Tending the Center of the Circle

January 28th, 2016 | Posted by Barbara Belknap in Activation | Circles | Gather the Women

2013 3 23 Cards Small A simple bouquet of flowers or a bowl of fruit on a dining room table makes a world of difference, doesn’t it? It’s hard to define why, but it involves energy. The picture of the the colorful cards in the center is from a Gather the Women circle we held in Juneau for International Women’s Day.

When we gather in circle, the center becomes the energetic focus. I’m going to quote “Understanding Energetics in Circles and Groups” by Cheryl Conklin and Ann Linnea: “A visual center holds the circle in place by providing a focal point; the hub around which everything turns.” (You can order this booklet from PeerSpirit.)

A beautiful scarf makes a lovely and colorful focal point. On it, you can place a vase of flowers, a symbol of your group’s intention, a potpourri of treasures, but I always have a candle. Not to state the obvious, but in venues where lit candles aren’t allowed, the little plastic ones aren’t great, but they work fine. Lighting the candle and ringing the bells marks the beginning of the circle gathering and the use of Circle Principles.

As you all know, sitting around a lunch table at your favorite cafe and sitting in a circle are two entirely different experiences. Finding themselves in a circle with a center and simple guidelines is often a unique experience for many women. The circle must be a safe container for all the emotions they will experience.

To quote from the booklet again, “The center then can function as an energetic clearinghouse which people can contribute to or take from, as they need – kind of an energy bank. The advantage of sending energy through the center rather than directly to individuals is that the highest intention or spirit of the group, which resides in the center, literally cleans up and neutralized energy.” To provide that safe space, we go over the Principles first. Rather than talking over each other and finishing each other’s sentences, we leave that for the cafe or coffee house.

To go deeper needs a safe place where Agreements are made to:
* Listen with compassion and curiosity.
* What is shared in circle remains in circle.
* Each person asks for what she needs and offers what she can.
* Whenever uncertain or in need of a resting point, we agree to fall into silence, and wait for guidance.

Whether there are six women or sixty women, these Agreements make the experience memorable and emotionally safe for everyone.

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