The Circle Gathers...

the way within Jun 05, 2023

It is amazing to realize that I have been gathering, mostly women, in circle for almost 40 years! The first ‘formal’ way of doing so was when I was a childbirth educator. I called myself a ‘teacher’ in those days and did not call our gathering a ‘circle’. But we always sat in a circle because me standing in front with people facing me and sitting in rows… Never felt right. I sat with them, in circle so everyone could see everyone. Inherent in the ‘education’ of preparing parents-to-be to birth a baby always included every person in the circle offering their unique perspective.

Over the years the ‘topic’ and format of what I offered shifted and changed. The ‘reason’ why participants walked into the door certainly changed. What remained constant… The Heart-center of whatever I created and offered… Is the circle.


With remarkable teachers, mentors and my own experience, I came to recognize a circle is not just how you arrange the chairs. A circle is it’s own profound way of being. It holds it’s own wisdom.

Somewhere along the way I quit calling myself a teacher and embraced the role of being a facilitator. As I facilitator I create the space, drop in seeds of thought, hold and if necessary gently shift the energy and most importantly by offering safety and respect… I invite each participant to be exactly who-they-are on that day, in that moment.

As facilitator I am part of the circle. If 9 of us are sitting in circle we are not the sum of 9… We are so very much more! Each of the 9 of us have walked different paths to arrive at that point. We bring to the circle both the inspiration of how we thrive and the lessons of how we struggle. We bring countless other people who have influenced our lives… Both in the magnificent and to the contrary.

The circle encourages and invites our authentic voice. This is not always seamless, sometimes we stumble, ramble and are confused. Yet, if we dwell there together with a shared intent… Be present with each other offering patience and generosity… If we make the choice to be half a shade braver and even a bit vulnerable… The voice of our Heart speaks. This is an exquisite gift to ourselves and for each other. One voice of the Heart… Invites the next voice of the Heart.       

I remain humbled and filled with awe at what I witness and experience being in circle. The profound wisdom that rises to meet the moment. Not one in the circle has the ‘answers’… Yet together, the circle can provide exactly what you need to hear. Sometimes what you most need to hear comes from your own voice.  What rises is the intrinsic beauty and resiliency of the human Heart & Spirit.

It is a full moon tonight… I have women friends joining me at my Kaua’i hOMe for food, a fire, the moonrise and circle. What a Blessing…

How to facilitate a circle 101:

  •  Invite a few friends to your living room or yard.
  •  Share food, drink and catch-up while eating.
  •  Set a time to open the circle.
  •  Someone reads the ‘agreements’. See below and modify as you would like.
  •  Someone invites a settling-in and grounding. Breath, guided meditation, song, movement, a poem. What ever that person and the group are comfortable with. It should be short, 5 minutes or so. At that point I love to invite people to silently and slowly look around the circle and into the eyes of one another.   
  •  An object is always helpful, in an interesting way it helps the speaker feel calm. A stick or rock… Anything that can be held comfortably in a hand.
  •  Put that object in the middle and who ever wants to speak, picks it up. When finished it can return to the center or often the next person asks for it.
  •  A circle can be around a theme or topic or as simple a a question like: What is on your Heart today? It is not a conversation. Speak from “I”… If something someone else shared touched or stirred you… Do not speak about ‘what’ they shared… Share how or what that sharing stirred up within you.
  •  When the speaker is silent, we sit in silence with them as long as they hold the object.
  •  If the object is not picked up… We sit in silence until someone is ready. The silence is full of information… What is your Heart saying to you?
  •  You can set a time frame (an hour) or let it go as long as it wants to continue.
  •  Someone closes the circle. This can be with breath, poem, music ect…
  •  I like to gently remind ‘what you heard here… Stays here’. I also love to again invite a silent look into the eyes of the others in the circle. Often the difference is amazing. Standing and holding hands is a lovely way to do this.
  •  The circle opens, yet remains within each of our Hearts.
  •  It is now time to revisit the pot-luck and have some desert. Laugh and share the conversations that wanted to emerge while being in circle. Make a plan for the next circle!

Basic Circle Agreements:

  •  We treat each other with kindness and respect.
  •  We listen with kindness, generosity and curiosity.
  •  We honor and hold silence.
  •  We honor each other’s unique paths of being, healing and belief.
  •  We don’t presume to advise, fix or save each other.
  •  We trust that each of us has our own inner wisdom and guidance.
  •  We hold all that occurs and is shared as confidential.
  •  We ask permission before taking any photos of each other or posting on social media.
  •  We ask permission to share a hug.

So... Invite a few people over... Share some food... And be in circle. Let me know how it goes via 'contact' above!

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