Women circle; a necessity of our time.

Women Singing the Earth”© Artist: Mary Southard, CSJ
www.MarySouthardArt.org www.MinistryOfTheArts.org

Starting to write this, I wanted to look up the history and ancient tradition of women circles. Partially because I want to present you with a comprehensive and compelling essay on women circles and why I feel we need to have that in all cities and villages hopefully more than one. But that’s not all the other part is my own doubt that I can write something of my own of my words without the aid of historical facts and stories of others. Then I realized that just like I will be using Google to look up that info anyone can! What you The reader can not look up is my own experience and thoughts, and that is what I’m writing. 

In December 2018, in a conversation with a friend, Mims, the topic of a women circle came up. She, wishing someone would facilitate and host a circle in her yoga studio, and myself wanting to facilitate that but can’t find space. It didn’t take long to collaborate and make that an offering at the studio. 

Jellyfish Lake, Palau 2012

For most of 2019, I hosted the circle, and it has taught me valuable lessons. What those evenings of intimacy and togetherness highlighted is our need to

connect;

be heard;

be witnessed;

be accepted, and

know we are not alone. 

The magic and alchemy of the circle is that no matter how many women attended or stories told, there was always a comment made along 

I can relate

I can understand

Because that happened to me too. 

I did my best to be present, to create a space that can be safer to many, and to listen. But most importantly, I wanted to create a space where authentic choices are made. 

As women, especially in our region, we need to exercise the muscle of making true choices. And by true choices, I mean: 

Choices that arise from;

awareness of ourselves, 

our values, 

and our present. 

Not choices coming as 

reactions to circumstances, 

rebellion because someone said no, 

cultural conditioning, 

wanting to be someone else, and the list goes on. 

True choice, the way I see and feel, comes from

 a deep knowing of who we are, 

our strengths and weaknesses, 

our conditioning and trauma, 

our nervous system capacity, and

our ability to be sensitive to what is. 

I stand for choice; for a woman’s choice to be and live without the should and have to. 

At the women circle, there was a choice

to speak or not speak, 

to receive advice or not, 

to cry and laugh, 

to be hugged and consoled or not. 

The heart of the circle was when each participant had three to four minutes to be witnessed and seen, with the choice to speak, speak in a different language, or even gibberish, to dance or be still and silent. 

“Do you need anything from us” is the question I ask after each participant used her time to offer her the opportunity to ask for precisely what she needs and how she needs it. To ask for what we need is yet another skill that we women, desperately need to develop and get comfortable doing. Asking for help has been deemed a weakness by many. With that is the illusion that we can do everything on our own. 

I honestly did not plan to write about choice, but thanks to my decision not to google the history of women circle, and to trust myself enough to write, and stay with the flow of what needed to be expressed through me. 

To bring it back to my initial intention. 

Women circle, a necessity of our time.

It is where we can build our capacity and ability to make true, authentic choices, and ask for what we want now. 

Martha Graham

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