SAS+ 2½ years with circling

I am sitting in Schiphol airport, waiting for my plane back to Copenhagen, after having spent the last four days at SAS+, a circling leadership training hosted by Circling Europe. While I have a hard time remembering the whole experience of the last days I feel quite impacted and emotionally open.

It was a bit strange for me to go to Amsterdam for the event. On one hand the training fitted well in my current life position, where I am moving into an unknown future with no job and no clear direction in an attempt find out what my unique contribution to the world is. On the other I knew no one apart from the leaders (it turned out I had met one of the participants before) and I worried that I would find it hard to connect or keep myself distanced and “invisible”. I noticed how much I have gotten used to either leading circles or being together with people dear to me when I circle – most often both. It turned out very differently than I had feared and I feel pride and joy in seeing how far I have moved since I started circling around 3 years ago.

Not knowing what to do (and trusting that not knowing) seems to be at the core of it.

Rather than being certain of what the right course of action is (I remember spending hours and hours in frustration at my SAS, trying to find out what was going on for me), I seem to have become better at trusting the uncertainty and moving into the unknown. Instead of thinking through what to say, making it perfect and impossible to criticize, just speaking the messy experienced truth in the moment. Noticing the short glimpses of attraction/frustration/fear that constantly opens up in the space (for example resistance to look at someone or desire to touch someone) and using these as the first points of exploration.

I have tried to describe some of the remarkable experiences I had during the training in the following bullets.

1. I was struck with the notion that there is a bigger truth to what is going on in the circling space – feeling a core love for everyone present. The metaphor was that we are all in the same tribe and even though some people are quirky and different from me, we are all here to learn and help each other develop. Another way of saying the same would be that it is not a problem that I feel angry with someone, as long as I do it in connection, by holding that deeper truth in my heart. It is possible to be connected in disconnection.

The “tribe” has a transcendent principle.
The growth of everyone.
The life of everyone.
The development of everyone.
Is important, regardless of the strife and conflict we experience.

This is for me analogous to the world, where the question becomes something like: How can I be with paradox of trusting the post-modern deconstruction of absolute truths and critique of the modern rationalism while at the same time trusting that there are more transcendent truths. It also reminds me of something Ronja always says when we meet in disagreement or conflict – “I long for us to be on the same side of this”. For me, this realization (although simple to the level of the banal) feels very important and I imagine that the ability to hold the larger truth (that we are really all on the same side) while being in disagreement will be something I will learn more from in the future.

2. Going deeper into when to speak/do and when to not do anything. Noticing my own “jealousy” when not being the one that manages to open up a situation or be right. My rational sense tells me that I don’t have to be the one that does anything and that it is of as much value to not do anything if that is what the situation requires. I do however find that I struggle in this and that there is room for deeper exploration.

On the other hand I feel very proud of myself and how I am able to navigate I circling space. I have more trust in my surrendered leadership than ever before and feel strongly for bringing it more.

3. How strongly I react to requirements being made of me. My reaction to someone else putting responsibility for their pain on me (by telling me that “I have to” help or be there), was an extremely strong defensiveness…a feeling of being a cornered animal, ready to fight for its life, or until death for its freedom.

4. There is so much love and care in me and it feels wonderful to allow that to be expressed. I felt so much friendly love for the people gathered in the training, but also experienced quite profound connections with people going much more into attraction and sexuality – meeting in that truth without expectation of anything but the realness of the meeting itself feels wonderful.

5. An image of the deep longing in me, connecting to an image of a dark forest lake.

6. I had the most amazing experience of melding completely together with another person. It felt like our bodies and energies were completely in tune. Makes me want to play around with tantric arts and to practice surrender more. The ability to rest in someone else without the constant (although subtle) feeling that I should be giving something back or be doing something.

7. I experienced a subtle move from noticing pointing at my longing (something I have become quite good at over the last years) which often leads to very intense, but stuck situations of feeling into both the yearning for something and the resistance to go there. During the SAS+ I felt that I found a deeper level of surrender which feels like holding out my heart by doing/revealing what I long for right now, in the moment – a more embodied way of being than the freeze of yearning/resistance. It is a move from being able to point to the way that I shield myself (which feels relatively easy these days) to slowly reaching out a hand from within the shield or expanding myself, until the limit of me becomes aligned with the border of the shield.

8. I found myself rediscovering how difficult it feels for me to navigate my love/attraction for more than one person in the same space. In this I also noticed how I sometimes go into a weak/victim position when confronted with problematic situations and how hard it is for me to stay with the love in such a situation. How I distance myself out of fear of hurting someone (or maybe being hurt myself) instead of staying with what is true to me in the moment. How hard it is to stay with the transcendent principle that we are actually on the same side, when I feel hurt or defensive.

The experiences in the training connects to my general development in life, where it feels like I am preparing myself to really let go of the safety line which is holding me back, and trust in love instead. When I finished the SAS training in february 2016 the core question that got to my was: “am I really allowed to live like this/am I really allowed to love like this?” and it seems I am getting closer to a “YES”.

In my last I ching reading this showed up: “to relate with steadiness to something outside your experience brings good fortune”, “Relate to something larger, a bigger story, something that expands and opens”, “understand mundane activities as parts of a larger story”, “invest the best you have in the gathering” and “build a new world out of relationships”.

and maybe speaking more to the core of my search for the unique gift I have to the world.

“Before you can set out single mindedly towards a chosen goal you must gather your people and your resources. The stronger your purpose the more you will be willing to invest; the more you invest, the less likely you are to turn back…”

I feel very happy to have connected to a new circling tribe and to have found new friends and loved ones. I feel full of gratitude.