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The Shape of Our Circles

“We are mirrors reflecting one another. The people with whom we surround ourselves shape us, and we shape those around us, too.” Brad Stulberg, The Practice of Groundedness

I had a conversation with two strong players in my circle of influence who both disliked The Banshees of Inisherin, a movie I absolutely loved. The movie shows the desperation of breaking free of circles when you feel trapped in a place. The four main characters each deal with this in their own way, but ultimately the circle is broken. How you react to the character’s choices generally informs what you think of the movie, but it isn’t about their choices, it’s about the desperate friction of a limited circle.

We don’t live in a movie, but they capture our imagination because they often mirror moments in our own lives. Our circle can be a trap that surrounds us or a blessing that informs us. It’s often both, and when we break out of it we can reshape ourselves. People come and go from our lives, and the circle around us fluctuates with the stages of our lives. We ourselves have the agency to choose our dance partners in this lifetime. We’ve each felt the sting that each character in the movie feels.

We’re collectors of people, each of us, gathering relationships and nurturing them over time. We aren’t meant to go it alone for the long haul. Solitude is a blessing best savored in doses. And we are the average of the five people who we associated with the most. This in itself is a blessing or a curse, offering guidance with whom we ought to spend our days with. Our closest relationships help inform us of who we really are, and also reveal where we’re going.

Sometimes we find that the circle doesn’t suit as anymore, and sometimes we find that the people in our circle feel more alive in a different one. Over time we reconcile our place in a series of circles. We’re either running around in circles, circling the wagons or spinning off to another place. That’s life, dizzying as it might seem. But we must always remember we have a hand in shaping our circle even as it shapes us.

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One Comment

  1. After reading your post, Kelly and I streamed the film and agree with the critics’ praise. Stunningly beautiful set! Kinda sad, really; within we get the embedded dark metaphors, from today’s society and political saber-rattling to fragile friendships. Thanks for prompting us to see this wonderful film with its insight into human nature.

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