In any group, it is critical that the participants know what is expected of them. Especially in a group where people share deep, personal, intimate details of their lives, Agreements create feelings of safety and trust.
1) The first Agreement that usually arises is Confidentiality. What is said in the Circle must stay in the Circle.
What happens when a man goes home and wants to speak to his partner about what happened in the Circle that night? Different groups make different choices. For us, we have the agreement that what is said in the circle can be discussed outside the Circle as long as no one's name is mentioned.
This maintains anonymity and privacy while still allowing men to integrate what happens around the Fire into their everyday lives.
2) Generally we aspire to adhere to The Way of Council as elaborated in the the book "The Way of Council" by Jack Zimmerman and Virginia Coyle. The four Agreements presented in this book are:
*When you speak, speak from the heart
* When you are listening, do your best to listen from your heart
* Lean communication: Say what you need to;
Be mindful to allow enough time and space for others
*Don't rehearse what you will say while others are sharing,
Stay in the moment
3) No drugs or alcohol. Don't come while under the influence. If you are
on prescription pain meds, please let the group know.
4) No cross talk. Don't interrupt when a man is speaking.
5) No physical intimidation or threats.
6) No fixing others, No advice unless requested. No psychoanalyzing
7) If you have something to say about what others share, speak to how it
looks in your own life. This is very important.
8) When possible, use "I" statements. Speak about you own experience.