I was trying to think about why I prefer a Women’s Circle to a Ladies Night Out. They both serve a lot of the same functions: connection, pausing from our regular responsibilities to relax, unwind, seeing that we all have a lot of the same issues and/or realizing that our problems aren’t so bad at all compared to what others are facing.

I confess that being an empathetic introvert, I have never been all that good at ‘ladies night’s out’: spending a good portion of most of them listening to other women go on and on about things of little interest to me, wondering why I went again and then usually slowly unwinding as I drink more alcohol to finally bond and enjoy myself.

As I get older, I try to just relax and enjoy this whole ‘social’ aspect. It’s hard I confess, especially for where I am in my life with four children and struggling with many different issues and both financial and personal challenges. I like every moment of my life to be either productive or recharging. And I admit that I am learning how to make ladies nights out recharging and not so much effort on my part.

I’m getting better. I went to one the other night that a friend has regularly which makes it kinda like a Circle. And as I’m getting to know the ladies, I find it to be more and more enjoyable.

But I still prefer Women’s Circles.

Why?

Women’s Circles usually start out with a ritual. It separates and marks time saying, ‘Okay, that was my ordinary everyday. Do this. Do that. But now, we are gathering here for a purpose: something of value and importance that deserves respect.’

You see, we’re ‘filling our buckets’.

They teach about this at my kids’ school nowadays: how you have to do things that ‘fill your bucket’. Isn’t that awesome? Well, our Circle starts with sage … just the smell reminds everyone to breathe deeply and release. Release all that tension you are holding on to. Release all the anger, the jealousy … whatever emotions are getting in the way of you being the best you that you can.

And then we ‘call in the directions’. Native American. Pagan. To me, it’s poetry that acknowledges life is made up of beautiful opposites that we need to find an equilibrium between.

And then we sing. We’re not all that good. Sometimes we’re horrible. But sometimes, we’re pretty good. The secret? Enjoying yourself. Putting everything you have into that song or drumming, not in a ‘I’m going to hog the limelight and make everyone listen to me’ type way, but in a ‘close your eyes’ and listen.’ Really listen to the words. They’re important.

We are circling.  Circling together. We are singing.Singing our heart song.This is family.This is unity. This is celebration.This is sacred.

You see, we’re making something by doing this. You know how one angry person can come in to a room and affect it? Spreading tension and raising heartbeats so that you feel their rage and suffering?

Well, this is the opposite. Think of spreading joy. Think of spreading love. Peace.

Yes, it can be thought of as ‘hippie shit.’ But it’s most certainly not denying pain or responsibilities when we pass around our ‘talking bowl’. I love that this gives equal time for everyone to reach down deep and figure out for themselves what it is that is their biggest challenge right now.

I think about this during the day often on Women Circle days – what I’m going to say, but then I’m often surprised about what comes out of my mouth when it is my turn. Oh, I thought that was what was bothering me, but what a surprise. How many of us deny the things that are really getting under our skin?

This has been such an incredible learning experience for me on how to be accepted for what I think and feel. No one is ‘reacting’, giving their opinion or advice.

This has been one of the most important areas of growth in my life: realizing that I don’t have to justify what I think or feel to anyone except myself. I’ve learned how to draw boundaries with my husband, my family, my in-laws and friends saying this is what I require. Yes, I’ll then listen to your side, but I’m not going to spend endless amounts of time or energy justifying mine.

If you choose to see things differently, even in a way that I feel is unfair or wrong, that is your choice. Not mine.

And then we pass around our journal writing down some intentions and goals. As the Chesire Cat, says you can’t get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going. As the year’s go by, it’s amazing to see just how many of these goals I have accomplished and how they have changed and are changing.

We finish by saying a blessing, maybe Christian, maybe poetry, maybe philosophical, astrological or whatever, but something that releases all that energy we have drawn into the room so we can return to our everyday life full of responsibilities and roles.

It seems so simple to me.

And as I have been involved with this and the FindAWomensCircle.com site, I have had the good fortune of speaking to lots of ladies who have done ‘Her Work’ for decades. They talk of Priestessing and Goddesses and Witches … and I realize that a good percentage of the time, I have absolutely no idea what they are speaking of.

Dangerous? Oh my Goddess, what am I getting myself in to …

Priestess. Goddess. Witch. Let those words sit on your tongue and watch what comes up.

I have years of conditioning, culture, fear and emotion that those words evoke. Every time I hit that, I sit and think on it.

Why can’t a women be a priest?

Why can’t God have female aspects as well?

What if a witch is really a healer in tune with nature and the cycles?

And then I push myself. I push that line of just accepting what I have been told and thinking for myself. Of acknowledging fear, but then deciding whether or not I want to proceed anyhow.

Good and bad can be found everywhere and in everyone. I will no longer stop at generalizing groups and cultures.

And I’m learning how to decide this for myself. I’m figuring out who I am, who I want to be and how to get there.

And I couldn’t do it without my Women’s Circle.

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