We hold this policy as a liberating structure and expect leaders to use these boundaries to bring more awareness, truth, and love, rather than to avoid or repress sexual energy or attraction.
Therefore, it is critical that leaders understand the underlying intention of this policy: it is about connection, and requires inquiry at every step. It is about revealing deeper truth. It is not about putting a fence around sexuality or embodied explorations of those energies.
There is also explicit room for the policy to update, using the advice process.
- No sexual contact between leaders and participants during an event or up to six months after the end unless after going through the Connection Process .
- Normal sexual and romantic boundaries, eg: contact to genitals, kissing
- Keeping an eye on having it “clean” at an energy level
- Excluding existing relationships
- The “Connection Process” is the Leader Circling with at minimum one person on Circling Europe’s Senior Leader team facilitating the process. We suggest getting advice from other leaders first.
- The Five Principles guide the connection and we focus specifically on deeper themes that might be expressing through sexuality and attraction, such as eroticized wounds, acting in or acting out, using sex and attraction to get non-sexual needs met, various projections, introjections, and golden shadows, and any other contradictions, hidden assumptions, false opinions or untruths.
- The Senior team currently includes: John, Sean, Jordan, Valerie, Ellen, Marysia (For those who might be adopting similar policies for your independent organizations, the most senior leader possible).
- We are using the 6 month boundary to bring more awareness to all of these topics—using the rules to grow together. Once we’ve imbibed it into our culture more we may bring more time specificity to the different contexts.
If any leader does not feel a connection to the underlying purpose, spirit, and potential for greater embodiment and leadership in this policy, they are expected not to lead under the CE brand. If they understand the spirit but do not agree with the policy, they are expected to evolve it before leading, using the advice process. This structure is also open to evolution, a powerful boundary that will continue to update along with us and our society.
Notes / Clarifications from Discussions:
On budgeting for the time:
We don’t want to circle leaders on all their desires to act on attractions. Yet if they feel seriously about acting on it and have already been in a personal process with it… then we want to support that. Additional considerations in the personal process: are the leader and participant really meeting as equals in an event? How much consideration has been given to the truth of the ecosystemic ripples?
Use your common sense and it’ll be relatively rare.
Acknowledging the mitigation of risk:
Risk itself is not just “risk,” it’s an expression of our being greater tuned in to the culture and more awareness of the impact our individual actions have on our team and the practice itself—that a full integrity of our leading includes care for the practice itself and ask how it wants and needs to be expressed. It’s also recognizing that there are almost always more powerful ways to work with that very same sexual energy and attraction that have less negative side effects.
More on the intention:
We hope this will hold leaders to an increasing rigor with respect to acting out their pain, eroticized wounds, hiding their deeper self behind blind submission and/or deferring responsibility to rules (which is often an ‘acting in’ instead of an ‘acting out’), using sexual energies to get other needs met, or any other untruths; while holding and seeing the innocence that drives these energies as well.
While at the same time allowing for the beauty and expression of sexual energy and attraction, and seeing that in the extreme prohibition leads to abuse—these parts of our Being beg for expression and when not given a healthy outlet, they’ll find a more nefarious, less conscious way to be lived and known. The willingness to feel and admit these things is a huge part of the transformative power of Circling. And because sex is unique in our Western/European culture (at minimum), it holds a lot of potential transformative power when skillfully worked with. Finally since we cannot protect anyone from all dangers (and attempts to do so usually backfire, as classic and contemporary myths like Sleeping Beauty and Disney’s film Frozen show so masterfully), our best effort is to nurture the inner resources, strengths, and capacities that each human already has.