Principles for Circles that Stay Together


These principles are derived from many years of experience, both Berkana’s and that of many others.

1.  Self-organize among friends, people you already have a connection with

2.  Keep the circle small, from two to eight people works best

3.  Reach agreement about the purpose:

– As Gathering Friends, we come together to be not to do
– We do not gather to plan, fix, problem-solve or create projects

4.  Determine the frequency of meeting and the medium of communication. Hold these boundaries well, as a discipline; don’t let the pressures of life erode your time together:

– Once a month meetings of a few hours have proved very powerful
– Each person does everything possible not to miss a session
– Knowing we will meet again removes the pressure to deal with everything now

5.  Create agreements about behaviors.  Let these be aspirations of how you learn to be together rather than descriptions of your present skill level.  Useful agreements include:

– We strive to be open and honest
– We strive to be present as open-hearted listeners
– We resist the impulse to give advice or solve another’s problems
– We trust in the healing power of being listened to
– We trust in every person’s ability to determine their own best actions
– We take personal responsibility for noticing our triggers, perceptions, and projections
– We commit to stay, even through difficult times
– We expect to encounter deep emotions and try not turn away from them
– We expect to journey together through both broken-heartedness and joyfulness
– We maintain a sense of humor, knowing this helps greatly
– We anticipate many moments of delight, grace, and joy