A Guide to Circling: An Authentic Relating Activity

This is a guide I’ve developed that I find super useful with newbies to Circling – it helps convey the basic concepts quickly, so we dive deep and play more easily together, right from the start. It also allows those who are not interested, go on to something else! This guide helps those who want to know the “rules” (and eventually discover they are only guides) and allows me to more easily give feedback mid-Circling as people are learning.

I’ve been facilitating and co-facilitating Authentic Relating (AR) events with Authentic Portland since 2014 and Authentic Seattle since 2018. This approach has helped me personally get more into curiosity and connection, rather than coaching, and to get more subtle at my coaching, in ways that clients often find easier to receive. To learn more about AR and Circling, read on…

AR is about what is real and now. It’s about what you are feeling and experiencing in your bodily felt sense. It’s about your actual thoughts and emotions in the moment, whether they be scared, joyful, sad, etc. It’s about the nature of connectedness when you look into the eyes of another being. Authentic Relating is a growing movement with communities around the globe gathering to connect and enrich our human experience. The two most common AR activities are Transformational Games & Circling. (https://www.authrev.com/worldwide-connection & http://www.circlinginstitute.com/circling/what-is-circling/)

CIRCLING is a way for us to practice presence in relationship with others. It is a group experience that leaves space for individual emotional expression, reflection and sharing of impact – where we are encouraged to follow our impulses, speak our truths, and explore relating with one another authentically in the present moment. The practice of circling allows us to slow down, bring our attention to our own felt experience, and share our inner worlds with one another, noticing what happens within us and what arises within the group as we do so. The intention is to connect from a place of curiosity and to strive for clarity as we bring awareness to what is implicit and make it explicit. The goal is not to change one another, but instead to be with what is, celebrating and honoring who and where we all are right now. As we circle, we practice breaking through the assumptions and projections we may have about each other to allow for deeper connection and greater understanding to emerge.