First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 15 – Inner Circles

Considering the construction of different relationships with time caused me to reflect on the use of time, the use of energy. Was I using time or was I desecrating it? Was my energy, a limited supply, being used constructively or was I wasting it?

Discussing this with the beautiful fairy she picked up a hard stone from the floor of the cave, walked to a blank wall, and scratched a series of concentric rings on the wall – a small one at the centre and circles of increasing size around it.

Pointing to the innermost circle she said “That represents you, the core of you, the essence of you, the you that you really are. The next innermost circle represents the people, the places, the activities that are most important to you, the next innermost circle represents the next level of importance right out to beyond the final circle where reside the the people, places and things which are present in this world but which are of no relevance to you. People, places, and activities may well move from one circle to the next as changes occur in your life and it is likely that the more inner the circle the more static it is liable to be. Nonetheless they are all subject to change.”

Then, before I could ask a question, she vanished. She is prone to do that. I have come to realise, that when she does that, she has given me all the information I need. Working out how to use it is down to me.

Studying the circles and gradually mapping my life against the circles – slotting people, places, and activities into what appeared to be appropriate circles – it soon became apparent that although the circles are present in all our caves, the content of the circles is unique to each and every one of us. It was not possible for me to use some one else’s map and apply it to my circles.

Considering placement in the circles, the answer to my original question about use of time and energy began to emerge – they should be directed towards the innermost circles because those were the most important areas of my life.

And this realisation, itself, lent import to placement. I became very aware of the impact of movement between circles, of my previous tendency to permit admission to an inner circle of people who had by no means earned the right to be there. I became aware also of my tendency to dissipate time in outer circles because the people or activities there provided what seemed like an entertaining diversion.

The circles are carved indelibly on the wall of the cave – the beautiful fairy made sure of that. The content of the individual circles is down to me and is subject to change. I must make certain to re-visit from time to time and to make adjustments as necessary.

Before inviting any one or any activity into an inner circle, and be sure they only arrive there by invitation, I must be sure that they merit the invite. And should time and behaviour prove them not worthy of that place then I must be prepared to move them out again.

Only by making these adjustments can I make good use of time and energy.

γ€€Audio Version at


14 Responses to “First I Dreamt the Journey – Part 15 – Inner Circles”

  1. Beautiful in a dreamy way. It is like you are rearranging your mind.

    Time and energy, till a certain point in life there seems to be an endless supply. Then there comes a time when you realise: There is not. Still I think the best time spent, is when doing as little as possible. Just breathing and watching. Being one with the world.

    Keep your inner circle intact πŸ™‚

    • belfastdavid Says:

      πŸ™‚ I am doing exactly that Ina – rearranging my mind – in a beneficial way πŸ™‚

      It is fascinating is it not how our relationship with time changes as we get older. And I tend to agree with you about best time spent πŸ™‚

      (((Big Hug)))

  2. David,

    I have been anticipating this chapter. I knew it would be the hardest, and in some ways, the most important one for me to visit again.

    I don’t have a lot of those circles. I’ve been selective in who I add to my life, and allow myself to name them in my heart as “friend”. People tell me I am a hard person to understand. But, all it takes is trust. It has taken me over 50 years to understand that trust goes both ways. The ripples go both ways from those circles.

    I think fewer circles are, in many ways, harder to keep in balance than a lot of them. It’s tougher to clear out and add to when you are keeping space for only so many, and those you have create a deeper wake.

    I love what Ina said about time best spent. Absolutely! And yes, all our relationships change through the years, especially the one we have with time. As days and years grow fewer, like those few good friends I have, they also become more treasured.

    I hope you are enjoying lots of those perfect days.

    Much love,

    • belfastdavid Says:


      You prompted me to think deeply with this comment.
      Yes – trust goes both ways and it took me a lot of years to learn that too!! Often it requires a step of faith on our part to allow us to take the risk of trusting knowing that to do so we run the risk of getting hurt. It is certainly also true that the older we get the more reluctant we become to take that step – but it is not impossible.

      Scott Peck argues in ‘The Road Less Travelled’ that we have only so much emotional energy and we need to look after it so that it is available for those who really matter – I had to learn that too. Today I truely value those small number of people who I know are friends πŸ™‚

      Relating to time, isn’t it wonerful how we move from our teenage years when we had all the time in the world and thought we knew everything to where we are today where time is limited and we know we know nothing!!! πŸ™‚

      Let us both make the most of the time we have and live in and enjoy the day πŸ™‚

      With much love

  3. The circle design reminded me of Carl Jung’s mandala.

  4. Hi David,

    Inner Circles is certainly where I am at right now. So to re-visit this chapter is certainly a great reassurance to me. Thankyou!
    You have certainly become a part of the tools of providence for me. The right blog and the right words always seem to emerge to help me find those tools or remember them πŸ™‚ to go on with postivity and confidence into my days.

    Making the adjustments to live a more postive and productive life is certainly one of those tasks that is easier to talk about then do. *smile* The effort is certainly worth it though. The rewards we reap by living in space which works for us where are not wrestling against time or others are the rich rewards of peace and contentment that can not be for myself personally in any case treasured enough. πŸ™‚

    I have to agree with Ina too. Being one with lthe world is indeed the best time spent of all. πŸ™‚

    I hope you are having a lovely week?

    • belfastdavid Says:


      Thank you for this wonderfully reassuring comment. I am heartened and delighted by it. πŸ™‚

      We all do well from time to time to make space to re-evaluate, to re-assess, and to make sure we are building that space in which peace and contentment can exist. And to make sure we are doing the work to ensure that space can be maintained. It is, as you say, “certainly worth it” πŸ™‚

      I am having a lovely week thank you – I am working on a poem which I think I am very pleased with, and I bought myself a new poetry book this week. I will make myself a quiet place in which to enjoy it πŸ™‚


  5. christine Says:

    I was reading the other day about how circles play such a part in nature, one example, without giving a science lesson, was a crater.
    This then brought to mind curcle of influence and circle of concern which I learned from you in Fulford.

    I love the way the inner circles are indelible on the cave wall, and also that vhe fairy has just given enough informatin so that we can continue our own work on those circles.

    I have recently made a start on the positives which I can see forming on the back of the MS diagnosis. These circles can help as I now have (as you said)to rearrange my mind to accomodate the precious people I need who, hopefully, will walk with me on this stage of my journey. Others, sadly but necessarily, have been moved further outside. Some places too, also.

    As regards time and energy, these too have to be handled with love. MS is giving me necessary slots of time which I now use to reflect, think or simply be, and surprisingly I am feeling quite “at one with the world” as someone else said.

    This is a lovely piece and I am so grateful I am in a position to avail myself of its helpful and reassuring content.

    I try not to go on about the MS too much but it is still very much !in my face”. I suspect it will balance out eventually.

    Lots of love
    and a hug



    • belfastdavid Says:

      One of the things which has been fascinating me these last few months Christine is watching how you have been applying learning from your recovery from alcoholism to this new phase of your journey. Without that learning I am sure you would be finding this much more difficult.

      You have lessons to teach me in the way you are handling the problems posed to you by the lack of energy which is part of the MS symptoms.

      You go on about it as long as you like – Only by being “out there” about what we are dealing with can we offer hope and support to others. And I do know that you are not defined by the symptoms – you are the same lovely person you always were.

      With lots of love and a big hug

  6. Hi David,

    This is really wonderful. I like the idea of managing your life/relationships with this notion of concentric circles. For a while now, I’ve practiced a similar philosophy, especially when it comes to relationships. Thanks for making me think, again.


    • belfastdavid Says:

      Hi Cathy,

      We are social animals – Relationships are what makes our world go round. The ones which matter deserve our care and attention.

      Delighted to have made you think πŸ™‚


  7. Katherine Says:

    my previous tendency to permit admission to an inner circle of people who had by no means earned the right to be there…yes…I really needed to read this today! a wonderful piece my friend..

    • belfastdavid Says:

      Thank you Katherine,

      I love the synchronicity of my posting this and you posting your latest two poems.

      Take good care of yourself my friend


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