"Lighthouse Collage by Jenny
“Gathering in circles is an ancient practice being revived in our time. We have dialogue circles to improve communication, conflict resolution circles to negotiate crises, therapeutic circles to explore our emotions, problem-solving circles to puzzle out hard questions, team-building circles to cheerlead for a common cause, and collaborative learning circles to deepen our education. All of them have worthy purposes, but none of them has the singular intent of a circle of trust: to make it safe for the soul to show up and offer us its guidance.” ~Parker Palmer
Yesterday was my monthly Women’s Wisdom Circle gathering and today I am still reflecting on the experience. One of my intentions this year is to dig deep into what “self-care” really means for me—what does it look like to be impeccable about how I care for myself everyday? How do I nurture and nourish myself on every level? How can I let go of the hustle and live closer to the flow state? What do I really need and how do I make it a priority in my daily life to take responsibility for myself in this way? In order to support this inquiry, I have invited a conversation around this theme of self-care with other women.
Because we have so few role models for what a truly vital, nourished, radiant, whole woman looks like, we need to begin the quest to discover it for ourselves and then share our findings with each other. Here is what I know for sure right now: yes, we must take good care of our bodies through diet, exercise and rest. Yes, we need to deal with our emotional baggage and clean up the past. Yes, our minds can benefit from regular de-cluttering and some kind of meditation practice. But, most importantly, how we connect with and relate to our SOUL is everything. When a woman is connected to her Soul essence, she is her most authentic self. She is strong, wise, creative, intuitive, charismatic, dignified, and POWERFUL. In the yogic tradition, this is the Shakti—or feminine force that gets activated and unleashed. A woman connected to her soul is a lighthouse—she is able to elevate others just by her presence. She is beautiful because she radiates self-love and radical acceptance of both her divinity and her humanity. She is a genius because she is sharing her unique brilliance by standing completely in the light of her inherent giftedness rather than the shadow of her doubt. A woman connected to her soul is a genuine blessing to others.
What I witnessed in circle yesterday was the emergence of this soul essence in each woman. Here is what else I know for sure: given the space, time and invitation—the soul will show up. As John O’Donohue, the great Irish writer says, the soul is a “shy presence” and it will never force its way, uninvited, into your life. You need to open the door, step back, let her enter freely, give her a cup of tea, invite her to take a seat and then just wait for her to speak. Host the soul just as you would the most special guest. It really doesn’t need to be more complicated than that. As I had the privilege of observing in circle yesterday—when a woman begins to speak from her soul, she taps into, and pours forth from, an inner spring of wisdom, truth and beauty. It doesn't necessarily translate as profound or otherworldly. But it is moving. When she is giving from her essence there is a natural strength that she is drawing on and it transmits as unmistakable grace.
I am grateful to be a part of the creation of such a “circle of trust” in this capacity. Here are a few more things that I know for sure regarding what happens, particularly, when women gather in this way:
• Our struggles look very similar, while our strengths shine with a distinction unique to each of us. Our soul gifts are given the space to emerge in circle relationship.
• A natural healing intelligence is cultivated when women gather with intention. That’s because the archetype of wholeness (and femininity) has a shape and it’s a circle.
• Our stories are medicinal—embedded within them lie our deepest wisdom. Sharing our stories consciously sets the wisdom (and us) free--allowing the healing to complete.
• Learning to truly love and accept ourselves is the greatest self-help. Waking up to our real beauty—as an embodiment of the Divine—is what self-empowerment is all about.
• We are all leaders and guides in some capacity in our lives. To be a leader is to bring out the highest and best in ourselves and each other. When we lead from our strengths, we inspire others to do the same.
• We are all infinitely creative and resourceful. When we allow our wise, intuitive heart to guide us, we will know exactly what to do and how to do it. Who and what you surround yourself with will influence your creation. Choose the highest caliber!
Who is in your circle of trust? What makes your soul sing? Are you listening? This month practice being hospitable to your own soul and investigate what would nourish and revitalize your connection to the wise self who may just be the one patiently holding the door open waiting for you to step inside and take a seat.
For more information on my monthly women’s circle contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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