facilitating & hosting

Practicing Circle

In the Art of Hosting we refer to a core pattern known as the Four Fold Practice.

It is simply an observation that great conversations happen when people are present, when they participate, when they are hosted well and when they co-create something. – Chris Corrigan

When it comes to circle practice in particular, I can often be heard on my soapbox encouraging practitioners to find a home circle to belong to – a place outside of your work that gives you a circle to be present in, to participate and practice the rotating leadership of The Circle Way, to be able to experience others’ circle hosting, and contribute to the generative co-creation that happens in circle. The world needs our skills, and we get better at circle when we are able to sit in our own circles and work on what is happening inside our own hoop. This is an example of the Four Fold Practice.

I hosted one of my home circles today and am sharing the flow of our two-hour circle to perhaps inspire your circle practice:

  • Check-in: What words would you use to describe where your head is? And where your heart is?
  • Start-point poem by John O’Donohue (included below)
  • Talking piece council, after each randomly selecting a card from the Question Everything deck, responding to the prompt “Why did this card choose me, and how might this question carry me forward over the next month?”
  • Talking piece council, again randomly selecting a card, responding to the prompt of “What surprise does this card offer me?”
  • Check-out round with words of closing and what we are taking with us from this circle
  • Closing poem by Martha Postlewaite (included below)

The two poems…

Fluent – John O’Donohue
I would like to live
Like the river flows:
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding

Clearing – Martha Postlewaite
Do not try to save the whole world or do anything grandiose.
Instead, create a clearing in the dense forest of your life
and wait there patiently,
until the song that is your life
falls into your own cupped hands
and you recognize and greet it.
Only then will you know how to give yourself
to this world
so worthy of rescue.

from the Question Everything card deck – What brings you back to life?



2 replies on “Practicing Circle”

Amanda –

I really like your idea about setting up personal circles as a way to support ourselves and one another in our use of circle. My recent experience has convinced me that “circle” is a way of being in the world, that can really make a difference in the quality of our lives. Thanks, too, for sharing your check-in, start point, focus questions and check-out — I want to come to your next circle! Be well. Hopefully one day soon we will be able to meet face to face. Jude