Back in October, I had the pleasure of spending 4 days in a circle of powerful, warm, funny, wise women. We listened to each others’ stories, built a labyrinth of leaves, cried together, laughed together, ate together, dreamed together, and plotted ways of changing the world. It was one of the best experiences of my life. I felt like I was wrapped in the warmest hug of feminine support.
Even though I’d never met any of the women before, we were able to create an incredibly loving and energizing environment. This circle of women continues to meet periodically to offer each other support over the phone lines. I feel very, very blessed to have them in my life.
This is not the kind of feminine relationships you hear most about in the corporate world. No, we’re more likely to hear of cat fights, gossip, and “bitches” who do anything to protect their own interest. Some of that is true, and some of it isn’t. I’ve experienced both sides of the coin. I believe that the part that is true is largely due to the fact that there is incongruence between corporate culture and the most instinctual way for women to relate to each other. We haven’t found a way to bring our feminine wisdom fully into the boardrooms and cubicles (and frankly, our feminine wisdom might very well abolish both boardrooms and cubicles).
One of the greatest beauties of the circle/story retreat I was at in October was the range of ages and life wisdom of the women in the room. The youngest was a medical doctor who hadn’t yet reached 30, and the oldest was into her 70s. We had all archetypes – maidens, mothers, and crones – represented in the room, and it was a beautiful thing that reminded me of the best kind of community.
It was a particular delight to me to have such beautiful older women present – women who fully embodied and embraced the “crone” archetype. Beth and Diane in the photo above are two of those women. Wow! These women are amazing! Their energy, wisdom and pure delight in the world continue to inspire me these many months later. They didn’t try to hide their ages behind layers of make-up or plastic surgery as the fashion industry has convinced many women to do. They celebrate who they were, dance in the leaves like phoenixes rising from the flames, and share their wisdom and strength in the most generous way I have ever seen.
How I wish they could live next door to me and I could sit at their kitchen table whenever I need a boost of courage!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of having a conversation with Diane (whose face you see above). Even over Skype, Diane sparkles with energy and love. I adore her. She teaches Reiki, leads women’s circles, has a labyrinth in her back yard, builds sweat lodges, and does all kinds of amazing things in support of other women. She has become one of my most treasured mentors. I can’t tell you what it means to have a cheerleader like Diane who absolutely believes that I am on the right path and will do anything she can to help me along that path. If she believes that I will succeed, how can I not?
On the other side of the coin, I too have had the pleasure of becoming a mentor to a younger woman who sparkles with energy and love. Last year, when I was at ALIA, I met Qualla Parlman. We spent her nineteenth birthday kayaking off the coast of Nova Scotia, followed by a delicious barbecue on the dock. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time with her at ALIA (as we weren’t in the same sessions), but since then we’ve gotten to know each other better online and I absolutely adore Qualla and I would do anything to help her succeed. She is an emerging young leader who’s learning to trust her feminine wisdom and I just know she will do big things in the world. I am honoured to be a companion on her journey.
It’s the way of women, isn’t it? The true, natural, instinctual way of women – not the way we have been socialized to become (or to believe we are). We are meant to support each other through the generations and across the generations. We are meant to find wise women who will teach us the ways of the world, and then we are meant to BE those wise women and offer our wisdom generously and without apology to others who need it.
Who are your wise women, and to whom are you offering your wisdom?