What is the Difference between a Surrendered Leadership Circle and an Organic Circle?

What is the Difference between a Surrendered Leadership Circle and an Organic Circle?

These two types of circles have emerged to actually be quite different…
let’s look at how. 

There is a subtle yet loud difference between an organic circle and a surrendered leadership circle, and as we look at the contrast between these two, the gap widens between them and we can perhaps experience them more intrinsically as indeed distinct, and thus hopefully learn how to experience and lead surrendered leadership circles with a quicker learning curve, leading to increased awareness and thus richness of life and relationship.

How These Circles Are the Same:  Awareness

First, though, the similarities. At an objective level, both an organic circle and surrendered leadership circle are circles with people noticing and/or following energy, and interacting with awareness—awareness in themselves, an awareness of others, and even of the circle “we” space.

However, just one layer below that they diverge.

How These Circles Are Different:  Leadership

Organic circles often have a designated facilitator who may be “ultimately responsible” for guiding or directing the circle or participation in the circle at times, and regardless of how loosely or tightly the facilitator’s holding of the space may be, the circle is indeed limited in some levels by this very designation and holding of responsibility for others’ experience.

A surrendered leadership circle, in contrast, has dispersed ultimate leadership that can arise from anyone at any time and thus inherently is a circle with less obvious surface-level leadership structure than an organic circle.  And in order for this extensively inclusive space to be given full range, the facilitators of SLCs are oftentimes quieter and less directive of the container, remaining, instead in an active inquiry into what is most alive for them to bring into the space of the circle at any given moment.  This minimally invasive approach allows the group the opportunity to create the circle in its own process of burgeoning self-awareness created in the moment.  

Therefore, overall, the leadership role in an SLC is more complex than that in an organic circle by virtue of the leadership that is required to distribute leadership, such as the awareness of multiple levels which in turn informs decisions about actions and non-actions, ways of being, focus, and participation.  Also, the facilitator in an SLC is fully a participant in the circle itself, while also including the role of leader into his/her expression and participation at all times.

How These Circles Are Different:  Field of Inclusion

Another difference is that the field of focused inclusion is more expansive in the surrendered leadership circle. By that I mean that organic circles seem to have a focused sense of “sensing where the energy/attention is flowing and then responding/interacting with that energy” while surrendered leadership circles seem to have a focused sense of “who I am in this circle (including my desires, wants and who I am in the moment interacting with the environment in the circle which is also cyclically generating my new and in-this- moment sense of self) and what is arising in me to bring into this space” as an additional part of the “what is arising in the circle at the moment”.

This gives rise to a much larger space in which the circle is operating because only the more external part of the circle is often seen at any one time—the energy flow and content interactions—while the internal states and needs and desires of the participants is a constant and possibly volatile unknown, which is subtly creating and influencing the circle at all times in the iterative process of the circle creating itself.

How These Circles Are Different:  Complexity

These seemingly small differences give rise to the much larger difference of surrendered leadership circles often feeling directionless for a longer period of time, as more complexity is interacting to create the meta-structure of the “we” space of the surrendered leadership circle than in an organic circle. A stronger and/or more complex sense of self and of the world is therefore called into presence in the SL circle that naturally invites and can hold conflict and uncertainty, and which itself feeds the complexity of the space and the timing and creation of the “innards” of the circle in its showing up.

How These Circles Are Different:  Chaos

The experience in a SLC can be threatening, jolting, and/or scary to participants as the limits of mental constructs of self and the world are inherently challenged—constructs which have been carefully designed and created to orient and protect us against an unstructured and scary unknown and of which we may not be consciously aware of living within.

An organic circle, on the other hand, may hold conflict and chaos, but tends to do so at a more superficial level of being, thereby enabling a more “gentle” circling experience in many instances.

How These Circles Are Different:  Personal Development

And lastly, the SLC seems to afford an environment for extremely fast personal growth and development compared to the growth an organic circle affords. This seems to be because the fluid structure in a SLC combined with the more complex field of inclusion the circle is operating at affords breakthroughs at more core levels of being, where being held, letting go, and being then seen as new lead to exponential change.