We were sitting in our kitchen throwing out ridiculous party ideas, and I expressed it would be funny to form a circle and have everyone apologize for something they had done. I had forgotten the idea by the time the party got going. Then at a moment when a little bit of quiet descended, soft like a leaf, onto the party, my friend, who hadn’t forgotten, said why don’t we go around and say what we are sorry for. We formed a circle, and she started by apologizing for there not being curtains in the rooms. The next person apologized for cursing someone who had cut him off that morning. Followed by a third person apologizing for introducing a political discussion (that got slightly heated) at the party. Then my friend, feeling that we could take advantage of the energy of everyone in the circle, suggested that we all say “We forgive you” to the person after they admitted/confessed/expressed themselves. We started saying that in unison, which sounded a little bit cult-ish at first. But after we did it a couple of times, it began to feel really beautiful. We were giving real forgiveness. As we continued around the circle, it felt people were coming from a more emotional place. There’s a power to be given a space in which you can express your regrets, to be released from that place where you may have become secretive with your past, wracked with your guilt, numb from your emotions, or combative with your defensiveness. As people spoke and listened, a deeper shift began to move in the room, something powerful was unfolding. After the circle some participants called people up to express their apologies….
It struck us this is beautiful, simple and powerful technique – you can do with your friends at a party, as a workshop, and while just hanging out. A Sorry Circle is a place where people can go to, to express their regrets and apologies, and experience some healing around it. A network of Sorry Circles in a town can help in transforming the community’s emotional health.