Starting with the purpose of the circle, alignment of values and expectations are crucial for trust and intimacy. Clear agreements that everyone can affirm are vital to the success of the circle..
Foundational to all conscious agreements are The Four Agreements described by don Miguel Ruiz. From my perspective, The Four Agreements should be a requirement for Life 101 and certainly a prerequisite for and collective endeavor. Based on my understanding, The Four Agreements provide the foundation to challenge the agreements of our social conditioning, and to establish new agreements for more conscious and connected relationships.
The Four Agreements
- Be impeccable with your word
- Don’t take anything personally
- Don’t make assumptions
- Always do your best
Pick up the book, The Four Agreements by Ruiz, to dig deeper into the wisdom of these agreements that are informed by Ruiz’ indigenous Toltec tradition.
Built on The Four Agreements, agreements can be developed specific to the intention and needs of the circle. Basic foundational agreements include respect and honor, honest and compassionate communication, non-judgment and confidentiality. Some examples are as follows.
Heart Circles are built on agreements related to Tej Steiners “five ways of being” in his book Waking UP with everyone around us. The agreements are based on the themes of:
- Being clear together
- Being present together
- Being real together
- Being connected together
- Being heart-directed together
Healing Circles, Talking Circles, Peace Circles, etc. are similar to heart circles with the purpose to provide a safe place for sharing and support for the “being” of each other’s life journey. Influenced by The Circle Way by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea and Hidden Wholeness by Parker Palmer, Healing Circles Global starts with these agreements:
- We treat each other with kindness and respect
- We listen with compassion and curiosity.
- We honor each other’s unique ways to healing and don’t presume to advise or fix or try to save each other.
- We hold all stories shared in the circle confidential.
- We trust each of us has guidance we need within us and we rely on the power of silence to access it.
Learning and Vision Circles
With a focus on “learning” or “doing”, the agreements of a Learning or Vision Circle varies a bit from Heart and Healing Circles. The foundations of respect, communication, and confidentiality remain the same, but details may be adjusted to fit the intention and needs of the circle
For more information and resources, check out Healing Circles Global, as well as the books Waking Up, The Circle Way, Hidden Wholeness, and Wisdom Circles.
For a deeper dive into agreements, check out The Book of Agreement by Stuart Levine, and Revolutionary Agreements by Marian Head. For any long term collaborative project, I especially encourage taking a look at The Co-Creators Agreements which were first established by the Geneva Group that Marion Head gave birth to in 1985.