I love this picture above. It is all participants from The Circle Way Practicum earlier this month (except two that were unable to be there — we had collages they created to represent them). I love the picture because it brings back a palpable energy and memory.
One of the teachings that I really found helpful at the practicum was the one on Circle Energetics. I think I found simple words that I’ve been searching for to help describe and understand what I’ve been observing and feeling for a long time in groups about the more subtle yet essential dynamics at play. It comes in these three statements from one of the handouts.
“All living systems emit registerable fields of energy — including us.” I think of it as a vibration. It helps me to think of the first science classes I had when introduced to the properties of waves. They have a frequency (how many cycles in a given time period), an amplitude (height of the wave), and a wavelength (distance between crests). I can see the squiggly lines on paper from those science classes. It helps me to think of those lines when I watch people interacting. I’m making it sound more tangible that I mean it. I mostly feel it, this field of energy. I give myself permission to describe it as vibration to understand even more.
“All interactions between living systems activate these energetic fields.” I think of any human group as a living system. At the practicum, it was the group of 22 of us. My cohost, Amanda Fenton and I designed in a whole lot of interaction for the group — partners, small groups, the full group, solo reflection, play (and of course meals, social time, and sleep). The practicum is more than teaching a methodology, though it is that. It’s activating an energetic field. Now we are getting somewhere, right. It feels like a magician’s secret made clear to help make the uncommon, common.
“Circle organizes the energy emitted by interaction.” This one is the kicker for me that I’m learning the most about. My experience is that Circle creates container for that interaction, and that energy, to make more sense. It creates a kind of coherence that seems fully natural and palpable. One of the things that has helped me learn this more fully is to notice how that energy dissipates when the circle is complete or when the event is over. What felt really clear and simple, becomes fuzzy and more difficult to remember. Almost like a dream — you wake in the middle of the night with it thinking you’ll never forget it. By morning, you wake for the day and it’s completely gone. It is my experience that Circle organizes and clarifies — the best description of depth I’ve found is that it is organizing that energy so that we can access information in another, and often shared, way.
It was a fun piece to teach with Amanda. And it’s been a fun and helpful piece, this clarity of Circle energetics, to notice staying with me. Like the memory of a good meal shared with friends. Or a good party. It stays with us, right. My guess is that it’s the energetic that most lingers.