The purpose of a heart circle is to bring the participants into a closer connectedness with each other, to share from the heart and to build trust and friendship. There is no agenda except for what you bring in your heart. As a result, every heart circle is different.
How long does it last?
It lasts for as long as people want it to. However, there is no shame in leaving (or joining) a heart circle that is in progress.
How does it work?
We sit in a circle (more or less). We have an object, which could be anything, which is passed from person to person. The person currently holding the object may speak but everyone must listen. In American Indian tradition the object is referred to as a ‘talking stick’. When the talking stick is passed to you you may speak if you wish, but you do not have to. If you speak, it should be from the heart, that is, directly from your own experience and feelings. While you are speaking, everyone else will concentrate on what you are saying and will work hard to prevent their minds from wandering onto other matters.
What if I want to leave while the circle is in progress?
Wait until the current speaker has finished, get up quietly and leave. Do not speak to say goodbye etc. a visual gesture to say goodbye is a nice alternative.
What if I want to join a circle that is in progress?
Wait outside the circle until the current speaker has finished and then join the circle. You should position yourself on the opposite side of the circle to the person who has just spoken.
What if I do not want to speak when I am passed the talking stick?
It is perfectly OK not to speak when you get the talking stick. If at that time there is nothing you wish to say from the heart, or you simply feel a bit uncomfortable about speaking, you may simply pass the talking stick on to the next person. This is not unusual. For example, if you are new to heart circle, you may, initially, want to just listen to what others are saying while you get comfortable with the process.
How does a circle finish?
A circle is usually finished when the talking stick has passed around the circle with no-one wanting to add anything else to what has already been said
English is not my first language. Will it all be in English?
When someone speaks from the heart, the language they use is not too important. We usually use the language that most people in the circle understand, but sometimes people want to speak in their mother tongue. In these cases there is usually someone who can help translate but even without translation, somehow the deeper meaning still carries through.