Q: Are you a 'safe space'?
Depends. We all have our own definition of what a 'safe' space looks and feels like.
We all have our different triggers based on our past experiences. There is no guarantee
you will not feel triggered at an event. In fact, it's almost a guarantee you will feel
activated at some point. That is, in effect, part of what comes with relating with one
another in a transparent or authentic way. Most people tend to participate with the intention
to lean into their edge and outside their comfort zone in service of accessing deeper connections
and greater self awareness. The usual invitation for that is for us to, like as in Yoga, stretch,
don't tear. We take the position that our spaces are simply shared-context spaces and not a
refuge from reality or perspectives we don't agree with. And
, to expect that when someone
shares a perspective someone doesn't agree with, to expect that others will share how they are impacted,
this keeps things relational.
We do not have a mandate to include everyone, nor do we have a mandate to exclude anyone. Yet all are
welcome, within the context and parameters of the space, be it physical or philisophical.
That said, many do describe our spaces as feeling safe and non-judgemental. And, if we're to strive to accept
others where they're at, we must consider others may be judgemental. And the invitation is to be curious
about that as opposed to making it wrong.
We have a number of agreements that can be in-effect depending on the practice/event. These
agreements help setup the container via a set of explicit expectations on what the 'rules' are for
engagement. These primarily exist for facilitators to guide those who step outside them, back to
the agreement, rather than wholesale ejecting someone for making a mistake without checking for intent. They
also have the impact of creating levels of 'safety' for some.
The general agreements for Circling are: (in the order of precedent)
- Honor Yourself - You do not have to do or say anything that you do not want to. This also means you agree to take full responsbility for your experience.
- Confidentiality (when requested) - Regardless of our own internal moral compass about what feels okay or not okay to share with others about an experience inside our spaces, if someone explicitly makes a request for confidentiality, we're agreeing to honor that request and not share that content.
- Own Your Experience - is an invitation to inquire within. You are owning your experience when your words can not be resonably debated. For example "You are making me feel x" = not owning ones experience, however "When you say x, I feel y" = owning experience.
- Extend Regard (aka Honor Other) - We're agreeing to endeavor to see the truth in all perspectives, whether we understand or agree. Seeing the truth does not mean you have to agree to it, however we are agreeing that each individuals perspective is real and valid for them.
To close, we take the position that we accept that our words and actions have impact, and the general idea
of our spaces is to relate around how we impact one another.
All that said, if someone is abusive, not respecting your boundaries, you feel threatened, and you need support please approach a leader or facilitator. (and this scenario has yet to happen)