individuals may bring items that are personally special to them like a photo of a beloved one, a totem animal, a musical instrument, or any other meaningful object. OVERVIEW: Six-part Circle Tools for Cooperative Work

    1. Center the Circle – Honor the sacred center of our Circle that is interconnected with all life.
    2. Set Shared Leadership roles for this gathering: Facilitator, Time Keeper, and Vibeswatcher.
    3. Check In – State your name, how you feel, what you want from this Circle.
    4. Do the Work in Circle – Work through your Circle’s agenda, observing the timeframes which balance attention to topics and balance member participation. (‘Doing the Work in Circle’ for your Circle Launch includes: setting the agreements, telling life stories, naming your Circle.)
    5. Clear the Air – Voice unresolved questions, needs, unclear and/or strong feelings, and feedback.
    6. Share Appreciations – Voice gratitude, appreciations, and joy. ‘May the Circle be open and yet unbroken, may the love of the Circle be ever in our hearts. Merry meet and merry part, and merry meet again.’

    Summary of the Circle Launch Agenda (10:00 am – 4:30 pm)

    This is a snapshot of the day. Please read the full agenda below for guidance and support.

    10:00 amGather at the appointed place.
    10:15 amCenter the Circle: light the candle(s), and share a favorite poem or reading.
    ≈ 10:20 amAsk a volunteer from the Circle to read the descriptions of the three Shared Leadership Roles: Facilitator, Timekeeper, and Vibeswatcher.
    10:25 amSet Shared Leadership Roles. It is recommended that the initiating pair will take the roles of Facilitator and Vibeswatcher, for the morning. Request a volunteer from the circle to be Timekeeper. In the afternoon, all leadership roles will be rotated.
    10:27 amCheck In: Moving clockwise, each person ‘checks in’ by sharing: her/his name, how he/she feels right now, and saying ‘100% of what I want from my Circle is…’ Each person takes 5 minutes.
    ≈ 11:20 amBio-break: use the restroom; stretch; cup of tea; or a dance…
    11:30 amSet the Confidentiality Agreement: What does confidentiality mean for our circle? Discuss and decide this question. Select the most conservative definition of confidentiality, respecting the full concerns of every member.
    12:15 pmPotluck lunch. Share food and be merry. Relax and get to know one another.1:15 pm Rotate Shared Leadership roles: Facilitator, Timekeeper, and Vibeswatcher.
    1:20 pmMy Life Sketch: 10 minutes per person to tell your story.
    2:30 pmStretch Break! Put on dance music and shake it out!
    2:40 pmContinue My Life Sketch: 10 minutes per person to tell your story.
    3:15 pmNaming our Circle. Do a popcorn brainstorm on possible names.
    3:25 pmFacilitator asks : ‘Are we ready to choose our name?’ to test for agreement.
    3:30 pmConfirm Circle name. Vibeswatcher: this is an excellent opportunity to use your heightened senses to observe the group and assure all voices are heard.
    3:33 pmDance Break! (Play one song on the stereo, get up and shake it!)
    3:38 pmDecide the length of future meetings and how often you gather in Circle.
    4:10 pmClear the Air and Voice Appreciations See CirclesWork! ‘Tools for Cooperative Work’ KEY HANDOUT.

    Launch Detailed Agenda: Daylong Gathering – Morning Session

    Suggested Timeframe (10:00 am – 4:30 pm)

    10:00 amGather at the appointed place. Invited members can place their special items in the Circle Center, which has been prepared by you. Everyone may wish to get a cup of water or tea during brief greetings.
    10:15 amCenter the Circle: share a favorite poem or reading, light a candle, or you may choose to observe a minute of silence, to feel yourselves fully present and connected.
    ≈ 10:20 am

    Ask a volunteer from the Circle to read aloud the four Shared Leadership Roles. Then everyone is asked to volunteer for a role.Facilitator: The Facilitator is responsible for the flow of the group through the 6 Steps to Circle from start to finish. Making sure each member gets his turn, and working with the Timekeeper and Guardians, are aspects of the Facilitator role. It’s a lot of responsibility and it needs to be shared by all the members on a rotating basis.

    Timekeeper: The Timekeeper is responsible for maintaining all agreed time frames. Noting the agenda with timeframes and s/he will providing warnings when the time is about up (at 5- or 1-minutes from ‘Time’s Up’) and signaling when time is expired. If the timeframes need to be renegotiated, the Timekeeper will test for consensus with all Circle members.

    Guardian: The Guardian uses all her/his senses and intuition throughout the entire Circle to support the emotional health of the group. S/he may pick up on any strong feelings or unclarity of any member in the circle. Guardians guide the circle through the Clearing the Air and Appreciations processes, and supporting members to speak their truth. Recorder-Reporter: Uses charts and notations to track circle decisions.

    10:25 amShared Leadership Roles. It is recommended that the originating pair will take the roles of Facilitator and Centering Guardian, for the morning. Request a volunteer from the circle to be Timekeeper. In the afternoon, all leadership roles will be rotated.

    Check In and Building Agreements

    Circle is a conscious unit of community where it’s safe to take risks, ask for 100% of what you want, to say and do what you feel and honor others’ truths. Circle is a place to become your best self.

    10:27 amCheck In: Moving clockwise, each person ‘checks in’ by sharing: her/his name, how he/she feels right now, and saying ‘100% of what I want from my circle is…’ Each person takes 5 minutes.
    ≈ 11:20 amBio-break: use the restroom; stretch; cup of tea; or a dance…
    11:30 am

    Set the Confidentiality Agreement: What does confidentiality mean for our circle? Discuss and decide this question. Select the most conservative definition of confidentiality, respecting the full concerns of every member. This agreement will serve for the first 3 months.

    Steps to build agreement:

    Circle Round 1: What does confidentiality mean to you?

    Round 2: What level of confidentiality do you want and need from our circle? NOTE: Vibeswatcher, this is an excellent opportunity to use your heightened senses to observe the group and assure all voices are heard.

    Round 3: Select the lowest common denominator definition of Confidentiality with which we can all feel comfortable, and check for agreement. Do you agree to uphold it? Review this agreement at your 3-month circle review.

    12:15 pmPotluck lunch. Share food and be merry. Relax and get to know one another.

    Afternoon Session

    1:15 pmRotate Shared Leadership roles: Facilitator, Timekeeper, and Vibeswatcher.
    1:20 pmMy Life Sketch: 10 minutes per person to tell your story (Timekeeper, be alert!)
    2:30 pmStretch Break! Put on dance music and shake it out!
    2:40 pmContinue My Life Sketch: 10 minutes per person to tell your story.
    3:15 pmNaming our Circle. Do a ‘popcorn’ brainstorm on possible names.
    3:25 pmTo test for agreement, Facilitator asks : ‘Are we ready to choose our name?’
    3:30 pmConfirm circle name. Vibeswatcher: this is an excellent opportunity to use your heightened senses to observe the group and assure all voices are heard.
    3:33 pmDance Break! (Play one song on the stereo, get up and shake it!)
    3:38 pmCome together to set your circle rhythm. At this time your group will decide the length of future meetings and how often you gather in circle. It is highly recommended that you meet weekly for the next three months. This is a critical bonding opportunity.

    Schedule Agreements: Most circles meet for between 2-3 hours. At this time your circle should decide how long each gathering will be and if you want to potluck every time. Jean Houston and Lauren Jinshil Oliver strongly recommend: ‘Eat well together, lest you starve alone!’ Ideal scenario: Meet weekly, for the next three months. Learn and use the CirclesWork! framework, with rotating Shared Leadership. Practice the Circle Tools. Do your work in circle. At the 3-month Circle Review and Celebration, inquire: Do you need to modify your level of confidentiality? Do you need other agreements? Other circle practices? Do you want to continue meeting weekly?

    Launch Agenda: Clearing the Air and Appreciations

    CirclesWork! Tools for Cooperative Work create emotional safety and sustainability within the circle. Keep the circle a place of respect for all, with plenty of room for others’ differences.

    4:10 pmClear the Air: CirclesWork! offers six Tools for Cooperative Work. For the Circle Launch, two tools will be practiced in this circle: Unclear Feelings and Appreciations. At each subsequent meeting, one more Tool for Cooperative Work will be introduced for use. Practicing Clear the Air in circle assures we do not carry away unresolved or unexpressed strong feelings. We honor one another and ourselves in the circle, by acknowledging and leaving in the circle that which belongs in circle. Clear things in a timely manner: directly with the relevant person or persons; using ‘I’ statements; to acknowledge and be accountable. Complete with genuine appreciations. When giving and receiving unclear feelings and appreciations, we always ask permission of the recipient, and wait for a response. Asking permission is like knocking on the door before we enter or, in this case, offering feedback to the recipient. It is important for us to signal our intention to the other and wait for his/her readiness to receive.(See sample scripts below.)
    4:28 pmComplete the Circle: Stand together, join in song, and complete the ritual by blowing out the candle(s) and wishing one another well. ‘May the Circle be open and yet unbroken…’

    SAMPLE SCRIPTS: Clarify Unclear Feelings and Clearing the Air

    • Clarify Unclear Feelings

    A: ‘____________ (name of recipient), may I clear an Unclear Feeling?’ WAIT FOR RESPONSE. (It is ok to say, ‘No, I’m not ready now. Can we arrange a time soon for me to hear you?’ This gives everyone the opportunity to preserve their boundaries, as needed.)

    B: ‘Yes, I can hear you’ — Once the recipient acknowledges and accepts your request, proceed.

    A: ‘When I did ____________ (behavior), did you feel/think ____________?’ EXAMPLE: ‘When I raised my hand to speak, did that feel too formal? What will work for attention requests in our Circle?’ OR, ‘You asked me a question; did you feel I fully answered your question?’

    • Give Appreciations, Recognition and Self-Appreciations

    A: ‘____________ (name), can you hear my appreciation?’ WAIT FOR RESPONSE.

    B: ‘Yes, I am all ears.’

    A: ‘____________, I so admired the story you shared about your contributions to the children you teach. I feel inspired to become more involved in the school.’

    B: The recipient does not reply verbally, to leave space to take in the appreciation fully.

     

  • Download a PDF copy to print: circleswork-recorder-sheet

    Recorder-Reporter Sheet

    Date _________

    Name of your circle _______________________________________

    Gathering location __________________________

    Recorder-Reporter’s Name _________________________

    Names of People Present: _________________________________________________________________

    Rotating Leadership Roles for Today:

    Name of Centering Guardian _________________________

    Facilitator ______________________

    Guardians __________________________

    Timekeeper__________________

    Plan next week:

    Location _________________________________

    Name of Centering Guardian? ___________________

    Guardian asks: Let’s do a quick Clear the Air. Are there any strong feelings held from last week? Check In: Moving clockwise, each person “checks in” by sharing: his/her name and how s/he feels right now. Each person should take the same amount of time, as decided by your Circle (e.g. 3 minutes each).

    2nd Circle Round, Time Request:

    This Circle Round every person asks for 100% of what they want from this gathering. (e.g. “I would like 20 minutes to focus on my Community Mural project.”) State what you want and how long it will take.

    Name — Issue/Project — Minutes requested

    1. ____________________ __________________ ________

    2. ____________________ __________________ ________

    3. ____________________ __________________ ________

    4. ____________________ __________________ ________

    5. ____________________ __________________ ________

    6. ____________________ __________________ ________

    7. ____________________ __________________ ________

    If there are more people who want time, continue the list on back. Everyone asks for 100% of the time they want; then we negotiate as a group. Together, we have enough.

    Learnings/Insights/Agreements:

     

     

     

    Completing the Circle:

    Share a minute of silence.

    Then Guardian leads us through Clearing the Air, step by step:

    – Unclear Feelings and Unfinished Business

    – Hunches

    – Gripes or Grumps

    – Requests and Needs Complete with Appreciations and Self-Appreciations/Humble Brags and a Symbolic Close of Circle.

  • CirclesWork! Leadership Roles

    We are making a culture shift in leadership, a move away from top-down, hierarchical, “strong arming” or “expert” leaders to egalitarian diverse leadership – a framework Dr. Jean Houston describes as “circular co-investedness”. Rotating Leadership is an effective form of circle governance/management.

    Often, when one leads alone, people can unconsciously project feelings they have about authority, in general, onto the leader. When people share and rotate leadership from the start, this burden is diminished. When everyone leads, there is less pressure and responsibility for any one person to shoulder. Shared responsibility also means that it is together that we share the joy or burdens, the consequences of circle actions, decisions, and behavior. In the circle, leadership is cultivated in every member. Circle is a place to become your best self. With the support of the circle and clear roles, any member can lead.

    Shared leadership means everyone takes a turn in each role, serving the group as a leader. To begin, read the roles aloud so we all begin with an equal understanding of what each role entails. Then, request volunteers. People elect themselves to serve as Facilitator, Guardian, Reporter-Recorder and Timekeeper. Each meeting these roles rotate, preserving equanimity within circle.

    ROTATING LEADERSHIP ROLES

    Facilitator

    The Facilitator is responsible for the flow of the group from start to finish, and seeing that the group begins and ends on time. Making sure that each member gets his turn, moving the circle through the six-part format (Center the Circle, Share Leadership Roles, Check in, Do the Work in Circle, Clear the Air, Share Appreciations) and working with the Timekeeper, Reporter-Recorder, and Guardians are all aspects of the Facilitator role. It’s a lot of responsibility and it needs to be shared by all the members on a rotating basis.

    Recorder-Reporter

    The Recorder-Reporter uses charts and notations in their Circle Guide to track Circle volunteers, times, insights and agreements.

    Timekeeper

    The Timekeeper will have a copy of the agenda with timeframes and will be responsible for providing warnings when the time is about up (at 5-­‐ or 1-­‐minutes from ‘Time’s Up’) and signaling when time is expired. If the timeframes need to be renegotiated during the Circle Launch gathering, it’s important that the Timekeeper test for consensus with all circle members, before changing the timeframes. Some circles use kitchen timers and let members time themselves as an alternative.

    Guardian

    The Guardian uses all her/his senses throughout the entire circle to pick up on, and surface consciously, any strong feelings or unclarity of any member in the circle. The Guardian is responsible for guiding the circle through the Clearing the Air and Appreciations processes, and supporting members to speak their truth and work from their essence.

     

  • To complete the work we do in circle, we clear the air to assure we do not carry away unresolved or unexpressed strong feelings. We honor one another and ourselves in the circle, by acknowledging and leaving in the circle that which belongs in circle. Clear things in a timely manner; directly with the relevant person or persons; using “I” statements; acknowledge and be accountable. Complete with genuine appreciations.

    Ask permission of the recipient, & get response.

    Clarify Unclear Feelings:

    “______(name) May I clear an unclear feeling?” When I did ____(behavior), did you feel/think_________? EXAMPLE: “When I interrupted you, did you feel cut off by me? Did you get a chance to finish your thought?”

    Verify Hunch/Intuition/Fear:

    “______(name) I have a hunch for you, can you hear it? And will you validate your grain of truth?” EXAMPLE: “My hunch is that when I interrupted you, you thought I didn’t want to hear what you had to say…” Response validates a grain (or boulder) of truth: “You’re right! I felt like you ran right over me…”

    Express Gripes & Grumps:

    “______(name), I have a Gripe for you. Can you hear it? {The recipient does not respond to the Gripe} EXAMPLE:”______” When you interrupted me, I felt irritated and unheard.” {Just listen; don’t escalate.}

    State Request/Need:

    “_________, (name), May I make a request of you? I would like you to work on pausing after others speak and taking care not to interrupt me and others.” Response: “Yes, I will work on my habit of interrupting and I’ll take time to pause. Your request sounds like a good way to begin.”

    Give Appreciations & Humble Brags:

    “_________(name) Can you hear my appreciation?” EXAMPLE: “ ____, When you heard my request, and accepted the task of working on changing your habit of interrupting, I felt relieved, happy and grateful!” {The recipient receives the Appreciation non-verbally, to take it in fully.}

    To survive, our minds must taste redwood and agate, octopi, bat, and in the bat’s mouth, insect. It’s hard to think like a planet. We’ve got to try. — James Bertolino

    The purpose of using these tools is to create emotional safety and sustainability: keep the circle a place where respect is held and supported, with plenty of room for others’ differences. Circles are units of sustainable community where it’s safe to take risks, to ask for what you want, to say and do what you feel and believe, and honor others’ truths.

    In circle we co-create synergy among the members that makes it possible to do things you may not do by yourself. It’s an environment to build creativity for fresh solutions and to evolve a conscious culture that honors each person and all sentient beings, and nurtures resiliency. Actively appreciating our uniqueness supports us to be our best.

  • The Scarcity Fable of Appreciation

    The essence of appreciation and recognition of another begins with physical touch, as between mother and child. Calm, loving touch delivers unconditional acceptance. While our capacity to nurture and love remains, social patterning that begins at a very young age radically changes the way we express appreciation. We name these learned social patterns the Scarcity Fable of Appreciation.

    Survival Value of Touch and Recognition

    In the 1860s, Dr. Rene Spitz, MD treated infants in orphanages in France. He made an observation that many infants died before age one, even though they showed no sign of actual illness. Why? Dr. Spitz wondered, and he made further observations. He noted that the women caretakers – who had too many charges to care for well – each had 6-8 babies who had become their “favorites”. To these favorites, in addition to feeding and changing diapers, they would pick them up and hold them. This was the only difference Dr. Spitz observed between those babies who survived the first year of life and those who did not. They received touch.

    Recognition and appreciation begin as physical touch. As we learn common social “rules”, we learn to restrain our giving and receiving of appreciation according to the Unspoken Rules of Appreciation Fable. We see the zero- sum social model -if one gains, another loses -applied not only to our economy but also to our relationships with each other.

    How does the Scarcity Fable operate in our daily lives?

    Interacting within social structures (school, office, home…) we are taught to use the Unspoken Rules of the Scarcity Fable:Do not give compliments – They’re not genuine; you are “brown-nosing” or “sucking-up”.

    1. Do not receive compliments – Discount or “answer” the compliment because you don’t want to owe anything nor be taken advantage of. E.g. “It’s nothing” or “Don’t mention it” or “De nada”.
    2. Never give appreciation to yourself – Don’t brag. Don’t be full-of-yourself.
    3. Don’t refuse a backhanded compliment –Just take it.

    Question: What is the alternative to Scarcity Model? (It’s all I know.)

    Answer: Your Work in Circle. Learn and practice the skills.

    Recognize your basic need for acknowledgement and recognition. This is a human need you and others share. Consciously recognize patterns and shift systems from scarcity to abundance/abbondanza! In shifting to this new circle culture, resistance will come up in the process. It is important to state and nurture your principles when interacting with others: trust in community, love, abundance, interconnectedness, environmental sustainability, radical empathy. Practice these skills in circle:

    1. Give genuine Appreciation – Say the name of the other. Ask permission to give your appreciation. Speak in the first person (I-You), looking at the other.

    2. Receive Appreciation – Listen attentively. Do not answer. You may say a simple “Thank You”. Best: breathe in deeply, and concentrate on taking it in.

    3. Appreciate yourself with compassion – Recognize one of your many gifts and say aloud: “I have an appreciation for myself… [state your appreciation].” Do this regularly. Invite others to appreciate themselves, as well.

    4. Refuse backhanded “compliments” that makes you feel less than good – Say, “No, thank you.”

    Daily Practice:

    We need ten hugs a day to keep our spines from shriveling. – Dr. Eric Berne

    First, observe: notice your feelings about the Scarcity Fable and the way you feel. Notice the rarity of spoken Appreciations; notice your physical response when you receive an appreciation. Often people experience an initial awkwardness when breaking the Unspoken Rules.

    Consciously reverse the Unspoken Rules of the Scarcity Fable and replace them with Appreciation.

    Set new habits: give Appreciations; accept them; appreciate yourself aloud; and refuse any compliment that doesn’t feel good. Practice now. Practice daily. “Catch others doing something right”.

    Set “contracts” or agreements with your significant others and your Circle to positively shift your habits. circle culture practices are transformative, and you must engage in conscious use in order to change your Self, deepen your connections to others and EVOLVE YOUR WORLD.

    You are building this new circle culture for yourself. Ask for 100% of what you want and make it work for you. It’s your circle. Positive reinforcement works, circles work!

    What you appreciate, appreciates!

     

  • Common Group Problems

    Tools Which Address It

    Introverts have trouble gaining entry to groups; don’t like to “fight for the floor.”Check-In

    Concern about the “silent judge,” the one person in group who doesn’t speak, but everyone imagines/projects onto them critical thoughts

    Check-In

    A member joins a group and feels disconnected and unrecognized. No one knows their name or where they are coming from.

    Lack of trust in groups. Our confidentiality exercise – Confidentiality Exercise engaging in a deep discussion to incorporate each woman’s need for confidentiality at the start fills the circle as a container for trust and safety. Confidentiality agreement is the first agreement, the first experience, and gives practice in reaching consensus.

    Check-In
    MonopolizersTime Sharing Format
    Interruptions Time Sharing Format
    MarathonersTime Sharing Format
    Agenda controllersTime Sharing Format
    Dictatorial and authoritarian leadership in groups. (Cornell West said, “You can’t lead the people if you don’t love them; you can’t save the people if you do not listen to them.”)Rotating, Shared Leadership

    Group members left with feelings and unfinished business at the end of a meeting.

    Clearing & Completion

    Every system loses energy and runs down if it lacks a feedback loop. (We all need a feedback loop to keep learning and developing.)

    Clearing & Completion

    Honoring boundaries, noticing
    separateness. (During the Clearing & Completion process, we ask permission before using any of the Tools. When we do this, we are acknowledging that we are a separate person, and the other is a separate person, one who has her own needs, feelings, timing, and emotional state. If the timing is not right for the member, she will say so, and schedule another time to hear the feedback.)

    (Some people have difficulty with “asking for permission,” feeling that it’s what a child does, not an adult. As adults, we say “please,” and “thank you,” and knock on a closed door before we enter. These are some ways we respect the boundaries of the other. Asking permission is another.)

    Asking Permission

    Misunderstandings: They tell us in Psychology I that the average person only “gets” 20% of what other people say.

    Unclear Feelings

    Groupthink: The tendency of groups to pose no disagreement or avoid disagreement with the dominant perception.

    Unclear Feelings; Rotating & Shared Leadership

    Assumptions (When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME…)

    Check out Hunches

    Skew toward left-brain skills in Western Culture. (Intuition is an excellent emotional intelligence skill rarely invited to central, common discourse.)

    Check out Intuitions

    Fears are common in interpersonal engagement. (Fear in everyday life is ordinarily unspoken, un-addressed and un-checked. When unchecked, fear can easily spiral out of control.)

    Check out Fears

    Circle members’ unacknowledged abrasive edges. (Women often pretend that rough edges in others don’t exist, but complain about it to each other after meetings! When Gripes & Grumps are regularly invited, they become no big deal. Just feedback.)

    (A Circle member gets feedback on a behavior she may not have been aware of, or wasn’t aware of the impact on others. When a behavior is brought to awareness, a person has a real choice: to act on the feedback and adapt behavior.)

    Gripes & Grumps

    Dependency needs are experienced as shameful, are a denied, ignored element of emotional life. (In Circles we encourage members to ask for help, ask for 100% of what they want and need. Recognizing needs becomes a public, accepted norm.)

    Needs & Requests

    Feeling unseen, unappreciated is a common, thoughoften unacknowledged state in groups. (During the last part of the Clearing & Completion process, Praise & Appreciation is really about returning to childlike wonder.Replacing the scarcity economy with mutual respect, appreciation and cherishing of others. It’s about throwing off the competitive power plays of modern life and creating freedom for love and joy.)

    (In making the world safe for love and joy to spread and grow, making space for that always, it’s important to remember that, while in the Bible it says to love thy neighbor as thyself, we remind you to love yourself as you love your neighbor!)

    Praise & Appreciation