There is nothing so wise as a circle.
What is the power of sitting in a circle, of breaking our very Western demand that one person be the focus of all the others?
From insisting that all the kids face the teacher, kindergarten classrooms have Circle Time, when community is emphasized and any issues that affect the group can be brought up.
From our face-front world, retreat center events conduct their events frequently in circles, and people jet or speed home, feeling they’ve communed with kindred spirits.
From the antagonistic, one against one (or many against many) world of street crime, young people may avoid incarceration in part by entering restorative justice circles, where they learn the power of speaking and being heard.
Even much leadership training breaks executives’ reticence down by placing them, too, in a circle formation. Despite their white-hot grip on their cell phones (which they may think invisible in a speaker-forward, kid-at-the-back-of-the-class formation) they must bare their hearts to the group … not through anything they say, but through their very positions, literally exposing the heart area to the whole group at once.
There is nowhere to hide in a circle.
There is also no way to dominate.
The circle demands that you show up, remembering that, as the saying goes, “You are not better than anyone, and no one is better than you.” The circle demands both radical courage and radical humility, the enactment of the noble belief that the singular human being is simultaneously everything and nothing.
In THE HUMAN JOURNEY®, whether our participants are facing the computer to participate with family or support group members from afar, or they are at bedside around a patient, in a traditional support-group circle, or around a dining or coffee table, the trained THJ® Conductor ensures their even participation, softening and equalizing the inevitable power plays, accreted baggage, and habitual ways of relating. With their skill (and yours with just eight hours of small group training), the power of the circle can bring its wisdom as they chart the future they want to have together.
In another post, we’ll share how the eternal form of the labyrinth — a very special kind of circle — found its way into THE HUMAN JOURNEY® … and how participants get themselves into … and out of it.
At the 2023 Parliament of the World’s Religions, blacksmiths from RAWTools demonstrated how they took guns that had been surrendered from a variety of sources and re-formed them into garden hand tools, making literal their mission and message of anti-violence. The organization takes literally the passage from the Book of Isaiah to “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
Public health has gotten bigger and bigger in recent decades. What was only thought of in the past as individual choices, like drug addiction, gun violence, or smoking crossed over to be thought of by many as social issues and, eventually, as matters of public health. With the Surgeon General’s report that came out in May, 2023, loneliness and isolation may assume their place alongside them as social epidemics.
Lindsay Braman’s example can open your mind about what sorts of both joy and utility you can create, simply by letting your own gifts out of the closet and using them in your work, in recognizing that, if a therapist/doodler can connect two passions, so can you.