Now I realize how much of my life I have spent being confused and tormented by internalized misogyny. I have considered myself a feminist since I first read the definition in the dictionary, but for a long while I associated empowerment with stereotypical male characteristics. I thought if I wanted to be a strong woman I needed to be unsentimental, practical and extremely rational.
I was afraid of being vulnerable.
On top of that, I hated everything and anything that separated men and women. I wanted us to be completely equal. The idea of a women’s circle sounded kind of sexist and I couldn’t imagine myself enjoying it.
“I thought if I wanted to be a strong woman I needed to be unsentimental, practical and extremely rational. I was afraid of being vulnerable.”
All of the sudden, I deeply craved being with other women.
Yes, I was voraciously reading many books to educate myself about pregnancy, birth and motherhood. But intellectualism and rationality were not enough. I wanted face-to-face, heart-to-heart, woman-to-woman real wisdom and empathy.
I spent countless hours reliving in my memory passionate, warm moments of deep connection with my female friends. I wrote many emails. I read and re-read the answers. I made many phone calls. But I was traveling so much and so far away from those friends. I was lonely.
I was lucky enough to have four amazing women around me during the last few weeks of my pregnancy and at the birth. It made such a difference! They bathed me in attention and affection, they helped me make birth affirmation watercolor paintings, they cooked and cleaned for me and listened with open hearts to the things I would only allow myself to say in front of other women.
That time truly nourished my soul.
“All of the sudden I found my power not on rationality, but on vulnerability and surrender.”
That first time my mom came with me. It was a small group. My friend Mina opened the circle by sharing her story and introducing the theme: menstruation. Afterwards, she invited us to share the story of our first period. It was interesting to think that after all those years, I actually had never heard the story of my mom’s first period. We all sat there on the floor, at the same level, able to look at each other in the eyes, and opened our hearts.
That was the only circle I went to before leaving Mexico.
That small gathering left a deep imprint in my heart. Months later, when I found myself living in Costa Rica I decided to start a Women’s Circle. I had no idea what I was doing, but I just went for it. Every new moon I would call for the circle and women would come, sit on the ground and listen to each other. It was that simple. We had different themes every month. We didn’t have many rules but we did always respect the talking circle: only one person speaks at the time. There is no need for anyone to give advice or opinions. Month by month I saw women who were otherwise introverted and reserved open their hearts and find their voices. They would say the things they didn’t dare to say in front of men in fear of being “too dramatic,” or “too emotional.”
I also learned to listen with curiosity and compassion and I found comfort in the silence between voices, knowing that very deep and valuable moments often hid there. Vulnerability and intimacy fed our souls and little by little a deep complicity and understanding started to bond me to the other women who attended the circle consistently.
“I saw women who were otherwise introverted and reserved open their hearts and find their voices. They would say the things they didn’t dare to say in front of men in fear of being 'too dramatic', or 'too emotional.'”
If you’re in Olympia, WA you can check out our local Gather the Women chapter.
You can also search this directory or add your circle to it.
Our intentions are what make Women’s Circles different than an ordinary get-together with friends. We gather in these circles with the willingness to stir away from casual chitchatting into a slower, deeper way to have a conversation. A way in which you can connect in a deeper level.
If you’re interested on starting your own circle, I would recommend you reading the book “Urgent Message from the Mother: Gather the Women and Save the World.” It’s not nearly as esoteric as the title makes it sound, I promise. The Gather the Women website has a whole wonderful and detailed guide on how to start your own circle.
I’m not going to lie, getting together with a bunch of strangers to talk about what’s going on in your heart can be really intimidating. But it’s truly beautiful and inspiring to remember, circle after circle, that even though we come from different backgrounds, different generations and different circumstances, at the end we really have a lot in common.