Bringing The Circle Way home into our family rituals

In Chapter 12 of The Circle Way: A Leader in Every Chair, our founders Ann and Christina write about “Circle as a Way of Life,” and include vignettes on how circle is used by families. Below Jan Adam, one of our practitioners from the Netherlands, shares a beautiful story of how he and his family used The Circle Way to create the ritual to say good-bye to house that had been their long-time home.

Bringing The Circle Way Home into Our Family Rituals

The house that had been our home for nineteen years was empty now. In a few days we would hand over the key to the new residents. Although our four children were not born in this house, they grew up here. They brought home their first boyfriends and girlfriends. Here, we had our quarrels, shared our beautiful moments. Here, was the terrible accident with our son David that put our family under great pressure. Here, is where we laughed and cried and held hands through life’s inevitable ups and downs.

Now we stood here, my wife Jeannette and I, and were surprised to be overcome by a loving melancholy. That evening we sent a message to the kids: “Come tomorrow night at seven with a dear story about this house and what we have experienced here. Bring an object with you to reinforce your story. Tomorrow we will say goodbye to this house”.

In the now empty living-room we arranged garden and camping chairs in a circle, placed a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers in the centre together with a well-known candlestick, and prepared drinks and snacks. Once seated around, from the moment the bell rang, there was magic.

I guess the spirit of the house was curiously present from that first moment of this gathering to the last. The stories shared were both moving and hilarious. I share one of them with you:


Our daughter Esmee brought Dribbel's dog leash for her story. Dribbel, a Jack Russell terrier, a deeply loved part of our family for sixteen years, passed four years ago. Esmee remembered how Dribbel always came to her wagging and happy, hoping for a hug, especially if everyone was angry with her. This was the moment when our dear dog Dribbel came in our circle.

We sat together in circle for two hours, once again feeling deeply connected under the safe roof of this house. In addition to the object that everyone put in the circle’s centre, each family member placed their house keys, one by one. As always, that long moment of silence between two rings of the bell deepened our presence, our memories, our experiences.

Afterwards, as we prepared to depart, everyone agreed that Jeannette would close the door behind us for the very last time and turn the key. It was a clear night when we left. And although I cannot say that I am clairvoyant, I do believe the house spirit smiled at that very moment and waved us goodbye.


Jan Adam is a facilitator, trainer, advisor in the field of development, change and learning. Inspired by nature and its spirituality, he brings an authentic, intuitive and creative approach to applying The Circle Way to the social, organizational and not-for-profit sectors in the Netherlands