Today I talk about a gift that changes lives. Making use of this gift will take a leap of vulnerability on your part, but I can promise you that it is existentially worth it. This practice takes only 30 minutes. It is called The Gift Circle Process. In this episode, I talk about what it is, who you can recruit to participate with you, and how it works.

If you want to intensify both your self-love and self-knowledge in a single practice that will also bring you great joy, then listen in to learn all about the wonderful Gift Circle Process!

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Show Notes:

  • What is the Gift Circle Process (Letter to copy & paste at the very end of transcript)
  • How to get the most out of a Gift Circle Process
  • Who to recruit for the Gift Circle Process
  • How to accept feedback from your Gift Circle
  • What do we miss out on without trying the process of the Gift Circle Process

Important Links:

 

6 month coaching and mentorship intensive with Ken Page

 

The Gift That Changes Lives

 

Do you want to profoundly increase your sense of self-love and self-knowledge in one practice that’s going to take about half an hour, bring you intense joy, and maybe one of the high points of your life? If so, stay tuned to this episode of The Deeper Dating® Podcast to learn how.

Hey, dear folks, and welcome to the Deeper Dating® Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of the bestselling book, Deeper Dating, the creator of the Deeper Dating® Intensive, the host of your podcast. And I’m excited to share with you today one of the greatest gifts that I believe you can receive in your life and I’m going to teach you how to get it and how to give it too. It’s called a Gift Circle, and it’s kind of mind-blowing and very wonderful.

 

We get taught a concept of pathology versus strength...but that is a not rich understanding of the human experience because it's more like a matrix where our deepest gifts swirl around with our biggest wounds. Click To Tweet

 

In this episode and every episode, I’m going to share with you the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process. Because the skills of dating are the skills of intimacy, and we know those are the greatest skills of all for a meaningful, happy life.

And if you want to learn more about this path and receive some wonderful free gifts, just go to deeperdatingpodcast.com. And you’ll also there find transcripts of this episode and every other episode.

 

The Gift That Changes Lives

We’re all struggling to have somebody remind us of the beauty of our gifts: it just straightens out our path, it makes things simpler. It makes things clearer.

 

So, okay, let me jump in. I have led, I don’t know, hundreds and hundreds of retreats and workshops in my lifetime. And basically in every single retreat that I run, we do this process. It’s called a Gift Circle, and it works best when you know people to some degree, but what it is that you share with them and they share with you what they see as your deepest gifts.

And guaranteed, it will fill your heart, it will give you confidence. There will be a deep joy in giving it back to somebody, and I’m going to teach you how to do it. But the first thing I’m going to do is talk about some of the concepts behind it because I think they’re really important.

 

Watch the episode here:

 

Where we don’t love ourselves, we can’t see ourselves:

 

The first concept is about this issue of self-confidence and self-love. We are taught that we need to love ourselves first, and that is a beautiful, wonderful half-truth. It’s only a half-truth because there are areas where we don’t love ourselves, we can’t love ourselves, we can’t see ourselves, and it takes someone who really loves us and sees us and knows us to help us understand that area in a way that gives it context, that helps us see our gifts within there, that helps us learn self-love in the very places where self-love is hardest to come by.

That’s what it means to have friendship. That’s what it means to have love, is to see yourself being loved in precisely the places where you don’t yet know how to love yourself.

This process is going to help you learn how to love yourself in a deeper, richer way. And in my six-month Intensive, in my workshops, in my retreats, people say again and again that this is one of the best parts of the whole experience, the most life-changing and the most positive. So let me tell you what it is. Let me back up and explain why it matters so much and how it works.

And then I’m going to guide you in how to do it, and I think you’ll really, really appreciate it. And I think the people you do it with will really appreciate it too. It’s a bit of a leap. It is totally, definitely a leap into vulnerability. And I know many of you are going to stop right here, but don’t, don’t because it’s so incredibly worth it. It is existentially worth it.

 

To have somebody see our beauty and point it out is like shining a flashlight onto the path we want to go on. It gives us hope. Click To Tweet

 

Okay. So what it is is that you are just going to pick a few people, maybe just one person, maybe four, maybe five. You decide and you are going to ask them to tell you. And I’m actually going to give you a draft that’s going to be in the transcripts of an email that you could just send to people. You could just cut and paste and send it to people, and it explains the entire thing. And I’ll read parts of it during this episode, but okay.

So you’re going to give them this letter that explains that you are on a journey of learning more deeply about love, and you’re going to ask them to tell you about the qualities in you that they see as your deepest gifts, and you’re going to do the same thing back for them. So okay, obviously this is not going to be to people who are cynical and are going to laugh at this.

This is only going to be for people who really value you, and it’s only, only going to be for people who you feel safe that they’re going to follow the ground rules, which I’ll tell you what those ground rules are. Essentially, they are only positive feedback, only the gifts in you. That’s all they’re going to describe. It’s okay that they don’t describe the ways you have to fix yourself. God knows you hear about that enough. This is going to be articulating your deepest gifts.

 

The Gift That Changes Lives

Our vision of our mission gets fuzzy when we’re embroiled in self-criticism: when we see our gifts and our beauty, our vision loses that blur, it becomes clearer.

 

And so you could do this via email. Then you get to keep the email that people sent you. You could do it by phone, you could do it by Zoom, you could do it in person. And if you are lucky enough to have a group of people, all of whom love each other and trust each other and are safe and know each other, who can do it together – get together, order some pizza, do this, take an afternoon, it will just absolutely blow you away. But not everybody has the luxury to do that.

 

Get help to focus on the good things:

 

So now I’m just going to back up a little bit and tell you a story. This story is I was in a training for body-mind therapy, and we had to have a therapist, a watcher and a client, and all of us therapists, trainees would take these different roles. So I was in the role where I was going to be the mock therapist, and my friend was in the role where he was going to be the mock client, and I was going to do a session with him. And then I was going to… We didn’t have an observer for this one actually, and then I was going to tell him what I liked and what I thought he could have done differently or more effectively.

And before we started, he said to me, “Ken, I have a request. I only want you to tell me the good things. I only want you to tell me what you thought was wonderful about what I did.” And I thought he was really being a wuss. That was what I thought. What? Do you not want to hear how you can improve? So I was judgmental about that until he explained his reasoning to me and he blew me away with it, and it changed the way I think.

And this is what he said to me. He said, “Ken, I have spent my whole life learning by being told what I needed to do better. I cannot imagine that there is not a ton of learning in just hearing about what I’m gifted at, in just hearing about what I did really well, in just hearing about what I did that really touched you and moved you. And that’s all I want to learn from today.” And I was blown away, and I loved those instructions.

 

When we see our gifts and our beauty, our vision loses the blur, and what an incredible gift that is when that happens. That's what's going to happen for you when you do the Gift Circle process. Click To Tweet

 

So now I’m just going to back up a little bit and tell you a story. This story is I was in a training for body-mind therapy, and we had to have a therapist, a watcher and a client, and all of us therapists, trainees would take these different roles. So I was in the role where I was going to be the mock therapist, and my friend was in the role where he was going to be the mock client, and I was going to do a session with him. And then I was going to… We didn’t have an observer for this one actually, and then I was going to tell him what I liked and what I thought he could have done differently or more effectively.

And before we started, he said to me, “Ken, I have a request. I only want you to tell me the good things. I only want you to tell me what you thought was wonderful about what I did.” And I thought he was really being a wuss. That was what I thought. What? Do you not want to hear how you can improve? So I was judgmental about that until he explained his reasoning to me and he blew me away with it, and it changed the way I think.

And this is what he said to me. He said, “Ken, I have spent my whole life learning by being told what I needed to do better. I cannot imagine that there is not a ton of learning in just hearing about what I’m gifted at, in just hearing about what I did really well, in just hearing about what I did that really touched you and moved you. And that’s all I want to learn from today.” And I was blown away, and I loved those instructions.

 

The Gift That Changes Lives

Most of us don’t know enough about what our core gifts are and how they affect others: the experience of having these gifts reflected to us can feel like a map emerging from out of the haze, a map of who we are and of the possibilities of who we can become.

 

So here’s how it goes. You are going to reach out to some people. Now, let me just say, some of you may feel like there’s nobody that fits this following bill and the bill is they have to know you, they have to have your back, and they have to be able to follow the instruction, which is no advice, absolutely no critique, and no suggestions. For this process, it is simply having them do their very best to articulate what they see in you as your realest, deepest, most authentic gifts. So it’s got to be people who you trust are capable of doing that.

If you don’t have anybody, you can make someone up. It could be a saint, it could be a spiritual figure. Maybe it would be someone like a grandparent who’s not alive anymore, where you just imagine what they would say and you write yourself this letter.

But our vision of our mission gets fuzzy when we’re embroiled in self-criticism. When we see our gifts and our beauty, our vision loses that blur, it becomes clearer. It becomes pointed and what an incredible, incredible gift that is when that happens. And that’s what’s going to happen for you when you do this process. So even if it’s a made-up person, maybe it’s a pet, but maybe there’s someone who you could do this with who’s alive. But any of those things are possibilities.

The other thing is, and this is fabulous, and in my Intensive we do this, every time you switch learning partners, you do this gift circle with them. And at the end of the course, we spend a few hours and everyone just gets to be bathed in hearing what this incredibly wise and kind community has to say about you capturing your gifts. It’s an amazing process.

 

Get help to take in this reflection of beauty:

 

So if you are in a situation where there are a few people who know each other that you could do this with, it’s really fabulous because the first person speaks, and then the second person is like, “Yeah, yeah, that’s right, that’s right.” And then they add to it, and it becomes like a tapestry, a kind of woven tapestry of recognition of your beauty and who you are. It’s really, really fabulous. Every one of you who leads workshops and retreats, I encourage you to end the retreat with this process or to consider doing that because it leaves people with their hearts glowing and with a deep and rich sense of self-love.

So I’m going to read you some of what this kind of letter, this template of a letter is, that you can share with people. And it’s going to be in the transcript to this episode, so you will have it. So everyone who has the book, Deeper Dating, it is in Deeper Dating® resources at the end. It’s in the epilogue, but again, it’s going to be in the transcript too.

So this is a sample letter that you could just shoot out to people. You can change it. It’s a little verbose, but it kind of says it. And you could just use this. And it says, “Thank you for agreeing to help me in my gift circle. I’m asking for your support out of a serious commitment to find healthy intimacy. And please know I’m only asking my most trusted close friends, family and supportive professionals to be a part of this process, and I hope I get to give the same back to you.”

So then the other part I’m just going to read you is this, “Most of us don’t know enough about what our Core Gifts are and how they affect others. The experience of having these gifts reflected to us can feel like a map emerging from out of the haze, a map of who we are and of the possibilities of who we can become. And when we have a positive sense of who we are, we find the energy to cut through the obstacles, fears and fogs that separate us from our passion.

Through this process, you will be giving that gift to me. And if you’re open to it, I’d like to offer the same back to you. Thank you so much for this gift that you’re giving me in my journey toward love. I hope it’s also a rich experience for you.”

So then you set up a time, you do it. Trust me, you will adore it. But here’s another thing I want to tell you is that it’s hard to take in, and you may not be able to take it all in, but there will be parts at least that you could take in. If it could be recorded, then you have it for forever. If it’s an email, then you have it for forever. If it’s on Zoom and you record it, you have it for forever, and the other person does as well because you’ll really, really enjoy coming back to it.

And I know for me, when I’m in this process, a lot of me doubts and doesn’t believe, but some parts really stick in and they’re wonderful. The parts that are hard for me to believe or take in, I try to let them wash over me like rain. Maybe they’re not sinking in, but I’m letting them kind of soak me at the same time.

So that’s just a suggestion I have because it’s hard to take in all of this reflection of beauty. But here’s the deal. We walk through life not knowing this stuff enough. And what we lose by not knowing this stuff enough is huge. It’s huge.

Sometimes I think of it like the Sahara Desert with no solar collectors, like all these people who really know us, if they take a few moments, could talk about our beauty in the most profound ways, we will be touched and we will be changed. But culturally, we just don’t do that. So these gorgeous, gorgeous gifts get dissipated. They don’t get fully, fully, fully stated, and when they are fully stated, it is a mutual gift of epic, epic proportions.

So I really encourage you to do this. I know it’s scary. I know it’s hard. I know it’s kind of embarrassing, but remember, you’re going to give it back to the other person, and I am asking you to please leave comments and tell me what it was like for you. I want to hear. Many thousands and thousands of people listen to these episodes. So I really, really want to… I’m hoping for lots and lots of comments and feedback, getting to hear what your experience is like when you do this.

And again, go to the transcript of the episode at deeperdatingpodcast.com so that you can get a copy of that letter. You could just cut and paste it. Thank you all for listening. Enjoy this adventure. Happy holidays and Happy New Year. Happy whatever time it is for you at the time that you get this, and enjoy your Gift Circle.

 

THE GIFT CIRCLE LETTER

 

Dear Gift Circle helper,

Thank you so much for agreeing to help me in creating my Gift Circle. I’ve taken on this challenge because I’m making a serious commitment to my search for partnership and love. Please know that I’m only asking my most trusted friends to be part of this Gift Circle. In sharing the qualities you most value in me, you will be giving me a tremendous gift, I hope you enjoy doing this, and if you are willing, I’d like to offer the same back to you. It’s not required, but I would welcome giving the same gift back to you.

The Deeper Dating approach teaches that the wisest way to finding love is by leading with our truest selves; the parts of ourselves where we feel the most passion and the most sensitivity. Each of us has points of deepest sensitivity — the places where the roots of our caring go deepest — and they are as unique as our fingerprints. We experience both the greatest meaning and the greatest pain in these parts of ourselves because we feel intuitively that our very identity rests there. Ken Page calls these attributes Gifts because they are like the bone marrow of our very being; they are the places we love most deeply from.

Gifts, in this sense, are not necessarily capacities or talents; they are simply the areas of our life where we feel the most deeply. The more we embrace our gifts and grow to understand them, the more we relate to others from a foundation of self-esteem.

How do we discover our Core Gifts? According to Page, it is largely through others who see and appreciate them. It is too simplistic to think that we must love ourselves before we can love anyone else; self-love is often learned through being validated precisely in the places where we feel most unsure, most tender.

Most of us do not know enough about what our Core Gifts are and how they affect others. The experience of having these gifts reflected to us can feel like a map emerging from out of the haze, a map of who we are and of the possibilities of who we can become. And when we have a positive sense of who we are, we find the energy to cut through the obstacles, fears, and fogs that separate us from our passion. And you will be giving this gift to me through the Gift Circle.

Here’s what I’ll ask you to do: Think about the qualities that you most love and appreciate and respect about me. What qualities are unique, what qualities touch and move you the most? Take all the time you need to share them in detail. Be open and let yourself explore to find the words and images that really convey these qualities. Remember too, that this process only involves positive feedback. No criticism or suggestions here…just the reflection of what you appreciate. Thanks so much for the tremendous gift you are giving me in my journey toward love! I hope it is also a rich experience for you.

 

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