Pattern #8


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Circles and Cycles

Credits: Background Tyler Olson – Shutterstock /  Circles 1-3 –  The Office for Future Related Issues in Vorarlberg Austria / Circle 4 – AmericaSpeaks/Martin Rausch

Conversations set in circles support peerness, listening and turn-taking, often around an evocative, engaging shared center. Cycles return to their beginnings, usually newly and sometimes repeating into spirals of further development or deepening. So include circles and cycles in conversations, meetings, communities, networks, organizations and iterative processes that support peer reflection and inclusive action.

Some related patterns:   2 Appreciative Thinking   20 Cooperative Ownership as Stewardship   29 Expanding Situational Curiosity
41 Groundedness  
48 Integrity and Authenticity  64 Powerful Questions
72 Regenerativity

  • How can we arrange things to help us all focus as peers on the central concerns we all share and the possibilities we all face?
  • How can we counter the hierarchical patterns so deeply engrained in our culture?
  • Are we keeping in mind how the results of this will come back to impact us and our children?
  • Can we think of more fruitful perspectives than the idea that we shouldn’t keep going around in circles and should get from A to B as efficiently as possible?
  • What about our recent failure contains seeds for future success next time around?

Going Deeper …

This is an edited version of the video on this page.

[The edited transcript of this pattern’s video will be posted shortly.]

Video Introduction (10 min)

After reading the 50-word pattern heart Tom Atlee elaborates on the pattern.

Examples and Resources

  • The resources for this pattern are under development and will appear shortly.