What is Circling?
“In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen. Really seen.” – Dr. Brené Brown
What is Circling?
Circling is an organic, in-the-moment interpersonal process that’s equal parts art form, meditation, and group conversation — all designed to allow a visceral experience of connection and understanding of another person’s world, celebrating who and where they are right now. It’s practicing using our genuine curiosity, presence to better understand and become a connoisseur of another person’s world though present moment awareness while breaking through the assumptions and projections we have about each other.
(sometimes n as Inter-Subjective Meditation)
Different than sitting on a meditation cushion by yourself, Circling is a relational practice. It is where attention and curiosity is given to one person in small group setting. It works exquisitely in intimate relationships of all kinds and can be applied in ALL areas of life because it’s so organic, non-analytical, effective, and fun.
It’s a process that AuthenticWorld has been refining over the past 14 years. It is being shared and spread throught Europe and North America. Ken Wilber and Integral Life brought circling to Boulder with their three day workshop on Circling.
After completing my 5-month training in Circling with Decker Cunov, Bryan Bayer and AuthenticWorld in San Francisco, I now bring this powerful relating experience to Washington, D.C. After over 50 Circling Nights in Washington, DC, New York City, North Carolina, this is transformational work is spreading.
Here’s more about Circling, from Bryan Bayer and Decker Cunov, founders of AuthenticWorld:
The purpose of Circling is twofold…
1. Circling uncovers our “relational blind spots”—the places where we push away the depth of connection and intimacy that’s possible, whether we’re:
- In a relationship and want to deepen with our partner…
- Single, and looking to attract someone to explore deeper connection with…
- Looking for deeper connection with ANYONE — family, friends, prospective clients…
2. The experience of “Being Seen” for who we authentically are is one of the most rewarding experiences we can have as human beings…and Circling teaches us exactly that — how to see and celebrate each person for the unique flavor they bring to the world.
Through this in-the-moment process, we have more choice about how we respond. The more we are aware of our blinds spots, the greater our choice in any situation. The greater our choice, the greater our degree of relational freedom.
This practice will foster your AGENCY…through transcending who you thought you were, to discover an expanded sense of self, while fully experiencing and including every previous layer that this new layer is grounded in and arising from.
This practice will also foster your capacity for COMMUNION and CONNECTION – through sharpening your ability to deeply See and Connect with others.
Who can come?
Because circling is a simple, practical and accessible process/experience, anyone can participate. Circling events are smaller and more intimate (and sometimes more intense/richer) than our Authentic Relating Game Nights. These are NOT dating-themed events.
What do people have to say about Circling?
“Being part of a circle creates a meaningful bridge between me and others where I can be my authentic self without fear of judgment or rejection. Circling provides the space for me to not only be seen but truly “gotten” in a powerful way. Having begun a difficult transition in my life, I found Circling provided a secure space where I could share my innermost thoughts and feelings, and receive feedback and insight that helped me reveal some of the stories that were controlling me. Jeffrey is adept at guiding the Circling process by gently keeping the group on a helpful path for the circlee, and by ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard. He also has a natural wisdom demonstrated by the insightful questions he poses and the ability to echo and reframe what participants communicate to ensure that their words are most helpful to the circlee.”
— Doug Levine, Washington, DC
“My head buzzed for a week after my first circling experience, and I didn’t even get circled. If you’re like me, you’re accustomed to surface-level pleasantries from people, but you want more. Well, when you play earnestly in a circle, you get more, and though it isn’t necessarily pleasant, it’s powerful. For me, exposure to that much of other peoples’ experience was like accidentally putting my hand on a hot stove. The heat transforms you.
And it isn’t that I learned anything in particular. Circling offers more than that. Like I said, my head buzzed for a week: I honestly felt like my brain was growing. Not just learning. Helping transform the way I understand myself and people and the world. I take in a dimension of experience that I just didn’t have access to before.”
— James, Washington, DC
“My connections with others have deepened in large part due to my work in Circling. It teaches you how to connect with yourself and then how to authentically connect with others on a totally different level than we are used to. This connection is so amazing, rich and invigorating that it’s one of the main reasons I keep coming back for more. Jeffrey is the best air traffic controller out there. He allows the space to grow, breathe and be the way it needs to be (exactly perfect the way it is), but also knows when to step in to preserve the authenticity of the experience. And each experience is totally different. Circling is awesome.”
— Rachel Sillman, Washington, DC
“Circling provides one the rare opportunity to be seen, heard and appreciated for their authentic selves. Because the people in the circle vary from event to event, you have the opportunity to see yourself through many different lens the more circles you attend. Jeffrey creates a space of safety that allows people to relate to one another straight from the heart. If there is something that you need to release, or if you are searching for warm, comforting souls to embrace, I highly recommend Circling.”
— Julie Holly, Washington, DC
“Why do I keep going back? It’s not a classroom where you are given your lessons so much as a guided dynamic space where people learn from and about each other, withholding all judgment and assumptions. It has been a good exercise for me, not to jump to a conclusion of what I think a person is thinking or feeling, but to give the space for them to share it, an in this space comes the unexpected. Different every time. My first time being circled, it was almost like a part of my soul was detoxified and for the next couple of weeks, I really felt like a new person, rejuvenated and evolved. Jeffrey keeps it real and is considerate of all who participate. He genuinely cares about people’s experiences and his range of life experiences and skills gives him an open mind from which to approach and lead Circling making it a comfortable space.”
— Neda Dowlatshahi, Washington, DC
“Circling is absolutely getting in touch with instinctive human traits, we otherwise might lose, by calling out everything and anything natural inside of us. Being circled has made me see individuals as individuals with varied perspectives and perceptions. Circling has definitely kept me in check to respect each person’s authentic experience outside of my own ego. Experiencing, without judgment, and loving people for our strengths and vulnerabilities. I would describe circling as a group activity of getting to know another person, and many people, in a free and open way; free of judgement and bias. Jeffrey is such a neutral, yet passionate and dedicated facilitator. I have experienced facilitators who have strong, almost overbearing energy (albeit in their own judgement-free way) but Jeffrey always provokes inspiring thoughts with the most trusting finesse, it’s a skill I admire and respect to no end.”
— Lori Zelman, Arlington, VA