THE CIRCLE OF FIRE: a video + worksheet companion to THE FIRESTARTER SESSIONS free for all seekers, groups… you.
Fire Starter groups are springing up from Fargo to London UK, in living rooms, cafes, via Facebook and Skype. I’m so thrilled and honoured. It’s one of my shiniest hopes that this book will bring people together in the spirit of clear thinking, feeling and encouragement to take action.
Attend first to the divine and the work at hand becomes art.
How to lead a Circle of Fire:
For The Fire Starter Sessions book clubs, meet ups, bloggers & posses of greatness — for virtual and in-person connecting
THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS is more than a “book.” And your Circle of Fire will be more than a “book club.” But you knew that, already.
It’s whatever you want it to be. Highly structured or loose. Module by module, or session by session. A weekend in a cabin with girlfriends — or a year of discovery.
Your Circle of Fire is…a book club, fueled by desire, devoted to freedom. A not-so-secret society of Fire Starters in your real-life ‘hood — or your favorite virtual haven. A gathering of seekers, entrepreneurs, 9 to 5′ers, mamas and their men, yogis, hard workers, light lovers…of people with a distinctly uncommon purpose — to define + create success, on their own terms.
A weekly potluck, a monthly meet-up, a seasonal solstice soiree, the event of a lifetime, or just a Thursday night ritual. Whatever, whenever, why-ever you want it to be.
Give it some thrust, but don’t overthink it. Make a date. Gather with love. And spark something awesome.
How to Organize your Circle of Fire:
Let the content do all of the work. I’ve gathered short videos and worksheets in one place – so easy breezy. It’s ALL on this page (scroll back up) and it’s all free. Each video + worksheet is plenty of discussion fodder for a Circle of Fire meet-up.
Truisms = talking points. Sound bites of wisdom — open to interpretation and designed to spark conversation – are scattered throughout THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS, in big, phat bold font. Flip to a page at random. Discuss amongst yourselves. Could fill an hour. Easy.
Go Zen. Your Circle of Fire could meet to simply READ, WATCH or LISTEN in appreciative silence.
Pass the mic. Everyone in your Circle could be responsible for leading a meeting — at least once. Assign each member a module, at random — or let ‘em choose a topic they want to dig into.
Invite extra-special guests to crank up the heat. A fabulous life coach. A visiting dignitary. Could everyone in your Circle of Fire kick in $20, $50, $100 for an exclusive, tailored experience from a highly-inspiring priestess of powah? Sure could.
Some background: I had the idea to host a virtual, video book club. Of course, everyone who joined got a free copy of THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS complements of my growing business (note from Danielle: Amber bought a whole lot of books, but don’t feel obligated to do that in order to start a group. Typically, people buy the book or audio themselves.)
More than 20 people expressed interest in response to my Facebook comment and I reached out to confirm, align on times, and get addresses using a Google form. 15 people committed to book club and 5-8 show up each week.
We are 5 weeks into it and loving meeting with each other virtually via video each week:
Not everyone joins every week and that is okay. We do nonstandard mini-introductions each week just in case a couple of people haven’t met yet (e.g., tell something fun about yourself, tell us why you wanted to join the book club, etc.)
We are using Go To Meeting/HD faces right now, but are planning a switch to Google+
Not everyone has actually read every chapter in detail each week and that’s okay too! We keep it warm and flexible and someone who has read provides an overview so those who haven’t can participate and be up to speed. Everyone stays engaged the entire book club.
We discuss highlights and contrasting view about the text, but spend most of the time with your questions.
If there are just a couple of questions in the worksheet at the end of the chapter, we all might answer both questions taking turns.
BEST PRACTICE: If there are many questions at the end and we likely wouldn’t have enough time for everyone to answer every question (e.g., The Burning Questions), we alternate asking questions and that works really well to make sure everyone gets involved. For example, I might kick off and ask you a burning question that you answer. Other people may respond, ask probing questions, and offer support. Then you would pick a different question and ask a third person in the group. That continues until all parties have asked a question and had the opportunity to answer.
We also hold each other accountable to stay true to ourselves and our responses. As an example, everyone wanted to dodge the money question. We supported each other and pushed each other to move a little outside of our comfort zone on this one. We did it. We talked money successfully, honestly, and in honor of each other.
All and all you set this book up wonderfully for a book club. It is going so well I feel like it is a group coaching program of sorts where everyone is coaching everyone with you as the guide. For that reason, it really helps that this group bonded and built trust fast.
As human beings we are herd creatures. We crave connection, community, and a sense of belonging. Being part of a herd helps us feel heard (I couldn’t help myself) and helps us hear ourselves better too.
Part of this is biological: back in the day when there were saber-toothed tigers after us our survival depended upon us sticking together. That’s probably why we evolved to fear rejection (if the group rejects us we die, historically speaking). And it’s probably why we’ve evolved to relish genuine, heart-centered connection so much.
My mom often says that community builds immunity. She refers to a very interesting study that showed that the more varied, regular social group interaction a person has, the stronger their immune system. They counted the number of groups a person was a member of (a church group, the PTA, their immediate family, a yoga class, etc.) Then they measured the number of colds a person had during a year. (The way they determined whether or not a person had a cold was by weighing Kleenex. Disgusting and hilarious. Go science!) They found that the more social groups a person was a part of that they hung out with regularly, the fewer colds they had, and therefore the stronger their immune system. Move over Echinacea. I’m headed to my knitting circle to boost my immunity.
Last night I met with 12 incredible women in Portland, ME for our first Campfire centered around Danielle LaPorte’s new book The Fire Starter Sessions. It was a beautiful Maine summer night after a few days of rain and yet these women chose to circle up in the name of self-actualization instead of going outside to play.
Here’s why the evening rocked my world:
I put out a call with only a week’s notice and people came. I thought I’d have maybe 3-4 women and we had 13 including me. Many are called and (sometimes, more than you think) will choose to show up.
I arrived at 7pm on the dot and the party had already begun without me. Women brought friends. Women showed up and saw acquaintances from around town they’d known for years but had never actually had an in depth conversation with before. And here they were baring their souls at the Campfire after having only said a simple hello in years past.
One woman’s vulnerability and sharing what was really going on for her gave permission to the next woman to go deeper into laying her truth out there for us. I got teary more than once listening to the brilliance and heart and verve in the room.
Almost every single woman said she had come for the connection and community. The recognition that we’re all after the same thing here on this human journey coursed through my veins and sent a delicious shiver up my spine.
Each woman shared something about wanting to go deeper, higher, more full out, clearer, more truthful, more authentic, and more “them” as we delve into The Fire Starter Sessions with one another as our soulful cheerleaders. I was tickled pink to have this rocking group of women, most of whom don’t know each other, show up to stand for themselves and for the best versions of one another.
Here’s what I know about women coming together:
Seismic shifts happen simply from sitting in a circle, hearts and minds open, even if there’s not an agenda, specific purpose, or even anything in particular produced
The act of bearing your under belly gives the next woman permission to do the same and so on and so on until every person on the planet is set free from the tyranny of pretending to be something they’re not or live smaller than they know they’re capable of
No matter how much we’ve accomplished and how much we seem to “have it together” we all need support, love, and community. It’s a fundamental nutrient for thriving.
I’m nourished to the core from the gathering of these 12 incandescently beautiful women who came and put their hearts and souls on the line last night. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Do it for your immune system. Do it for your heart. Do it for your soul. She will thank you. And so will all the other souls you circle up with. Surrender to the herd creature that you are and connect.
(note: if you’ve got anything to contribute in terms of how you’re running your group, please email [email protected]and we’ll add it to the bucket of goodness.)
Got a Blog? Light it Up:
Jamie Ridler sums Book Blogging up like this: ”The concept behind book blogging is that a group of bloggers work their way through a book, sharing their experiences by posting on their own blog and by reading what other participants are sharing. You can choose to share as much or as little as you like. The process is free, self-directed and shared in community.”
In other words: Use THE FIRE STARTER SESSIONS as your art-making inspiration. It’s fodder for your blog content, fuel for your shareable teachings. Blog regularly as part of your group (or individual) process.
Meet somewhere inspiring. With plenty of parking. After a two-hour hike, departure: at dawn. If you’ve got fragmented moms, consider somewhere accessible, central, with built-in childcare. Dining hall at IKEA, anyone? If you’ve got writerly, word-smitten people in your posse, go somewhere with tables and Wifi.
Or, keep it simple. Meet at home. Yours, theirs, or a new pad every time. Revive the art of the potluck — or the slumber party.
Consider: wheelchair accessibility. Temperature. Bathrooms. Noise level. Lighting. Neighborhood safety. Maximum comfort and joy. Welcome whine-free suggestions. Tune out any grumbling.
How to Rally a Group
Start with the usual suspects. Your friends, family, and inner orbit of trust. Prag-o-matic: make a list of 20 people who adore you. Tap each one, with a lovingly crafted invitation. Shower them with praise. Be encouraging.
“Hey sister, remember that copy of The Fire Starter Sessions I gave you? I’m starting a reading-group-quest-for-enlightenment kinda thing. And you’re my first member.”
“Hey honey, you know how you’re always complaining that you don’t get outta the house enough? I’m starting a book club. And I found you a sitter for the night of our first meeting. Polish your boots. And no backing out.”
“Dude. You’re the most fiery, fabulous human I know. I’m leading a career + creativity circle, and I need you to be there and show us how it’s done. Life, I mean. Say YES.”
Facebook. Announce your intention to start a circle, on Facebook. Connect with others in The Circle of Fire Facebook Group. Once you find your people, you can branch off and start your own private Facebook Group and invite your friends to join it. Fan the flames with daily invitations, on your wall.
Head over to Twitter. Tweet your desire for some round-table revelry, and use the #FireSS hashtag. Your people will find you. Create an event on MeetUp.com. There are 8 million registered users on this social nexus — looking for things to do and people to meet. Forums, membership sites, e-course communities — all solid-gold recruitment fields for your future Circle. Got a blog? Invite your readers to step into the fray.
Whenever. Right now. Tomorrow. Tonight.
On your lunch break. Before yoga class. The third Sunday of every month, right after your Interfaith Seminary brunch. Baked into Study Hall. On Whiskey Wednesday, at your local dive. Instead of your bi-weekly manicure – or during.
If your circle members are ultra-busy-CEO-of-ME-nose-in-the-Crackberry types, offer them three date + time options, before your first meeting. Get a consensus. Firm it up. And email out reminders, a few days before each meeting.
A reminder: our next Circle of Fire meet-up is on DATE at TIME at PLACE.
We’ll meet for one hour. I’ll have vegan truffles. BYOKombucha.
We’re going to be diving into NAME OF MODULE / SESSION.
Read it already? Superb. Not yet? No worries.
I know — we’re busy. We’re fried. I, for one, could seriously use a root touch-up.
But this circle is about our LIVES — our desires, our dreams, our most urgent ambitions. Our circle matters. YOU matter.
Find Circles to Join!
Circles of Fire are springing up all over the world — and the master list is sitting in the Facebook group. Please feel free to add your group to the files section of the group or announce it to everyone on the wall.