Into The Circle with Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.

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A monkey on an island near Japan begins washing her sweet potatoes in the ocean. In time, all the monkeys on the island are washing theirs. Then, all the monkeys on all the other islands are doing the same. "Not logical," says Jean Shinoda Bolen, but "when each of us individually changes" there is a "critical number...after which the culture changes." With this story as an opening metaphor, celebrated Jungian analyst, psychiatrist, and author Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. champions women's circles as sanctuaries for transformation, a million of which could change the world. Circles are fertile ground for changing our hierarchical, patriarchal culture to one of communication, support, and growth. A circle may be a dialogue group, prayer or meditation group, support or project group - whatever the agenda, its members can create "soul connections" for each other that become "agents of sociological change." Explore the potentials and possibilities of circles, their history, their structure, their ultimate purpose and significance when members uncover "reciprocal revelations" that lead to "sacred dimensions" of their voices and their souls. (hosted by Justine Willis Toms)


Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. is a psychiatrist, Jungian analyst, and an internationally known speaker. She is a former board member of the Ms. Foundation, an advocate for a 5th UN World Conference on Women, a convener of the Millionth Circle Initiative, as well as a permanent representative to the UN representing the NGO, Pathways to Peace.

She's the author of many books, including:

To learn more about Jean Shinoda Bolen go to

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How and why women use conversation differently than men
  • Eight essentials for a successful circle
  • How to start and maintain a circle
  • The difference between a hierarchy and a circle
  • How hierarchies are like dysfunctional families
  • How circles get into trouble
  • Transformations that emerge from circles
  • How to avoid conflict in a circle
  • The sacred dimension of circles

Host: Justine Willis Toms      Interview Date: 12/22/1999      Program Number: 2803