Week 1: Sharing Circle 101
What is a Sharing Circle?
A sharing circle is when a group of people come together to speak honestly and openly about a particular subject. It could simply be sharing how you feel in the moment, or it might be around a specific theme, such as relationships, sex, a political event, shame, jealousy, menstruation, whatever.
There are basic rules and guidelines to a sharing circle, which enable the participants of the group to feel safe and relaxed enough to really open up, be vulnerable and truthful.
We want to get to this point, because this is where the magic is, and where healing can occur.
Basic Rules and Guidelines
Confidentiality: Whatever is shared in this circle, stays in this circle. You are welcome to speak to people outside of this space about your own experiences, or something that you shared, but not to share any details from anybody else’s sharing, even if you think those people will never meet. This rule is of utmost importance, and gives people the freedom to say what is really in their hearts.
No interrupting: When one person is sharing, everyone else just listens. At this point you should emphasise just how powerful the simple action of witnessing is. There’s no need to say anything, your presence is enough.
We don’t give advice: After someone has finished sharing we don’t give advice or offer reflections, unless that person has specifically asked for it. We also don’t start talking about how we had a similar experience, and oh my god I know exactly what that’s like.
Speak from I statements: Try not to use the phrase ‘you know when you just wake up and….’ instead be courageous and say, ‘when I wake up, I feel this way’. Never assume that you know someone else's experience, or that they have the same experience as you. Using the word ‘you’ can also be a way of deflecting attention away from owning the truth of your experience.
Everything is welcome: Whatever emotions are present are welcome, and whatever you feel is real. Your experience is valid, and if that comes out in tears, or you feel rage bubbling up, that’s ok. This is a container to hold all of that.
Nobody has to share: if you don’t feel like talking in the moment you can pass on, and we can always come back to you at the end if you change your mind.