Lately, I have found myself journaling very insightful reflections after participating in circle gatherings. I thought I’d share some of the wisdom that came through.

Most of the circles I attend are organized by the structure found in Conscious Circle. For context, a circle is a small group of people that comes together for a moment of deep listening and sharing. Circle gatherings usually follow certain guidelines to foster an authentic, soul-connecting experience. It’s a way for each participant to be fully witnessed and supported as they go through life’s ebbs and flows.

My Experience Being in a Circle

To me, what is so beautiful about these circle shares is the depth of self-awareness, the willingness to own one’s role in the friction being created, and the authentic desire to change. Not to mention the refreshing act of being vulnerable. 

Being in circle gatherings allowed me to recognize some of the habits I had that were not serving me nor my relationships: relying on sarcasm to fill the void of awkward silence or uncomfortable conversation, wanting to be the funny guy in group situations instead of just being my light and fun self, trying to take a forceful approach to “driving” business meeting toward actionable conclusions, needing to give advice ALL THE TIME rather than just listening, etc. The list goes on.

Like many, my conditioning, social circles, and society at large had encouraged many of these seeds to germinate. Unlearning 47 years of conditioning takes time, but as I continue to learn how to lessen the inner-critic in me, I smile at my former self and keep moving forward in a more gentle and compassionate way, one day at a time. Some days it works, other days not so well, but the positive change is real.   

Here are examples of nuggets of wisdom that I wrote down during my last circle from people sharing their stories:

 1) This Not Working for Me Anymore 

What I really mean is, “the way I am showing up for myself is not working for me anymore.” Yes, it’s a sentiment that many can relate to, but when felt deeply and spoken out clearly, it can be a catalyst for the much-needed life-change.  

2) The Consequences of Always Preparing for the Worst

This expectation of being well-prepared “in case of” can manifest itself in so many ways: from the repetitive pattern of preparing for a disaster to almost always anticipating things to go wrong, this survival approach to life can get very negative and draining. If not addressed, it can become a self-fulfilling way of living, one that doesn’t leave any room for happiness. But with a little awareness, one can shift from it.

3) Relationship Drama

Starting a relationship already with the anticipation that you’re not going to meet (or be met by) all of the other person’s needs is a double-edged sword: it can either keep your guards up because of your fear to let down or be let down, therefore, leaving small room for authenticity OR it can inspire you to embrace the evolving and transformative nature of any new relationship, through deep-connection and growth.  Open and curious the key to the later.

4) The Reactive Parenting Cycle

As parents, we tend to be very quick in raising concerns about our children and certain of their behaviors that need adjusting. But such a quick reaction can create more distance between us, hurt the bond in the long run, and leaving a lesser chance to actually help them.  The revelation of listening more and asking what is really going on was what came up in our circle. 

I’ll end this short post by giving a quote from a member of my last conscious circle … it captures the essence well.

“Participating in a circle gathering brings a sense of togetherness that is regenerative: you feel heard and seen. Most importantly, you get to show up as your real-self… for yourself and others. ”