The Container of Circling is Made of 4 Agreements
1. Time – How long will we be practicing?
2. What are the Roles and What do they Mean?
There are 3 common roles in Circles are the Facilitator, the Circlee, and the Participants. Each role has unique ways in which they are to participate in the practice.
3. The Agreement to Own Our Experience – We agree not to assume that we know how someone should or shouldn’t be, or that we know what someone’s experience is. We are here to interact with others in how they experience themselves, rather than our ideas about who we think they are or how they should be. Ultimately we are only authorities on our own experience.
4. Getting Mutual Understanding about What the Circlee is Experiencing in the Present Moment – Circling is a process of conversational inquiry into another person’s present moment experience. So we are continually getting what it’s like to be the Circlee moment to moment by asking them what they are experiencing, right here, right now in richer and richer detail.
What the Roles Mean and Common Misunderstandings
Different Formats and Schools of Circling Have Different Containers
There are many different kinds of formats of Circles. Depending on the format, some of the four base agreements may change:
The Standard or Birthday Circle – We agree ahead of time who the Circlee will be, and hold them and their experience as the focus of our attention through the whole circle.
Organic Circle or Living Room Circle – We don’t agree ahead of time who the Circlee will be. Anyone can be the Circlee, and the group’s attention can move back and forth from person to person. It may end up staying on one person, or may not.
I hope you find the four agreements for a birthday circle useful to use as a starting point to see the difference between many kinds of circling formats and styles.