Surrendered Leadership Training

Mar 02, 2023

by Sean Wilkinson

'Surrender is a conception with ancient roots and comes through all wisdom traditions as our highest and most human compass.'

A new horizon opened up as John and I sat down to explore the creation of an advanced Surrendered Leadership Training. 

A chance for a new level of practice. 

To offer something for the plethora of practitioners around the world who would love to go further in their leadership and come together with those who are committed to presence and connection. 

We were synthesizing our twenty-plus years of exploration of transformational connection and leadership mastery.


Stepping Stone

I love Circling and guiding others to embody its principles. At the same time, there is another step we can take by fully focusing on Surrendered Leadership (SL).

Being able to play and discover with those that have already developed their Circling leadership and to entirely focus on SL is enlivening. However, it is not just a positive, uplifting sensation. That is a bit too cliché

With closer attention around the impact of aiming to make this new level of training, there is something more challenging to experience within me. 


Trigger Awareness

The signs of survival activation are more familiar now, but still often take me a little time to see and turn towards. 

I first noticed I was subtly withdrawing, a little procrastination from enacting, lower energy. Then I see a slowness in sharing the boundaries I need in the partnership with John. 

Once I catch this, I could then tune into past pain, fears and doubts. From this place, it is easy to slip into ‘what do we really know?’ or ‘can I dare claim direction and leadership in this wildly complex world?,’ ‘what about my struggles, past failings, unconsciousness, limitations and biases?’. 

Seeing the human dance of pride and unworthiness with more empathy and having more ability to lead myself through its significant impact on my perceptions, is something I owe a lot to SL practice. 


On the Inside of Activation

Part of this dance is seeing that these survival adaptations are not destiny. Triggers of deep survival activation can be seen, integrated and not acted from. 

Although the way we can be taken over can not be underestimated, it can really colour everything without us realising.

What has been a significant step in this journey is continually tuning into the consciousness that forms the ground of my identity, the one that is not harmed, reactive, or ruffled by these activations. 

At the same time, these survival adaptations have real intelligence, often wise messages around what is happening on a deeper level within me and in connections with others.

It is a continuous work in progress that I can return to presence from a strong trigger, in my all too human trial and error kind of way. A way best done in surrender!

Being able to see, embody and navigate triggers, or activation is something we are all practicing in SL and will cultivate this upcoming weeklong.


Boundaries - a Fundamental Necessity

Setting the boundaries I need in this process is so vital. And I mean that literally. 

I have come to learn how seriously it can affect my nervous system, overall emotional-spiritual well-being and even my health if I do not come forward with what is a ‘no’ and what is a ‘yes’ for me with those I am close to. 

The same is true for those I am on coaching journeys with and the circling practitioners in training. They can be thrown for weeks when they do not see a clear boundary cross and no way to rectify it.

However, setting skillful and truthful boundaries that honor and respect the other's being is actually a master capacity in leadership. 

It is so often seen as something that we should just be good at. I see many people feel shame if they are seen not being able to see and set clear lines in relationships with others. I especially see this difficulty with Circling leaders in connection with the people they lead. 

However, in my world and with the thousands I have seen in Circling, I have not witnessed one person that does not have to practice and develop boundary awareness and leadership. It is way more common that this is a deep struggle. 

Again, in my world, this is a worthy struggle that is only life-affirming for ourselves and those we love. In setting truthful distinctions between our own and others' experience, wants and needs, we can more fully experience the separation and unity that exists in relationships. We will also experience a fuller sense of alignment and surrender.

This training will be an excellent arena for this and I look forward to our dojo of practice around the theme.


Training Wheels off

This Surrendered Leadership Training leaves me with a sense of taking the training wheels off and getting ready for a new level of play. 

This is not only in the actual week-long training. I can already feel how it is opening up a new landscape in the field of Circling Europe and Circling. This will only grow as we step into the practice arena and allow it to transform us.


What this opens up

It is a gift and a challenging responsibility to be in the process of bringing SL into the world. Many of you also know this from experience. 

At times it has been bewildering, scary and heartbreaking. At the same time, I have learned to become anti-fragile in these experiences. I also could not have predicted before what it would expose me to and enable me to be able to meet. 

This included the gift of discovering: states of non-ordinary consciousness, archetypes, polarities, conflict resolution, seeing the subtle but powerful relational dynamics, compassion, developmental trauma, tantric and primal embodiment, intuitive leadership, laws of manifestation, experiences of love, experiencing non-dual awareness and soul connection. 

It also very much included the complex integrations of: my own misperceptions, co-dependencies, my unowned aggression, resistance to myself, killer impulses, survival adaptations, being attacked and projected on, whole body nervous system dysregulation, triggers, moral failings, porous boundaries, arrogance and over extensions, jealousy, shame identification, loss and grief.


Knowing where these capacities really came from

I am clear that the skills I have developed are not coming from natural talent. 

There is no way I could do what I can now in leadership if I never committed to this practice in both what seems light and dark. Development was not happening this rapidly before. Not even close.

I would not have been able to gain the experience of such a wide range of capacities that being in presence with other human beings inevitably creates.


Commitment to Connection

The process also invites John and I to face each other and feel our partnership in leadership and our connection as companions on this path. Calling us to go to the depths of experience, friendship, and partnership and then grow the practice from what we are shown. 

It is good to see how we have changed over the years. In the past, our meetings were high-octane. Full-blooded encounters, both rich and, to my eyes now, messy! 

Now the emphasis has shifted towards careful space-giving, diligent boundary setting, meeting challenges that have come up at the speed of our slowest parts, going into the territory of presence with less seeking and still enjoying philosophically dialoguing on the finer distinctions.

We head into this week-long container with a detailed map and one that I imagine will support a more profound and more adroit practice.  

And yet, there is still that magical sense that this training will also be a creative process that will advance our personal and collective embodiment and refine our understanding. 


Collective Intelligence

This is a fundamental part of SL, a process that everyone who is participating is having a real impact on the whole. We learn to enjoy and traverse the complexity that lives inside being in a group. This can be framed as being simultaneously; 

  • individuals as parts creating a whole collective,

  • a whole collective integrating individuals as parts,

  • whole individuals in relationship to other whole individuals all exploring their parts,  

  • a whole collective opening to greater universal whole’s through individuals.

  • Individuals downloading and experiencing greater universal wholeness from the presence of the whole collective!

Well done if you could follow that list, well done if you choose not to bother!

It was my attempt to highlight the beautiful complexities we are always immersed in within the practice. 

And all this being guided by a collective surrender!



The group for the second week-long training is almost full, so it is advisable to sign up asap to guarantee your place.

For those that did not know already, this is a two year process that you can enter, depending on availability, at any time. There will be 5 week-long trainings to complete. 

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