Where is the “head” of the circle?
Geometrically speaking… there isn’t one. Each point on the circle can be treated as both the beginning and the end. Each point has equal status.
To me, there is profound beauty in the Circle.
By contrast, it was easy to figure out who is at “the head” of the dinner table, at least at my Dad’s house. He was at one end, my “difficult” (cough) stepmother at the other. The 8 kids sat on benches, jockeying for position closest to the pancakes. The bigger brothers usually won.
It’s also easy to figure out who is at the top of the corporate pyramid: The Boss! And then the layers of people who boss over those below until you get to the “bottom of the pecking order.”
At least that’s the traditional model, and it’s been traditional and wide-spread, I believe, because…
Our primitive brain knows all about The Hierarchy… and our Status.
But what kind of status? That depends on the context…
Smarts? Beauty? Physical size and strength? Influence? Money!!
Titles of Nobility? Land ownership? Chain of command? Military rank? Fashion and style? Level of Education?
Popularity?!??! (social media followers, anyone?)
Deep parts of our brain understand hierarchy…
Our brain even craves the pleasure hit we get from moving up in status.
There is also a sense of “comfort” knowing where we are in the pecking order (and anxiety when we feel we’re at risk of losing our place).
You see, status comes with the Primal Imperatives… which are
- Protect the status you have
- Gain status if you can without too much risk of successful attack against you
- And sadly, the primal reaction to be aware of those with less status and “keep them in their place.”
What place? Their place… in the Primal Hierarchy.
Doesn’t feel very Emotionally Free, does it?
In our quest for Emotional Freedom for All, we become aware of primal hierarchy and the way our body-mind reacts to it. Your reaction may be:
- To compete, and WIN!!
- To struggle to keep the status quo
- To hide (even hide in plain sight) to avoid being challenged or being “put down.” (You know that a “put down” is about status, right?)
And there are others. Status anxiety is a flavor of social anxiety where everywhere you go you feel less than, or feel on the alert for those with higher status or those challenging yours. Heck, pretending “You The MAN! And there ain’t no one better than YOU” is, to my ears, a form of status delusion befitting a King (or President).
Chances are such people are not listening to this.
The Status-Game works well for those with certain kinds of attributes.
People like us, we certainly have our gifts. Some of those gifts might work really well in the Status-Game, too. But… we want Emotional Freedom! And, we are also willing to generously desire Emotional Freedom for All beings… Therefore…
We are the ones who are likely to explore new models of relating and engaging and co-creating.
That’s what this is about… power WITH (the energy of the circle) not power OVER (the energy of hierarchy). And THANK YOU for showing up to explore this with me. It feels like it’s time for emotionally aware people to engage differently as often as we can… and co-create spaces and places where that might be increasingly possible.
With that in mind, I’m going to share a guided feelization. And here’s a pro tip: you can use this even if the people are not “arranged” in a physical circle. This is a heart energy orientation exercise that can be done around a square table (even with the boss at the head) or in a Zoom video conference room with people joining from around the world. You can do it solo internally or out loud with others who are open to being attuned this way, too.
We start with cultivating feelings of Togetherness.
When people are co-regulating, something profound happens in their heart field – the energy that both affects the body and radiates out to infuse the We-Space outside the body.
It’s our heart field that more easily touches, supports, and interacts in ways that allow for feelings of Togetherness that are not “concerned” with status.
Have you ever had such a feeling of Togetherness? See if you can remember a moment when status faded into the background and you felt… more oneness… greater ease… supported in a way that felt generous and mutual without needing to be spoken.
My name for this is the Shared Heart.
Now, let’s layer in the geometry of the Circle.
Imagine that a group of people with diverse gifts are coming together. A circle starts to form. As a few more people arrive, you see the circle open up to make room for others… There’s a willingness to make space, to welcome, and moments of expansion as the circle gets bigger as each person joins.
Take a breath as you walk up and join this circle yourself. A space opens for you, the circle expands, and you have an equal spot amongst this diverse group.
Take a moment and let go of any stories you have about the individuals present. Our status brain makes up stories, doesn’t it? Take a breath, and consciously choose to let the stories go and be replaced with a soft curiosity.
Next take another breath and feel gravity working. Let your body allow gravity to embrace you and relax a bit more towards the Earth. Take another breath and realize that gravity is there for all of us. We share both gravity and the Earth right now, and this circle.
As you take another breath, become aware of how you might be feeling “status” wise. Are you looking for who the leader is? What if there is none? If this makes you anxious, perhaps do some tapping to soothe your primitive brain’s arousal.
Allow yourself to become aware again of your breath and also the breath of those all around the circle. As you do, expand your awareness to include the hearts of all the people, too. Imagine there is a radiance coming from each person, some soft and nourishing, some alive and vibrant, some with asking for support.
Again, let go of any notion that one form of heart radiance is of higher status than another. See if you can realize that different colors complement each other. Notice how if everyone were vibrating The Same Way that it might feel flat and monotonous… that each color and sound of Us can, if we let it, come into a unified harmony that becomes… the Shared Heart.
If you are feeling at all “less than” anyone else around this circle, take another breath and allow yourself to be more in your body, more Present, and feel your key place in the circle. If you walked away right now, the circle would have a gap… and then it would have to contract to stay a circle. Your presence is important, just as important as anyone else’s!
If any part of you is trying to take charge, assert control or dominion, or be seen as “brighter and more valuable” than anyone else… smile at that part of you. Invite it to… let go of the striving which takes so much energy… and just be here, now. There’s no need to assert or control. We’re engaging in circle play, and you’re so welcome here… We all are.
Take another deep breath and just notice what you feel.
Circle time allows for the shared experience of relief and presence.
And while co-creating that’s less about status may be awkward these days, it is a truly sweet experience.
We have often looked to charismatic leaders to “bring the people together.” I propose it is people like you and me who can be hosts, facilitators, and catalysts for circles to form with the intention of being rich with realness and quiet in status.
I know this is possible. I facilitate a circle like this and have for 14 years. I’m part of dance circles that do this, too. I’ve been in workshops where the circle energy is truly present. And it’s in my home…
These experiences have changed my heart and my brain. I find myself ever more hungry and curious for co-creation with other people. These days…
Honestly, primal hierarchy bores me.
There’s so much more I hope we will explore together on this.
Episode 7 ~ Emotional Freedom for All Podcast