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INNER LIFE CIRCLES 

      a self liberating practice...

        

 

 

    Present time, body centered, self inquiry



INTRODUCTION:


There is nothing inherently difficult, tricky, or secret about body centered self inquiry --- it is simply compassionate self reflection in which nothing is discounted, meaning each and every expression of your being is welcomed and valued.  Focusing, when done in pairs or groups, is the format I have found most effective in strengthening one's presence, minimizing interference by the mind, and maximizing authentic inner expression.  When one sits back and patiently waits for something to arise from inside, there is no need for a starting place or agenda, anything can show up as it needs to.  There is, indeed, a whole world waiting to be discovered within.  And, believe it or not, it is every bit as compelling and meaningful as the external world we are accustomed to attending to.  


So, get together with a few friends some afternoon or evening and, rather than engaging in your customary socializing, activities, distractions or entertainment, try out the Inner Life Circles model.  Many of us think nothing of going to a movie, show, play, or game for a couple hours to observe or witness something.  You may find that observing others doing their inner work is at least as interesting and even more gratifying, and a heck of a lot less expensive.  There's a good chance you'll discover new, unexpected, things about yourself and each other.


GET TOGETHER AND DROP INWARD  ----  YOU ARE WORTH IT!



PURPOSE:

Individuals getting together in groups to deepen self-awareness and promote wholeness through the practice of giving and receiving attention with an attitude of unconditional respect and radical acceptance.  A safe, welcoming environment supports each person to explore and express one’s present time inner experience, instead of relating via customary patterns of social interaction and dialogue.  The format utilized for self exploration in Inner Life Circles is adapted from the peer counseling process known as Focusing:  

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Focusing ; http://www.focusing.org/ ; http://www.focusingresources.com


ORGANIZATION:





Ongoing groups dedicated to practicing respectful listening as participants take turns exploring their present-time inner experience, the goal being to deepen one's understanding of self and others by applying and practicing the basic rules and principles (see below).

Weekly evening meetings, not to exceed 3 hours in length (e.g. 7 to 10 PM), held at a comfortable, private location of the group’s choosing.

Begin with a core group of capable, motivated individuals, who learn and master the basic rules and principles (see below) to a degree where their circle can provide a safe and supportive atmosphere for welcoming new members.  As the circle grows too large for the meeting space, it divides to start one or more new circles. 

SUGGESTED MEETING FORMAT:

Ratio of no more than 3 inexperienced participants to each experienced one.

Safe, quiet, comfortable, private meeting space having sufficient breakout spaces.

Circular seating with space for a group of up to 24 people.

Rotating shared leadership (no leadership hierarchy).



BASIC RULES & PRINCIPLES:

  • Whatever is demonstrated, expressed, and shared is voluntary (fully under the control of each individual).
  • Whatever one shares is not subject to interruption, comment, or discussion without that person’s permission.
  • Whatever is shared during each meeting is confidential and not to be shared with anyone else.
  • Every person (and the contents of his/her heart and soul) matters and is a gift to the world.
  • The inherent value and worth of each person is unconditional and undeniable.
  • Each person’s presence, contribution, and expression matters and makes a difference.
  • Everyone has the right to inhabit/protect their own safe and secure physical space/body.
  • Points of view and ways of experiencing and expressing reality are unique to each individual.
  • The value and worth of each individual is honored through respectful communication (no exceptions).
  • Listening and sharing are skills that can improve through awareness and practice. 
  • Respectful listening means witnessing without interrupting, suggesting, advising, or fixing.
  • Deeper connection with self & others is facilitated by anchoring one’s self in the body in present time. 
  • Unconditional attention, acceptance, allowing, affection and appreciation (5 A’s) facilitate self exploration.
  • Expressing how one is affected or moved by another is a form of gratitude that can enhance connection.
  • Mistakes are welcomed as necessary & valuable ingredients in the process of human learning.