I hope you will go out and let stories happen to you, and that you will work them, water them with your blood and tears and you laughter till they bloom, till you yourself burst into bloom. ~Clarissa Pinkola Estes
This weekend I had the honor of gathering with a group of amazing women for a Sonoran desert version of The Mother of All Releasing Ceremonies. Some I knew very well, others old friends I had not seen in some time, and others I met for the first time. All joined by six degrees of connection. I used to hold circles for a small group of friends on an occasional new moon, but it was never an open circle. Worried about crossing my people over, I had everyone sort of segmented in nice little boxes. I was always afraid of bringing people from different parts of my life together. You see, for me, this releasing has mostly been about letting go of abandonment. So I set things up nicely to keep myself somewhat in isolation.
I don’t have a fear of being alone, exactly, but of being left. I’ve had a lot of fear around the idea that if I am myself all the time, my “authentic wise, and sometimes foolish self,” I may be rejected. It’s the foolish part that scares me the most, but if I don’t set her free, there’s really no authenticity to speak of. This foolish girl has gathered many forms of rejection over the years: I might offended someone, they disagreed with me, we share opposing visions for future, we grow apart naturally but feelings are hurt, they think me or my ideas are stupid, simple, crazy, I am incorrect about something I present, I eat meat, I am not religious enough, I am too spiritual, I dig The Symphony of Science and I listen to pop music….etc. And my basket was heavy. I was beginning to feel the stagnation that comes with the weight of that story. Of isolation and abandonment, My story. Enter The Mother of All Releasings. On feathered wings and smoke, I let it all go, together with 10 women committed to doing the same with their story.
The more I circle with women, the more I make myself vulnerable and share as well as open and listen, the more I realize we are more alike than different. We all struggle with the same basic physical as well as emotional needs. When I release myself from the saddlebags of my own story of rejection, I gather bits of hers and become available to carry it with her. My story, her story, they become the stories of the universe. We let them happen to us, but we do not own them or carry them for long. They becomes life in motion. Rejection doesn’t exist and isolation is only an illusion, because I no longer see myself as separate from the whole.
So here’s to women in circle. The Stitch n Bitch, the Quilting Bee, the Boardroom, new moon, full moon, bible study, canning parties, medicine making, wildcrafting, book clubs, moms night out. If you’ve ever wanted to gather the women, I’m urging you to just do it. Find a place, and open yourself up, invite everybody. Trust the power that women carry when we join forces for our greatest good, and circle round.
The following is a video tribute to our beautiful evening. Sorry about the blurry pictures, but life was in motion last night.