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Circles of Trust

December 7, 2017

womens retreat

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Circle of Trust” ? When I first heard it, I couldn’t help but think of the scene from the movie “Meet the Parents” when Jack tells Greg that he is,“outside the circle of trust.” You feel just how badly Greg wants to be inside that circle, it’s why he goes a little crazy! This flick is chock full of scenes that make you laugh for days, which is therapy in itself, but it also has some shiny nuggets of wisdom…like this idea of a circle of trust.

Recently a friend asked me to be a part of a small group of 4 people – that would be creating a circle of trust for him to grow in, as part of a yearlong course that he is undertaking [1].  Essentially creating a safe place for him to do some personal journeying around connecting with his soul’s purpose.  He is a dear friend so I agreed, without thinking in much depth about what this would mean for me personally. Simply an online monthly gathering to help my friend evolve and live to his fullest potential.

When we had our first meeting on Skype, I found myself feeling really nervous… what would I say? What if I have nothing to say? What if I say too much? And then of course… the question that comes up all too often, what if they don’t like me? A choice that was so easy for me to make for my friend, was already bringing up my own insecurities. This was my first reminder, that every single experience in life, is an invitation for us to grow.

My friend was committed to doing his work and by supporting him, I was also being asked to mine – how beautiful: maybe we truly are all connected.  I reminded myself that my only responsibilities were to be fully present, to listen and reflect unconditional love for him. I knew I could do that, and very quickly we all dropped into a sacred space of sharing and listening. It was a remarkable thing to be part of – an honest, raw and open sharing circle with the pure intention of loving our friend.  The wisdom that bubbled up was humbling to say the least and for hours after our call, I had deep moments of reflection regarding our time together.

womens retreat

One of these moments was when my friend shared, “We can only embody ourselves fully and dive deep into our soul’s work, when our basic needs are met, and this includes community.” To paraphrase, we need food, water, shelter and we need to feel safe and held before we can open and really start to live deeply connected lives. He laid out the necessary ingredients for living our dharma, our soul’s work and allowing us to show up fully in our lives and community was part of it.

This realization led me to contemplate, what does community look like in today’s world?

Sangha is a Sanskrit word that means assembly, company or community – you often hear it used with reference to Buddhism or in the yoga world with regards to spiritual community.  Your sangha is essentially a circle of trust, a safe place where you come and practice, dive deep, do your work; you allow yourself to be witnessed and connected as a part of the whole.  

In a similar vein and becoming ever more popular in Western culture today are intentional communities. Places where this ancient concept of “tribe” is being revived and lived out; dynamic spaces where people are choosing to do life together. We can see large scale, varying examples of this all over the world, like Tamera, Lost Valley, Inanitah and Verdenergia to name a few. And it can be found more small scale as well, in local co-op housing projects, neighbourhood revivals, small pop-up community houses, yoga studios and within families. The more I looked, the more I saw that there are circles of trust being created everywhere. Safe places for people to live and grow together – to be seen, felt, heard and held. A wise woman recently shared with me,” Transformation happens when we share.” Maybe this is a big part of what is going on here, within these circles and communities – people are choosing to evolve, open and grow in the loving arms of the collective.

If you believe that we are all connected – individual expressions of a greater whole – then by stepping into circles, looking inside ourselves and committing to love – we are healing the world. This is the stuff that matters most I think, the simple acts of willing hearts gathering together to see each other heal and shine. So maybe it doesn’t have to be an expensive online course, or a trip to India to sit at the feet of a Guru… because there is no wisdom that will come from the outside, that will be greater that the truth that resides within your own soul.[2]

The truth is that when we come together, in small groups, big groups, on retreat or one-on-one, and we share what is inside ourselves, magic happens. We build trust as we share the wonderings of our hearts and the struggles of our souls. We create a place where we belong, we feel together and intern, we expand our capacity to love and be loved.  Today in our circle – I healed, I grew, I expanded, I learned – I became a truer expression of myself and all that happened simply by showing up.

I think Robert Daniero was onto something in that movie … circles of trust ARE very important, not being inside or outside, but rather the importance of creating them and choosing them in the first place. I want more circles in my life – both formal and informal – safe places where love is the held value and presence is the only ingredient required.

How about you? Travel with us and explore how trust, openness and freedom can be cultivated on retreat.


[1] Jonathon Guston:

[2] Jonathon Guston, Circle of Trust Recording:

Kylie is a Yogi, Traveler, Writer, Healer and Transformation Seeker. She lives wherever she is in the world, but spends most of her time between Canada and Costa Rica. Find her at: