Archive: First Circle Among Friends

By Dr. Susanne Holtkamp
August 1, 2007

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This month's circle tale comes from Dr. Susanne Holtkamp, who lives in Lienen, Germany near Osnabrück. After attending the Circle Practicum in April 2007, Susanne was inspired to incorporate it into her women's circle. Professionally, she consults in facilitation and project management. Her story illustrates again how adaptable the structure of circle is, that it can be successfully introduced into social and business settings.

A few days ago I called my first circle with four very good friends. We are sisters in our heart, meeting for years already. After dinner we sat down in the circle in my living room (for the whole day I had done nothing other than prepare it).

I explained some basic rules, read a short poem and then we started. As we are so familiar with each other, I just asked them to tell what is important at the moment. The first round was a bit like "becoming warm." After this round, I asked them to take one of the talking pieces from the middle when they wanted to speak. The items we talked about were: getting old and what we (cannot) expect from our children, being alone, death, our relationships, our being so imperfect as mothers...

Sometimes I tapped my Tibetan bowl to have a pause. The intensity of the circle impressed me. Though we are familiar with each other, it was a big difference in the way we listened and talked. Some of us got deep, new insights.

I had planned to finish the circle by holding hands and blowing the candle out together. But I did not know how to introduce that. Finally it was no problem: When I said we will finish now, my friend Karin, sitting next to me, raised her hand and asked us to hold hands in the circle!

Afterwards, we moved to another room. We sat near a fire and talked for about one hour about our feelings with the circle. The way we talked to each other was different and very sensitive. At the end one of us spoke a blessing and then everyone went home.

I am very satisfied with my first own circle experience.