The Vogue calls it “another well-being trend on the rise” leaving open whether “another” indicates that it will go out of fashion again soon or whether “it will grow as big as yoga” – as my Vedanta-teacher assumes. I think my teacher might be right. Whether it’s done in a spiritual way or in a business context – the format is on the rise. Why though should it be so attractive to show yourself most vulnerable to a group of (often unknown) women by sharing your deepest emotions and feelings with them?
I asked myself the same question. Until I did it. Women’s circles have a different quality than talks with friends (who often want to give you well-meant advice when you might need something different…) or therapists (which I find great, but maybe you feel alone with your issues), as I’ve come to learn (first time in my Be Woman training in Sweden): women’s circles are about creating a bond with other women and appreciating who we are – in all our aspects. But first, what does actually happen in a circle? Here is what I found…
The most important ingredients:
- Non-judgmental attitude: the women you gather with are most probably from all ages and backgrounds. You may find not all of them trustworthy, nice or wise at first sight. In a women’s circle, you practice though to not have any agenda. To have no desire that the other women or you should be, speak or behave differently than you actually do. No judgement! And of course, you promise each other not to talk behind one’s back or tell third parties what has been shared. No bullshit, no gossip.
- Sharing: first, there’s usually a short introduction (this varies a lot – there might be a quick meditation, a welcoming ritual, some singing or the benefits of circles and Vedanta philosophy and how we can see ourselves in a healthier way might be introduced…). Then, the women talk and share one after another. With or without time-restriction. The other women listen and try to be present, even if their own stories and emotions take them away. After having shared, each woman is given reverence for having spoken her truth, for having been courageous and for her story.
- The topic: either the women just talk about the matter “what is present right now in your life”. Or a topic is defined. For example, your relationship with taking up space, money, sexuality, your parents, or jealousy. Or what you want the world (not) to see of you, body complexes or dreams… and many more.
Why is this so magic?
For me, it’s mostly three things that make women’s circle so magic:
- Getting rid of unhealthy images we have about ourselves: in circles, the maximum is done to create an atmosphere that feels safe. Because only when we feel that really anything is welcome, we can be ourselves. And only when we’re in our heart, we can heal. (Healing meaning to eventually get rid of the unhealthy images we have about ourselves – like “I can’t do this, I’m not worthy of this, I’m not loveable the way I am and so on.”). When expressing what is going on inside of you, you may discover also that the stories you carry around are all at once not as heavy as they used to be. While you stay the same in essence, emotions and thoughts come and go, come and go. Only when we welcome them, they have a chance to leave. So: less drama 🙂
- Learning from other people’s experiences: you might find it astonishing, too, what can go on below the surface. Thanks to sharing, you realize that all women have once in a while experienced – or will eventually – the same or very similar situations. You learn how others cope with these situations, and that they might have different perspectives on them. You learn from their experience, their wisdom. Also, you see how other women deal with their emotions when they share – which I find truly inspiring.
- Practicing to be yourself and establishing trust: you learn that if you talk frankly about what is going on inside you, you will always be understood. All women know these emotions, the desires, the insecurities… maybe in different settings, but they feel the same for everyone. You discover that maybe you’re the only one judging certain aspects that hard! By opening up, you may realize that you’re still loved, even if showing sides of you you’re not so proud of. You see that you actually are capable of having a lot of empathy (for yourself and others). Which will make you feel a lot less isolated and lonely.
I recently (yes maybe I’m not the quickest 😉 ) came across this marketing campaign “Is it ok for guys…” and I loved it. Its message reminded me a whole lot of what women’s circles are about. There, it says “It’s time to stop questioning what defines masculinity, because there’s no one way to be ‘a man.’ Just be you.”. Isn’t it what we all want? What I see inside others, is inside me. Other women are a reflection of myself. The wise, the wild, the crazy, the needy, the shy women – all of them – they’re all inside of us. By connecting to others, women’s circles nurture me. And teach me how beautiful it can be to be me.
Thank you Ariane one more time for editing ❤ ❤ ❤