Facilitating Circles for Compassionate Communication

Circles hold the power to create a harmonious environment fostering a spirit of peace and understanding of others.

by Kathy Keary

The richness of communicating in a circle has been known since ancient times when people gathered around a fire to keep warm and safe and to cook their food. From this history, the circle became a symbol of unity and wholeness, and asking people to form circles began to be used to create a sense of community: in a circle, people can not only speak from the heart, but they can also listen from a place deep within. Periods of brief silence allows an individual to access their inner wisdom facilitating contemplative communication.

The Circle, then, is an effective communication tool that can be used in any group setting whether that be in a family, a secular organization, or a spiritual setting. It is an excellent tool when the goal is for the participants to come to a greater understanding and appreciation of one another. It is effective when used in conflict resolution, support groups, goal setting, reconciliation, faith sharing, staff renewal, community building, and getting to know others on a deeper level. Circles allow all voices to be heard in a respectful manner.

Circles begin and end with a simple ritual that marks the space and time as sacred. This can be as simple as lighting candles or listening to music. Items are placed in the middle of the Circle that represent the group creating a sense of unity among participants.

Values that foster the purpose of the group are called into the Circle such as compassion, kindness, and understanding. This helps create a safe space for confidentiality and increasing an individual’s comfort level in sharing all that is stirring within.

A talking piece is used in the Circle. The person holding the talking piece speaks their truth while others prayerfully listen as compassionate witnesses. Silence is incorporated allowing the participants to absorb all that they hear rather than listening for the sake of responding.

Our connectedness to one another is enhanced by the Circle method.

Circles hold the power to create a harmonious environment fostering a spirit of peace and understanding of others. It is common for the attributes displayed in a Circle to be visible in everyday life as participants learn to communicate in this novel way that promotes healthy relationships. Our connectedness to one another is enhanced by the Circle method.

Precious Blood Renewal Center is hosting a Circle training workshop February 1 that will cover the 10 elements that facilitate open and compassionate communication.

Time will be allotted for participants to gain hands on experience increasing their comfort level with leading and participating in a Circle.

[Kathy Keary, a Precious Blood Companion and spiritual director, holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is a graduate of the Atchison Benedictine’s Sophia Center’s Souljourners Program, an intense study of spirituality and spiritual direction. Kathy believes that the divine is present and active in all of life and encourages others to be awakened to the God in all including the divine within. She enjoys accompany others on their journey to wholeness discovering the person they were created to be.]