An old friend of mine recently asked me why I do what I do. This gift of a question opened some interesting insights that finally led to a liberating 'aha' moment when everything finally fits...
At an international conference years ago, there was an offer of experiencing a “dialogue process” as one of the conference tracks. I just knew I had to be there. We gathered in a circle, did some exercises, and were then introduced to the Bohmian dialogue process, facilitated by a Japanese facilitator living in Europe. That experience changed my life.
Half-way into the process, I was struck by a profound knowing that something powerful is happening – that time and place somehow disappeared for me. I recognised I could be sitting in circles with people, deeply listening to myself, the other, and to the implicate order of it all, for the rest of my life, 24/7/365. I could hear my soul whispering: ‘This circle is speaking to you …’
Needless to say, I went to the circle host, and through the years that followed learned the art and the craft of inviting people to sit in circles not only by him bit also from other elders who are called to re-invite the ancient spirit of gathering in circle form into our busy lives: in organisations, families, networks … Circle as a sacred space where people meet their souls, one another, and the soul of it All. Circle as a shape that holds group wisdom; joyous exploration in the spirit of equality; creativity beyond expectations.
When facilitating one such circle, an insight dawned on me: by offering circles to various communities, I’m healing my greatest childhood wound – that of living in a family where one person dominated over others. As a child, I rebelled to my domineering father in any way I could. In the end I became very much like him: I’d rather dominate others than be dominated. Yet that did not bring me peace. Being in a circle did.
Since then, I have heard of many similar stories that point to the gift hidden in the sacred wound with which we grew up. It also seems that sitting in a circle, healing (in the sense of getting whole again) happens not just for me, but for the whole circle - be it teams, organisations, families, and all sorts of other communities. The beauty of it all is that circle can happen any day anywhere: not only as structured problem-solving or decision-making in a group, but also as an inner dialogue listening to various voices in oneself; as an alternative to ordinary lunch conversation or birthday party; or in any chance encounter with other human (or even nonhuman) beings.