This is part of a series called: “How to Give Great Circle.” It’s for those who’ve Circled before and want to hone their Circling skills. If you haven’t already read the previous parts, I highly recommend you do so here.
Okay, so… here’s my argument why Circling is pretty rad as a vehicle for personal transformation… and by that I mean transforming for the better —becoming a more aware, whole, integrated person.
First, a Caveat – You Are Perfect Already as You Are
As a recovering self-help junkie, I know how easy it is to chase the next book/workshop/seminar on How to be Your Best Self in Five Easy Steps Signup Now we for Just $2499!
But seriously, many of us deep down feel that we suck and therefore use personal growth to do all sorts of nutty things to try to prove to ourselves that we don’tsuck.
But that never works. And in my experience, it’s rather unpleasant to try.
We do not NEED to change, because on a deeper level, we are already perfect as we are.
That said, many of us enjoy the journey of evolving into a higher version of our self. We love the process of growing and unfolding, or want to have new experiences, or more fulfilling relationships.
Or maybe we want some new tools to more skillfully deal with our suffering, to cultivate more peace in our lives.
So from that place, read on!
Another Caveat: Circling Ain’t Therapy
It’s important to remember that Circling Facilitators, as sexy as we are (wink!), aren’t trained to deal with mental and emotional health issues. There’s a reason why people spend many years in school to become a licensed psychologist.
A few other differences between therapy and Circling?
- In Therapy, the client gets all the attention, but in Circling, we are having a shared experience with everyone in the group, including the Facilitator.
- Therapy sometimes is about discussing issues from the client’s past. Circling tends to be more present moment awareness (at least in the LA-Style of Circling).
- The context of Circling is not to help process your wounds, but to have a shared experience.
Okay, got it. So then how does Circling work for transformation?
The “Technology” of How Circling Can Transform
Here’s how it basically works when we are being Circled, or Circling others:
- During Circling, we become more aware of some aspect of ourself we don’t see super-clearly, a “Blind Spot.” If we’re the one being Circled, this happens pretty overtly: Either we notice it is ourselves, or someone points it out for us.
If we are a Circler, how this works is we see traits / patterns in the Circlee, which then makes us aware of our own unseen traits and patterns.
- Then either we accept this unseen aspect, assimilating it into our identity and sense of self, becoming more whole in the process. Transformation! Score!
- If we don’t like this aspect of ourself, and if the Facilitator and/or Circlers do have acceptance of this aspect, then we can take on their gentler view of us.
We begin to see where we are at odds with ourself, wherewe resist ourself…
…and then we attune to their more-compassionate view of us.
We take it on, hopefully.
If we do that, we’ve just become more self-aware AND more self-compassionate.
And in my experience, those that are self-compassionate tend to be compassionate with others as well.
Transformation—for the benefit of all.
If I Were to Say More I Might Say…
…that there’s more at play than this.
That our mirror neurons fire when we get compassionate mirroring, which calms our nervous system.
And sure, having clear agreements at the beginning of the night, creating a tight “container,” and receiving loving attention creates a sense of safety in our body that also down-regulates us into a healthier physiological state, pumping out oxytocin — that good feeling hormone.
So yeah, there’s a lot going on.
But sometimes simple is best.
Maybe it goes something like this:
Becoming more aware of blind spots
+ Accepting those blind spots
+ Accepting the blind spots in others
Side note: In Real Life, Acceptance Does Not Preclude Taking Action
In real life, just because you feel like shit, doesn’t mean you should sit on the couch and accept your feeling-shitness and do nothing.
By all means, in real life, after you’ve accepted the feeling and chosen how you want to respond, get up and do something about it.
But here we’re specifically talking about Circling, which is largely an awareness practice.
Not a doing practice.
But Beware of Becoming Entranced With Your Own Reflection
As someone who loves talking about myself and my many delightful neuroses, I could probably hash out the intricacies of my mind and patterns for days… if not weeks… if not decades.
But sometimes this kind of obsessive navel-gazing is not super fun to be around. Sometimes it’s not connective but just the opposite.
So my invitation to you, in your post-circling bliss state, is to stay curious about those around you.
Not just yourself. 😉
Circling Helps Us Examine the Lens
The last thought I’ll leave you with is that because Circling is a Present-Moment awareness practice, we become aware of not just ourselves and each other, but we become more aware of how we see the world.
We examine the lens through which we see the world.
And in doing so, we become aware of Awareness itself.
In this examination of Awareness, we can come into contact with that which never changes.
I hope you got something valuable out of this. Stay tuned for the next post in the series!