Tips: getting started with start-points

Joanne’s story on how she used The Circle Way with school leaders inspired further thought on the circle’s start-point.

Getting Started with the Start-point

“One of the hallmarks of circle process is that it has boundaries – beginning, middle, and end. Start-point is an essential element that calls in the contained space for practicing attentive listening and intentional speaking that needs to occur, even if the full components (of circle practice) are not named.” The Circle Way page 83

Start-points differentiate the transition from social space to intentional conversation space, helping us make the transition thoughtfully, easefully, respectfully.

Start-points begin to focus us on the circle’s intention and purpose.

Start points are small yet significant events that can invite a moment of creativity, beauty and fun.

Invite a “leader in every chair” to share their unique ways to start the circle.

Ways to Start

  • Silence – Invite people to get comfortable, to place any items from their laps to under their chairs, to ground their feet, close or lower their eyes, and breathe into their bellies for several moments. You might invite them to think about their highest intention for the circle and their contribution.
  • Poetry – In a previous post, Sharon Faulds shared how she uses poetry, both as a start-point, and to close circles, including some of her favourites. The poetry collections Teaching with Fire, Leading from Within, and Teaching with Heart, while composed of poems used by teachers and leaders, include popular classic and contemporary poems that fit many occasions.
  • Stating the circle’s intention or vision.
  • Evoke a blessing or prayer.
  • Playing music or a sharing singing a song (consider providing the lyrics) can engage people differently and evokes a different energy.
  • A reading - An excerpt from a book can create a powerful focus. Children’s story books are full of wisdom. A short one, read while showing the pictures can be a light and touching way to invite attention.
  Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

What are your favourite start-points?