What are talking circles?
Talking circles, sharing circles, or healing circles are deeply rooted in the traditional practices of indigenous people. Talking circles are exactly what it sounds like – a group of people, usually sitting in a circle, who talk. However, there is a big distinction between a social gathering and a true talking circle. In fact, the process and style of communication are completely different. It is common for people to experience a gathering as a place where the people who speak are usually assertive individuals. We often don’t purposefully make space for every person to share.
Talking circles are a safe space, without any hierarchical order, where each person is given the opportunity to speak. Furthermore, a talking circle is actually more like a listening circle – the person sharing does not receive feedback or a response from others. Instead, deep listening is at the core of communication. The person talking passes around a talking piece, an object with special symbolism used traditionally in talking circles. Only the person holding the talking piece could speak.
Why attend talking circles?
The purpose of talking circles is to share ourselves with others in a safe space. Especially, it means that each person’s feelings or thoughts are deeply heard – without judgment. In a talking circle, we can acknowledge each other’s experiences while understanding that everyone is different.
Simply being in a non-judgmental space can be transformative.
Not only do talking circles offer to hold space for us to share, but they also challenge us to own our own story. People are encouraged to speak from their own experience, instead of generalizing.
To go from saying “As parents, we are hard on ourselves” to stepping into your own experience and saying “I am hard on myself” is an important shift in perspective.
If you are the kind of person who is usually quieter in groups, talking circles give you a chance to be heard. Research from the University of California shows that sharing our struggles helps calm down our “Fight or flight” response. In fact, this can help us self-regulate our emotions better. In a talking circle, you can express yourself without feeling judged or unheard. Talking circles are designed for expression without the need for solutions. That is what makes them so powerful. Being there for someone, listening with our hearts, can sometimes be the best way to support them.
Who can benefit from talking circles?
Everyone can benefit from sharing circles. They provide you an opportunity to speak up if you are the quiet type. They give you an opportunity to learn deep listening if you are usually the talker. Also, hearing about other people’s experiences can give you a new perspective on yourself. What is more, it can help you feel less alone in your own daily life and lived experience.
Actually, you’d be surprised what self-expression can do when you get a chance to do it within an open and non-judgmental space.
Mindful Parent offers FREE Parent Circles for you!
For that reason, we offer FREE Parent Circles!
We would love to see you join us. Don’t miss this opportunity!