Soul Circle


This page will be used for quick “at a glance” schedule and resources. You’ll primarily use the “Soul Circle Guidelines” page the most. Everything else, aside from personal updates about Austin & scheduling, is the exact same.

Preparation Steps

  1. Please read the Soul Circle Guidelines page created by Jonathan Binder (my Purpose Guide) and the Purpose Guide Institute. Some of the information from this, regarding meeting format (and links to each meeting’s theme) has been provided below.
  2. Prior to each meeting, please listen to the provided recording.
  3. Read the “Discovering Purpose” essay (when able) to get an understanding of the process of this particular soul work.
  4. Agree to facilitate/lead one of the meeting calls, if able (keeping time & encouraging the Common Agreements).

Austin’s Updates

🚫 Currently journaling/processing the call and other DYP experiences, which I may try to compile somewhere on this page. <3

🚫 Scheduling for Soul Circle #2 – pending. This will be around the week of April 26.

Soul Circle #1 – COMPLETE! Thank you everyone. <3 Replay is here. Skip ahead ~3-4 minutes for post-silence component. 


Click the Meeting Number to find the AUDIO & overview/theme.


1. Clear Intention

Allow a picture to form clearly in your imagination of a group of humans gathering around a campfire (which we’ve done for thousands of years) with the express intention to support a friend’s inquiry of “what do I do with this one wild, precious life” (so well stated by poet Mary Oliver). The circle of supporters is mostly quiet, letting their attention rest on the campfire and on the friend’s searching process. What is this “searching process”? Your friend (the one engaged in the Purpose Discovery Program) allows their full attention to be drawn into their longing to know their Vision, Gifts, Message, and Mission of their life. The friend’s attention is 90% interior, she is making herself available to images, symbols and insights from her soul. The circle of supporters’ function and offering is to bear witness to the friend’s inquiry (and her insights), as well as to bring their presence/attention to the friend, to create a safe and potent container for her to explore the age-old question, “What is my life’s purpose?” The friend for whom the Soul Circle has been created has made this commitment: “For the next year of my life, I commit myself to find and embodying my life’s purpose.”

Imagine, a friend has honored you by requesting if you’d attend the birth of her baby. What does a trusted friend do as the birthing process unfolds? On a practical level – not much, as it’s the doula, and midwife or obstetrician, that is in charge of assisting the “mechanics of the birth.” Instead, what you do is hold space for them through giving them silent permission to trust their own wisdom, offering any reflections with humility.

If you have ever held someone while they were dying or attended a birth, you may already know something about holding space. Mostly, it’s just showing up, with a quiet attention that says, “I’m listening to you deeply as you move through this process” – whether the process is birth, dying or purpose discovery.

2. Clear Limits

As a Soul Circle we commit to an end point – twelve months, at which point we will “close” the circle. The twelve months are complete on the one-year anniversary of my first session with my Purpose Guide.

3. Meetings

Our 7 meetings (75 min. each) will be scheduled over the next 12 months. The closing meeting (#7) will fall on the one-year anniversary of the beginning of the program. Our first four meetings will coincide with specific modules of the 12-module Purpose Discovery Process.

Find the schedule above.

4. Skilled Leadership-Facilitator

A Soul Circle requires that everyone participating helps create a safe space. Additionally, one person will be invited by the group to be the facilitator. The friend will decide whether to rotate this duty or let one person hold the role for most (or all) of the meetings.

The facilitator has three duties:

  1. Be the timekeeper.
  2. Read aloud the Common Agreements (see below) at the beginning of each meeting.
  3. Maintain the space. When necessary, gently remind members who are straying outside of the agreements to “come back.” For instance, “Hey Jane, I want to warmly, gently and sweetly remind you that a Soul Circle meeting is about providing our friend with a safe place to engage in the inner searching process. Therefore, as a Soul Circle we want to mostly stay in silence, beaming gigawatts of presence, and only occasionally offering a question that will deepen her experience, as opposed to offering mini-lectures, personal anecdotes, advice, our opinions or ‘therapy’.”

5. Common Agreements

Shared below.

6. Structure

Shared below.



The shared intention of our Soul Circle is to create a conducive place for the friend’s soul to show up and offer its wisdom.

Agreements include:

  1. Deep listening and deep respect.
  2. Lots of space for silence.
  3. An attitude of openness and receptivity.
  4. Mirroring from the heart, not the head.
  5. When in doubt: slow down, attend to the rhythm of Soul.
  6. No ping-pong conversations, “therapy”, mini-lectures, advice-giving, etc


  • [0-10 min] Facilitator reads Common Agreements & Silence
  • [10-20 min] Friend begins “What is happening in my purpose discovery process is…”
  • [20-60 min] “Heart” of the meeting
  • [60-65 min] Silence & Deepening The Field of Presence
  • [65-75 min] Feeling Complete


  • [0-10 min] Facilitator reads Common Agreements & Silence
    The facilitator rings a bell and slowly reads the “Common Agreements.” Then, without comment or discussion, the group rests together in silence and stillness. In these 10 minutes the group potentizes the field, and the circle slowly melts into the “we-space”, the intersubjective field of awareness.


  • [10-20 min] Friend begins “What is happening in my purpose discovery process is…”
    The friend begins, “What is happening in my purpose discovery process is…” and continues to speak for approximately ten minutes.
  • [20-60 min] “Heart” of the meeting
    Two main things occur during the “heart” of the meeting.

    Active Inquiry & Active Listening: The group brings its presence to bear on behalf of the friend’s intent to glimpse a facet of her purpose (aka, “soul encounter”.) The potentized field allows the friend to engage in the searching process. While the friend is engaged in the inner work of inquiry, the Soul Circle is engaged in active listening. What is “active listening”? It is a way of listening that draws the speaker more deeply into his own words, thoughts, emotions, and questions.

    Parker J. Palmer (who coined the term “Circle Of Trust” and from which the Soul Circle is partly derived,) writes about the importance of taking up an inquiry in a community setting: “How can we skillfully take up the challenge of choosing wholeness? The challenge of becoming whole is best met within a practice community. We cannot embrace that challenge all alone, at least, not for long: we need trustworthy relationships, tenacious communities of support, if we are to sustain the journey toward an undivided life. That journey has solitary passages, and yet is simply too arduous to take without the assistance of others. And because we have such a vast capacity for self-delusion, we will inevitably get lost en route without the correctives from outside of ourselves.”

    Deepening The Inquiry: If the Spirit moves someone in the circle, they may offer reflection, mirroring or a question that deepens the theme that the friend shared. As the Quaker tradition of the clearness committee puts its, we gather to, “Listen each other’s souls into discovery.” The Soul Circle follows the friend, just as the friend follows the Mystery. The Soul Circle never tries to lead the friend into a “cool” or interesting direction.

  • [60-65 min] Silence & Deepening The Field of Presence
    While the Soul Circle rests in the silence and stillness together, the friend metabolizes/digests what has occurred for her. The rest of the group deepens the field of presence, silently offering blessings and prayers, that the friend finds the courage to live the insights she has discovered during the meeting.

  • [65-75 min] Feeling Complete
    Each person, starting with the friend, has the option of saying something that allows them to feel complete with the meeting.