For Crimson Marquee as well as other Groups and Circle in the community
Circles are a great way of
- networking with one another
- workshopping skills & ideas
- sharing a warm space with other like minded women
- self awareness & knowledge building
- gathering information and ideas
- teaching others our wisdoms
- building relationships with ourselves and others
- Experiencing areas such as spirituality or practical skills
- Supporting one another and ourselves
There is also a list of what a circle ISN’T or cannot be a substitute for, which is one reason why this article by the etiquette Aunty is brought forth; to make the place and happier and more fulfilling community time, getting to be all those things listed above and more!
This article is designed for us to know HOW best to be mindful of our own needs to be genuine to get the most from taking part in circles and events, without impeding on others ability to also do the same.
Many of the elements and areas discussed can be taken to other social & circle contexts, and used for many group circles and activities out there in the wider community. Please feel free to use these as a template or for ideas for other groups and endeavours. Each point is illustrated as areas to be mindful of to remember, and not necessarily ‘rules’ or boundaries.
Consent: Balancing Openness and Etiquette
The circles at Crimson Marquee are very easy going and known for its open approach to womens circles. You are under no obligation to take part in everything, where everything is based on unconditional consent. Unconditional consent means there is no judgment placed on anyone making a decision when it comes to themselves, such as not wanting to take part in something, like sitting out a meditation or conversation. You are thus free to burp, fart, stretch, go grab a water, sit, stand – anything that you need to do for your empowerment and experience as long as it doesn’t impose on anyone elses journey. We encourage everyone to be genuine to themselves and others. The only limitation is that we ask everyone to be mindful of others in also having that ability to be genuine and honest.
Though we share our experiences, we can only own our own feelings and responsible for our own selves. This means that although we ask for advice, wisdom sharing or support with any given issue or situation, it is not acceptable to ask anyone to own our problems or feelings for us, nor should we allow ourselves to carry the feelings or responsibilities for other people.
If we own an issue for someone else, we are doing a disservice to that person by not allowing them to learn the lessons themselves. By asking others to take our responsibilities, it means we do ourselves that disservice and may lay weight on others who may wish to concentrate on their own journeys.
There is a line between supporting a person to help themselves, and holding a persons responsibilities as our own. So as an example, it is okay to ask someone for their opinion or thoughts, but not ok if we ask them to make decisions for us or ask them to tell us what to do. Or instead of asking & accepting an opinion or piece of wisdom from another person, demanding another person tells you what to do in a given situation or issue, or get them to make a decision for you. It is unfair to have someone else be responsible for your decisions and actions. In the words of many great etiquette aunties: “own your own shit. That shit will make some great compost for beautiful smelling roses one day…” Share your composting techniques, but don’t lay back and get someone else to compost your whole garden for you.
If you are unsure about a situation, or your own actions, please feel free to come ask a circle facilitator. This is something we all do very often, so there is no shame associated with being in this position, yet you can gain to much empowerment from becoming aware. So its not just circle etiquette, but also a great tool towards self awareness in ones life
Professional cross-over & consent
Many women who come to circle may be experts in a given field or be a mountain of information. You may be a professional tarot reader, a medical nurse or a mother of 8 children. This does not mean, however, that you are under any obligation to put on your professional hat and feel pressured to perform like a trained circus animal. If you wish to share your wisdoms and knowledge then you are more than welcome to do so as long as it does not impede on anyones journey.In other words, then please ask for consent first – even if you are a professional! A simple “ Can I share my thoughts with you?” is fine J And if they say no or back off, then we need to respect that boundary.
On that note, although it is ok to ask for advice or help from someone given their skills or profession, we should accept their answer if they say no. They may be there for their own personal reasons and need to focus on their own issues that day, and not on others. It is NOT ok to pressure anyone to do anything for you or be someone for you, or pressure them for free services. Saying “ oh just a quick one” after them declining twice already is not ok. As an example, though it is ok to ask a professional tarot reader to give you a reading or advice at an event or circle, it is not ok to pressure them to do so. If the person says “ im here to enjoy the circle, but if you would like a reading feel free to contact me another time” then please respect their boundaries.
Energy exchange: If a professional offers you some service in their free time, it is advised that you also give something of yourself in return. This doesn’t always mean money : it can be some service that you provide in energy exchange, or even a baked cake, or a little baby sitting – anything that would be appreciated! It is common courtesy to give something of yourself in return for time & energy given to you.
Time for Everyone
Circles, of any sort, run on some kind of time constraint. Even if there is no limit on the host or venue, there is a natural limit as to how long a group of people can keep their attention and energy focused, especially if circles run late and people get tired or minds wander off to how much sleep they get before going to work the next day. Therefor, it is important to be mindful about the time.
We can be time attentive in a number of ways:
- Therapy time: Remember that many circles (whether womens red tent or others), are generally around 3 hours long, with time set aside for any focus of the month and any workshop. Although your current issue may be important, we need to allow everyone who is present to have some time to express, share and discuss. ( A bit of mathematics for perspective: If everyone should speak for 40 mins each and there are 12 people present, that means 8 hours! ) If your point of discovery, journey or expression looks to dominate the circle for that day, you may be advised that it is best to discuss your case further into more detail after circle. This is especially in the case that the discussion turns into a one-on-one discussion across the circle that can be continued at a later time without disrupting the flow of the circle.
This is so we can honour both you with one-on-one time and assistance, whilst also honouring everyone present, as no experience is more or less important than anyone elses. If we move on to the next person, it does not mean we do not care about your situation, only that the care may be postponed a couple of hours so as to give others the chance to share themselves.
The circles are designed for sharing & support and are not designed nor equipped to be all-for-one therapy sessions and it can be unfair to ask all those present to focus on any one person whilst leaving no time left for their own stories and needs. If your issues are extensive, you may wish to also get guidance from other practitioners, such as social or medical therapists, counselling therapists, natural therapists, energy workers, readers – anything that is applicable to your case. The circles can possibly be all that given the range of qualified practitioners present in your own time and throughout the months, however, it cannot be all that in the space of one afternoon! It would even be prudent to think that long term changes can be made by hijacking a circle for your current needs. If you think you may have done this before – never fear as we all do it from time to time – this is simply a reminder, so that you may be mindful in future for yourself and for everyone present
- Relevance: Be mindful of keeping to the subject at hand. Though an occasional banter and giggle is perfectly relevant and fine, having a conversation turn to, say, a discussion on the cute panda currently at the zoo for 20 mins can mean that someone who needs to express themselves doesn’t get a chance to do so.
- Mirroring: We often have people be our mirrors. So if someone says something that grinds against you, or doesn’t say anything and that infuriates you or annoys you, or a person that annoys you everytime – please take the time to ask yourself what this person may be mirroring to you about yourself. Often the thing we don’t like about someone may be what we don’t like about ourselves. This is called ‘mirroring’. If anything, having this occur is a great tool towards self awareness and discovery if you choose to delve further and see it. In other circumstances, a grievance or annoyance could be because something has hot a raw nerve or boundary, and again, this may be something for you to take note of and look into further throughout the month. We have had wonderful open moments in these circles where people have said “ I didn’t like anything you said or did last month, but thats because i realised that what you talked about was exactly what was going on in my own life that I didn’t like and was ignoring…….”. These moments are very precious, this is where we get to truly delve into our shadows and come out the other side with a lot of self awareness and knowledge.
- Mobile phones: please turn your phone off during circle unless in cases of emergencies. If you need to leave your phone on in case of emergency or family, please let the hosts and facilitators know and then preferably have the phone switched to silent mode. Having a boppy pop song ringtone or rude funny Yoda chatting away ringtone come on during a focussed discussion or meditation can be a huge distraction for others. If you do receive a call you must take for any reason, please take your phone conversation outside. It is not ok to take your call and speak loudly on the phone whilst another person is speaking or a workshop is currently happening. This does happen out there, and in one case, a whole group stopping to wait until the person finished having a leisurely chat about stuff whilst sitting in circle! Etiquette aunty will not be impressed and ask you to kindly go outside. Yes the circle encourages you to be yourself and do what your mind & body needs at the time, but discussing what mary did at the nightclub the other night can surely wait for a couple of hours
Although there are special circumstances where people can arrive late (such as baby sitting issues, work commitments etc) it is courteous to let the facilitator and/or host know of your impending late arrival. This can be done with a simple phone call, sms or even email if you know ahead of time.This is so the group can be told to expect another arrival & doorbell ahead of time so as to not disturb the enrgy and flow of the afternoon/evening.
It is also not ok to arrive halfway through circle 1-3 hours late. Although you are welcomed at any time to come when you need to, please bear in mind that as a circle progresses, there is a sense of sacred space, solidarity and a bond within the circle. Momentum and atmosphere can be broken with the sudden arrival of new participants. Also, if you come half way or ¾ of the way through and do not contribute financially or otherwise to the circle that day, it can dishonour the time, energy and contributions that others put in that were punctual. Please be mindful of this in any events, circle or gathering out there in your communities
If you are listed as attending, please let someone know asap if you can no longer attend. This can be done either by taking yourself off any attending list, cancelling your booking online or an email/phone call. If we expect your attendance, we are often left running late waiting for people to show so that we may start with everyone in attendance. It is not a case of ‘no one will notice if I just don’t come”. It also means we are left turning bookings away at time keeping spaces for people who have little to no intention of coming, letting us know that your attendance status has changed will allow us to make the space available for others. Please do let us know if possible, if you are not able to attend or to be arriving late for any reason, so as best to accommodate both you and the group. Late bookings are also ok, though please, again, let us know asap. We have had instances where a workshop or event is catered with equipment and notes enough for a certain number, then struggled to accommodate people coming without a booking. Please be mindful that confirming numbers is a great help in having the evening run smoothly and least amount of panic moments
Talking stick please!
Within circle, and indeed in any social circumstance, it is a precious honoured moment when you can speak and be heard by those present. Knowing that others are being present and focused on your words. It is courteous to be mindful of this when present in circle, that we give attention and listen to others when they speak and share their story. Talking stick rules – the person who has ‘ the floor’ should..well…have the floor! You may feel like a naughty schoolgirl being told to shush up when someone else is talking, but this boundary is there for a reason. Its a case of ‘do onto others, what you yourself would want done to you. ‘
At Crimson Marquee you are always free to get up to go to the loo, get a drink of water, grab a tissue, go get a plate off the table, and anything else you may need at the time. But if you are present in the circle, please do give attention to those speaking at the time and be mindful that having private conversations across the circle, talking amongst yourselves or completely ignoring the person speaking is not something you would wish upon yourself. Therefore it shows good etiquette to not do it to others. There are times where a speaker may start to go off into tangents or dominate the time allocated to circle by hijacking it somewhat, ( times where its very hard to keep focus on them) which is discussed in another area of this article above. If concerned about this happening or anything else, please feel free to contact the facilitator or host with genuine feedback.
You get what you give
You get out of a circle what you put in. Any time and energy you put in, you should receive in return. This also means that if you put in the effort to be honest with yourself, break down some of your boundaries, allow yourself to take on board new perspectives and ideas – then you will ultimately get a lot more from being in the circle that day. So take a punt and explore the world of the unknown! Expecting ANY event, workshop or circle out there to change your life without being open and willing to actively take part in that process yourself goes back to owning your own stuff. So get returns on any investment, you first need to invest of course! Thats just a rule of business, physics, and any circle as well.
What happens in circle, stays in circle!
A circle is sacred, in that it is common etiquette and manners to not take what you hear and turn it into gossip or a bitch fiesta. Also, you may find that others that were not present may not see or feel the same impact from something you recollect, so don’t always expect your partner or friends to understand where you are coming from just because they are close to you.
So for example. You can chat to your partner at home and say “ one of the girls mentioned how she felt about her period as a teenager, and I realised I felt the same too, and it brought me to think about this and this”. Thats acceptable. Saying “Mary Mable said that she had menorrghagia as a teenager and still bleeds like a stuffed pig every month, and then Jane Do said she once had an affair” is not ok. Self explanatory really, but always needs mentioning just in case : that what you experience at circle in regards to others, stays at circle.
Everyone has their wisdom to share. Whether you are a professional and have some this a million times, or a young girl yet learning the ways of the world, guaranteed that your experiences are individual and that the wisdom and lessons you have to share will effect someone else listening. This is where even a young teen girl can have a pearl of wisdom that can teach something completely new to someone 3 times their age & experience. Or that a receptionist and mum might have a whole new perspective on healing that a professional healer of 20 years may not have thought of before. Never underestimate each other – its amazing the amount of knowledge sitting in one room of 10-14 women! Everyone present has the capacity to both give and receive in every circle