This is Who I am | What happens in a Women’s Circle?Jan 11, 2021
Following the lockdown of March 2020, the relaxing of lockdown, and who knows what of lockdown, I find that people really wanted to talk about their lives, how they have come to be where they are or things that are important to them.
PEOPLE WANT TO SPEAK AND TO BE HEARD
It inspired me to open my Guest Blogging doors in a new series and I’ve been in awe of some of the bravery and honesty I’ve been offered for sharing.
One of the elements of my business is that I host a regular Women’s Circle, and still in it’s infancy at the beginning of the lockdown, I wasn’t sure if it would translate to online in the Zoom Room (although, my yoga classes and virtual studio have been great - what was I worried about?).
Here, we laugh, we engage in stimulating conversations about our lives, current affairs, philosophies, we are inclusive, and we learn from each other. Everything is welcome here, we have a Las Vegas rule - what’s said in Circle, stays in Circle - and we never try to fix problems that might be happening for someone else. We trust that each female is capable in her own right.
I am honoured that one of the beautiful ladies from our group has given her account of what happens at a Women’s Circle.
Being a talented and accomplished writer, a gentle and kind yoga teacher and a strong and determined runner and weightlifter, Jess’s words are always valuable 🙏🏼
THIS IS WHO I AM
HOW JOINING A WOMEN’S CIRCLE IMPACTED MY LIFE
In September 2019, I was working towards my yoga teacher training qualification and knew that in order to progress, I needed to look to other teachers and learn from their techniques. So, to the internet I took and noticed a new studio had opened in my home town: All You Yoga.
I checked the site, found classes for different levels, booked onto the level 2-3 advanced one, and immediately began to worry that I wasn’t going to be good enough (yes, despite being a teacher in training myself!). But I went along and was put at ease straight away. Of course I could do it and of course it was accessible, Lee-ann is a fantastic teacher. It gave me just a little more confidence in myself.
I soon began to realise that this studio (as is the case with many studios all over the world) was not just a yoga studio; it was becoming a hub, a centre, a place for community. This is where I joined the Women’s Circle. I took a leap of faith and booked onto a session, not knowing really what I was in for. There were butterflies in my stomach, as usual, but I’ve never been one to let that stop me from doing something I really want to do! I wasn’t entirely prepared for just how this group of women would change my life and open my mind.
One of the most reassuring things about attending was the provision of themes in advance of the Circle. It gave me time to consider my thoughts and what I might like to share. I remember vividly going along to my second circle with a topic in my mind that (although not very interesting) I thought I could chatter about a bit, maybe… but knew that if I chose to simply sit and listen, there was no pressure to participate, if that’s what I wanted.
As we settled down with our tea and candles, on our bolsters with our scarves and blankets, the conversation took a turn.
We began by considering Gaia, Mother Earth and the concept of fertility and motherhood. I was invited to speak but instead of talking about my little topic that didn’t particularly inspire me, I decided to share with this group that I have never and never do intend to have children or become a mother.
Although it absolutely shouldn’t be, this can be a scary thing to admit to people, especially to other women.
A conversation was sparked about societal attitudes to child-free women and women’s roles in general. We talked about the expectations of being nurturing and caring, being able to do this in other ways, the value of all women, and seeing ourselves as a strong force for change in the world.
I was taken aback by the complete lack of judgment at my disclosure and
incredibly moved by the support I was given by every single woman there
It was a strange and reassuring moment in my life that I won’t forget.
Since that circle, I have felt more and more confident speaking with these incredible women. They are some of the strongest people I know, who have incredible sensitivity, insight, and integrity. Each woman has a unique life experience, perspective, and wisdom.
It became clear to me that this would be a place I could come to of acceptance and understanding but that would provide me with an incredible capacity for growth and empathy. I have learned so much from the women in the circle in the year I’ve been attending.
WHAT DO YOU EVEN TALK ABOUT?
I get asked what we talk about and what happens at these Circles. I get asked if we’re a book club or if we just talk about what we’re watching on telly that month.
It’s hard to describe because the conversations we have are incredibly organic. Indeed, we have themes that tend to give a little focus, but these are a baseline, and discussions and ideas flow, grow and flower like a meadow. Sometimes, it may be that someone in our circle just needs a little extra love and support that month, as I found in the pre-Christmas circle and was provided with not just words of comfort but suggestions of action too. Other times, we may explore a philosophy, goddess, or concept of feminine power.
Recent times have been hard for us all, there have been challenges met and faced by everyone. In that we are united. I was only able to meet with the Women’s Circle for a couple of sessions before the country was put into a lockdown. We have been unable to meet as a group, in-person since then. But we have still held our circle online.
Whilst nothing beats being able to interact with people face-to-face, seeing everyone smiling and waving at me from their little boxes on the screen of my laptop, has been an absolute lifeline.
I know that whatever else is occurring in the world or in my life, whatever hardships are coming my way, I have something to look forward to each month. As one of the women at the Circle said at our last meeting,
I am someone who will actively reach for connection if I feel I need it.
It can be one of the scariest things in the world to book onto something where you know no one. Turning up or logging on can make your heart race and your stomach knot. I’ve done this a lot in the past few years and never have I regretted it. I have always met someone interesting to talk to in the least, and sometimes gained a lifelong friend or gone down a path in my life that I wouldn’t have foreseen. I only trained as a yoga teacher because I happened upon the right class at the right time in my life.
I know that clicking that booking button over a year ago to come and sit in a Circle with some lovely ladies was one of the best decisions of my life.
~ Jess Cooper, Nottingham
It’s difficult to convey just how lovely it is, but when I received Jessica’s guest blog, I did this
because I really do know the loveliest people 🙏🏼
Ten months into the surreal situation of living with this virus, our Circle has spent more time together online than in person and it’s evolved into something really quite special.
As you may have learned from Jess’s account, this is a very powerful, loving, and strong group of females and we want to share the wonderful experiences we’re having here. If you have ever considered being part of something like this, I would really urge you to try it (you can click here to see the dates and times and to book a space).
We all agree it is a brave and bold thing to do to try something completely new and to join a group of people that you may not know. I want to promise you that is important to every single one of us that our Circle remains curious, open, and welcoming. In fact, one of our number came along having moved to the area and not knowing any of us at all - she attests that she felt welcomed and at home straight away.
We meet each month - currently online - and everyone is involved as much or as little as they want to be.
We all gain something different each month. We’re all connected. And we’re all stronger for it.
Can we welcome you?
I NEED A MAN
Let’s not forget our men-folk!
It is my intention to create something just as valuable and meaningful for the men of our community - read this blog I need a man, can you help? for some more details and please get in touch if you are interested to be involved.
If this contribution has spoken to you or helped you in any way, please do use the space below to offer your thoughts.
And if you’d like to contribute to this blog series yourself, please do get in touch because
I WANT TO GET TO KNOW YOU
I would love for you to contribute to my blog so that I and the whole world can learn how wonderful you are. Submissions of guest blogs can be anywhere between 400 and 800 words, but don’t let the numbers worry you. Let me know how you want to be credited as the author of your story; “Lee-ann, Nottingham”, “LC, United Kingdom” etc. Of course, if you would rather not be identified that’s fine too, we can call you Anonymous, because hiding can be fun too, right?
I’m really grateful that you’ve taken the time to read this post and if you listen to the interview I’d love to know what you thought. I hope it has offered some value for you.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this - perhaps you might like these articles as well?
And if you’ve REALLY enjoyed reading this, perhaps you might like to celebrate with me and buy me a Virtual Coffee?