My journey to the Circle Practise
As I share the shift journey I have discovered that a beautiful way to tell the story about the elements of what we do is to tell the story about how that particular activity, practice or experience came to be in my world.
The story of men’s circle for me is one of the three fundamental components of the shift.
The first, is teaching the practice of meditation.
The second, is connecting people in circle (metaphorically around the campfire of old)
And the third is supporting and teaching them to embed these practices consistently into their lives.
From those three a whole host of related extensions occur, community, connection, capacity, wholesomeness, integrity, a life that works, purpose, etc.
I share / teach each of them because of the impact they have had on my world.
The genesis of the journey to circle is quite easy to pinpoint in the context of when I sat down in my first circle.
Its connection to my search for and creation of community, the genesis is more flourished and blurry because the search for community has been extensive and started at a relatively young age.
In the early 2000’s I did a course. It was called “Trusting the Masculine”. It was taught by an inspiring and unique man named Trevor Grey. He had sat at “the feet” of David Deida the author of “The Way of the Superior Man” and was a real proponent of his work.
I attended the course with two of my very close male friends one of whom was Brett Churnin, a man who to this day has joined me on this path of what it means to be a leader of ourselves and a leader of men.
The course took place over 12 weeks, one night a week and it was held in a boxing gym.
There were men there from various walks of life.
When I describe the course today I say that it felt like an “initiation into manhood of old” , a proper tribal initiation, stepping out of the boy and into the man.
The course was confronting on every level, physically, emotionally, spiritually and it had a very real impact on our lives.
When completing the course we spoke with Trevor about creating a circle and from there it was born.
At the time of writing this (2022) the original mens circle that we created still exists and we still meet fortnightly and have been doing so consistently for over 16 years.
That circle, those men are a pillar for me and I refer to circle as a pillar practice.
Those men know me better than anybody else, they know my darkness and my light, they know my victories and my defeats. They have held me when I have been broken and they have applauded when I have soared. They are my mirror. They are my confidantes, they are the people who will call it as they see it.
They are men of integrity, they are men causing and creating their lives. They are men who step up and step in. They are men who take themselves on.
And as Brett often says “ I simply would not be the man that I am today without these men and this circle”
About 12 years ago Brett and I agreed that we wanted to find a way to share the profound impact of mens circle with other men. So we went away for a weekend and created a curriculum / structure / guide as a step by step for how to create, hold, nurture and sustain a mens circle.
We called it “the mens circle field guide” and with the help of another man (Dan) in our circle we created a website and made the guide available to people everywhere.
In those days this kind of work was not on trend so as a result our SEO was great and the guide ended up being found and used by literally thousands of men across the planet from tribal Africa to prisons and monasteries in far flung reaches of Sandanavia and the USA.
In tandem with that both of us, especially Brett, continued to support men to create this framework.
In 2019 we took some of the original men, who had attended the early meditation for men course, on retreat in Bali. Each morning and afternoon we would gather in circle and share about what was coming up from us.
On day 3 or thereabouts, the obvious hit me like a lightning bolt, we weren’t just sitting in meditation together we were actually sitting in circle.
In that moment I realised that each of the cohorts of men who went through our meditation course were doing it as a circle.
And that marked the beginning of supporting each of those cohorts on a journey and through a process where they come to see themselves as a circle and understand the power of it.
I am humbled and blessed to say that every cohort that has gone through the course in its evolved form has remained a circle and get for themselves not just the incredible power of meditation but the incredible power of sitting in Circle.
Today those circles are meeting everywhere on a fortnightly basis, both face to face and online, and the practise of circle has become a fundamental pillar in these men’s lives.
In early 2022. We rebranded – Meditation For Men, Making Meditation Mainstream and The 22 Movement into “The Sit”
Part of that rebrand was extending our offering to both men and women.
Our courses remained gender segregated and we began to create our very first women’s circles.
I had never held space for women in this way or held circle for them. I found the experience profound, especially as we did not deviate in any way from the content, intent or way our work was taught and facilitated.
It became even clearer to me that this work is about the integrated person, the polarities (masculine and feminine) that exist in all of us. The understanding that they are not about gender. They are simply about these two powerful and opposing energies in all of us and the life journey or nurturing them, understanding them and using them in the appropriate way.
Aho to Circle