THE CIRCLE: CENTER IS SPIRIT
For most participants, being a Grandmother includes having a sense of spirit. Each has her own understanding of what “spirit” means. It may be God, Higher Power, Mother Nature, Energy force¸ or the special feeling that comes from what is right and good.
The Circle Way process is based on the work of Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea, first published in the early 90s in a book titled Calling the Circle: The First and Future Culture. This book continues to be a visionary statement of belief that gathering in peer-led, spirit-centered circles can help us successfully face the challenges of our times.
A TRANSFORMATIVE PROCESS
What transforms a meeting of women into a Circle Way practice is the willingness of participants to shift from informal socializing or opinionated discussion into a receptive attitude of thoughtful speaking and deep listening, and to embody and practice the structure that Baldwin describes in her book.
In this circle process, no one sits at the head. No one person makes the decisions. We share responsibility, and take turns hosting and facilitating. We are all co-leaders. Relying on Spirit means we keep our focus on the highest intention of the group. We give ourselves permission to slow down, watch for what is needed, and see how we each might do our part.
The topic might address our relationships, personal growth, values, our inner lives, our outer surroundings, our legacy. We might answer a question: How am I creative? What touches my spirit? How do we achieve simplicity? What can I do to help heal the earth? What do you do with solitude? How much is enough?
WHAT DO WE DO IN CIRCLE?
We acknowledge that in the Center is Spirit, the combined essence of us. We hold the rim. Each Circle meeting is different. The facilitator selects a topic and provides questions to which we respond, taking turns and listening to each other’s stories with our whole hearts and without comment (Quite different from the sewing circle, the board meeting or the gathering at the coffee shop!).
The principles and practices of the Circle Way have developed into a social and spiritual movement with a global presence through the non-profit organization that formed with the same name in 1998. To learn more about the teachings, practices, and global colleagues affiliated with the Circle Way, we encourage you to visit the immensely resourceful Circle Way website.
If you will be participating in our annual Gathering or joining a small circle in your area, the Circle Way guidelines are the fundamental principles meant to guide each meeting. Many have taken this practice into personal areas for breakthrough communication and mediation between family members or co-workers.