INTRO: We all know that the most powerful thing we offer one another in the circle is our heart-felt listening. To hear and to be heard deeply, quietly, non-judgmentally is the most powerful gift we have to give and receive in circle. Each man has his own brilliance, his own astonishing compacity to do his work. Often, all we need to do is listen silently with love and attention. On occasion we ask a heartfelt question, or say a word or two of encouragement. Our moves at facilitation usually need to be less rather than more. We all know it takes some time to apprentice to the process of circle and come to viscerally sense how it works.
Vigorous drumming or other experience that brings the circle together and helps everyone “drop in”
Missing men (who’s missing that night and whether anyone has heard from the missing men)
Opening Circle (3-5 mins per men, usually timed with Tibetan bells announcing that time’s up)
Closing circle (short closing from each man)
1. LISTEN FROM YOUR HEART
Look at the person speaking. Listen without judgment. Listen for feelings beneath or beyond content. Be respectful of the person speaking by avoiding side-talking, interrupting, comments. Don't formulate what you are going to share until the talking stick is passed to you.
2. SPEAK FROM YOUR HEART
Move from your head to your heart. Share what you are feeling as well as what you are thinking. "Opinions separate, feelings unite." Speak from your experience, using "I" statements. Speak through your tears. Speak into the circle rather than focusing on one person in the circle. Please avoid lecturing, explaining or acting as a teacher to the circle. Respectfully avoid criticizing others or raging at anyone in circle.
3. HONOR THE TIME ALLOTTED / BE DIRECT
Be aware of the time allotted for each activity and keep to that. Be open and brave. Be specific and get to the point rather than vague or abstract. Avoid speaking much longer than everyone else. Be real. Avoid speaking to hear yourself talk.
4. HONOR THE EXPRESSION OF EMOTIONS
Encourage the expression of emotions with loving attention. Listen to each person deeply. Especially, keep your eyes on the person when deep feelings begin to be expressed.
5. HONOR CONFIDENTIALITY AND ANONYMITY
What is said in the circle remains in the circle. Only offer advice when it is specifically asked for. Avoid bringing up what another has said in circle unless initiated by that person or you ask and receive permission from the person. You are encouraged to share your experience of circle with others, but without revealing personal information others have shared.
6. HONOR YOUR FINANCIAL AGREEMENTS
7. HONOR THE CARRIERS OF COUNCIL
Leaders lead most effectively when supported; please share any criticism directly with the leader rather than "behind his back."
8. HONOR YOUR COUNCIL CIRCLE
Attend every session when you are "in town," especially when you don't feel like it. Be on time. Let another member know in advance if you can't attend or will be late. Please, no recreational drugs or alcohol before attending circle. Leave your work behind.
9. HONOR OUR SINGLES, COUPLES AND FAMILIES
Respect the sacredness of a couple's commitment by not flirting or engaging in inappropriate intimacy with another's committed partner. Honor single members by including them in social events and activities.
10. SURRENDER TO SILENCE AND SPIRIT
When conflict arises, we agree to seek guidance in silence as well as communication, and to surrender to the will of spirit as we recognize it.
11. HONOR NEW WISDOM
We honor the mystery, the creative space of uncertainty, recognizing that we are each "works in progress." We humbly acknowledge that we don't know it all, and remain open to new insight and wisdom as we grow our circle.
12. HONOR SERVICE AS OUR SPIRITUAL RESPONSIBILITY
"Go find the others." Keep the spirit of circle alive in you while in the outside world. Be a model for "this way of being."
DEEP LISTENING IN CIRCLE
1) Maintain eye contact with the person working. 2) Be relaxed but present. 3) Be still. 4) Listen from the heart. 5) Be non-judgmental. 6) Allow the story to unfold. 7) Listen carefully and the person working will always tell you what they need. 8) It's not your job to "fix" the person who's working. 9) Common mistakes to avoid:
2) DON'T give advice (unless asked for)
3) DON'T "swap stories" to reassure the person who's working
4) DON'T interpret the meaning of his feelings
5) DON'T interrupt discharge of emotion (laughter, tears, etc.)
6) DON'T talk very much
7) DON'T ask questions for your own information
8) DON'T think a lot about how to "help" the person working
9) ONLY ask questions to lead the person deeper into feelings & his own re/solutions.
10) The most common mistake: Trying to show the person working what a good, understanding, perceptive, kind, helpful ... person, counselor, leader ... you are.
11) Listen, listen, listen! (That's really what we all need)
HOUSEKEEPING (when something is up that keeps a man from being present in circle)
- This could be a housekeeping on oneself
- Or with a direction circle may be taking
- Or with another man (see below for an optional way to non-violently do housekeeping with another man)
Communication activities that expresses the truth about ourselves and that prevents violence and inspires compassion.
1. WHEN YOU_________________________, What I am observing ___________________, What happened: specific, objective, observable behavior. What a person does, not what a person is. Not interpretation or diagnosis.
2. I FELT______________________________, Feelings and emotion Not interpretation (e.g., “I felt like you were…”) or blame (“You/it made me feel…”).
3. BECAUSE ___________________________, “I expected…” “I wanted….” “I thought….” (Here, non-blaming interpretations are okay) Unmet “want”. (Judgments and complains are poorly expressed wants).
4. AND WHAT I WANT or WOULD LIKE IS __________________, Specific, objective, observable behavior It’s okay to just want the other person to hear you. Receiving the truth from others that inspires compassion.
1. WHAT DID I DO THAT CAUSED YOU TO FEEL THIS WAY? Are you reacting to___________________? (Use action language) Guess your specific behavior that is at the root of the other person’s feelings. What happened: specific, objective, observable behavior. What a person does, not what a person is. Not interpretation or diagnosis.
2. ARE YOU FEELING______________________________? Feelings and emotion Not interpretation (e.g., “You felt like I was…”) or blame (“I made you feel…”).
3. BECAUSE YOU ___________________________? “You expected…” “You wanted….” “You thought….” (Here, non-blaming interpretations are okay) Unmet “want”. (Judgments and complains are poorly expressed wants) Stay with the other person’s feelings (not yours). Make sure they feel understood.
4. WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO __________________? Keep guessing till you get it right or the other person says it. Specific, objective, observable behavior. It’s okay for the other person to just want to be heard. Do not give answers and advice; do not try to solve things for them.