69. The Power of Healing in Community

As women we have discovered there’s an incredible value in coming together as we heal.  Today we share some of our thoughts and observations and honor the work of the community that just came together on our recent Re-wilding retreat in Costa Rica.  

Today we discuss:

-The difference of community verses individual work and the power of an intergenerational community
-How the vulnerability of being open in a group can make healing in community more accessible
-The synergy created in community that allows freedom of individual healing without the need to over share
-When you’re collectively in meditation, yoga or conversation a third energy moves in that guides us toward wholeness as a group as well as individually
-The inclination of the feminine energy toward collaboration
-How capitalism teaches us our value comes from production
-The consistent threads that tie our experiences together and empower us to transcend the space to create healing in relationship
-How this works…. Why clearly creating ground rules allows big emotions to surface and be worked through in safety

-The ground rules from “The Four Agreements” -Don Miguel Ruiz

1) Be impeccable with your word
2) Don’t take anything personally
3) Don’t make assumptions
4) Always do your best

-We’re wired to be compassionate, soft, open, forgiving and non-judgemental with people, yet the current productivity culture can pull us away from that way of being
-The collective experience of COVID and the global opportunity for collective healing and coming together.  There is great power in coming together to heal in community, when one heals we all heal.
-Find the groups that support your healing process wherever they are available.  If you can’t find one, create one!

Quotes by:
Johnette Walser
“Society and culture really don’t hold space for us to deal with big emotions.  Capitalism teaches us we must constantly be productive yet it’s difficult to be productive when you’re dealing with a lot of pain, dealing with a lot of grief, it’s hard to be productive.  We talk ourselves out of really being able to sit with what we need to sit with but to be more productive we need to allow for more healing to happen.”

“Shut the thinking door and open the love window.”

Referenced today:
We Heal Together -Michelle Cassandra Johnson
The Four Agreements -Don Miguel Ruiz

The Millionth Circle: How to Change Ourselves and The World
-Jean Shinoda Bolen

Suggestions for Creating
Women’s Circles
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.   -Margaret Mead
When a critical number of people change how they think and behave, the culture does also, and a new era begins.  Women have great power to shift consciousness and the world at large.  We need the support, encouragement, and tenderness/fierceness of the sisterhood.
A woman’s circle that is trustworthy, has a spiritual center and a respect for boundaries, is a powerful transforming agent for all the women in it.
Ideally groups of 4-12 women work well.  Not everyone needs to be friends or know each other well.  In fact, having people with different perspectives, life experiences, and opinions can provide the richest environment for growth.
A women’s group is for the purpose of support and inner growth.  It’s not necessarily a space for small talk or staying at the surface level.
The space can change, but is essential that the space is safe and free of disturbances.
How often?
This is up to the group.  Aligning with the moon cycle can be a nice way to align with the cycles of nature (i.e., meeting on the new moon or on the full moon).
How long?
This is something the group should decide upon.  But maintaining the boundary of a set time is very important.   One to two hours is a good amount of time.
Is there a leader? 
It is good for one person to be the chosen facilitator.  This person is not the leader per se as women’s groups have no hierarchy.  But this person is willing to start and end meetings, and direct the group back to center if distractions occur.
How to Begin/End A Circle
  • Center the Circle.  Start the circle by either ringing a bell, chanting OM, taking a few moments of silence, lighting a candle, or even speaking the same phrase such as “now we shift from outer focus to inner focus”.
  • Use a talking stick.  Who ever wants to speak takes the stick and shares how they are or opens up about any other thing that they are currently facing.
  • After the first round of check ins, the group may decide to do a second round of discussion focused on a topic or a question.  Or, people may ask for advice from the group.  Another possibility is to spend time dancing, meditating, doing art, or engaging in some other mindful activity.
  • Always close the circle by chanting OM, blowing out the candle, taking a few moments of silence, saying Namaste or ending with a phrase such as “and so it is”
Are there important Rules/Boundaries?
  • No talking over each other.
  • No advice.
  • No judgment.
  • No talking later about what is brought up in the circle – confidentiality is key. Self revelation takes courage and trust, which must be honored and held in confidence.
  • Conversations about others in the circle outside of the circle should be avoided as it can erode the trust of the whole.
  • You might choose to have time limits per person for their share.
What are the benefits of the circle?
  • The creation of community.
  • Gives women space every month to rest, be authentic, honor feelings, and take stock of where you are.
  • Learn patience as you practice listening vs solving/fixing others.
  • We inevitably “trigger” each other at times, which is a great way to learn about yourself.
How To Keep A Circle Healthy? (from Jean Shinoda Bolen’s Book “The Millionth Circle”)
(In principle, each member attends to her own psyche and to the circle).
  1. Each keeps the intention and image of the circle with a center in mind, especially when there are difficulties.
  2. Each seeks her center, in meditation and silence, prays for wisdom, compassion, discernment, and courage for herself, and for the circle.
  3. Each examines the state of her own psyche whenever she feels off-center, or the circle does, and considers possibilities that she is part of the problem:  Am I projecting my shadow onto someone?  Is this a familiar polarized state I get into – is it my complex?
  4. When the energy in the circle feels “off”, anyone can ask for silence for each woman to check in with herself:  How am I?  This pause usually reconnects the circle to the center.
  5. If what is said in the circle was not held in confidence, it is a boundary problem for the circle.  If it is not brought up and resolved the circle is not safe for anyone.
  6. If one person dominates the circle, it is a problem for everyone.  Remember this is a circle of equals.
  7. Once we see how our actions appear and affect others, the problem we may be to others may be solved.
  8. When the problem is letting a woman go when she is ready to leave the circle, the solution begins with acknowledging feelings, however irrational.  Suppose there is anger or guilt, or feelings of abandonment or depression – (that really belong to an unhealed loss from the past).  Then this insight is a parting gift.
  9. When a woman has a problem that is too much for the circle, the separation from the circle is harder.  Not just for the woman who leaves under such circumstances, but on the circle as well.  Both need to “bite the bullet” as the excision is done, and work on healing after.
  10. Remember that a women’s circle is not perfe