January is a great month to reflect and take stock. Here in Aotearoa, new year comes in the midst of the summer holidays so is often a time when we can have some down time and lazy days …
I have been reflecting on the ‘Women’s Journey to Herself’ workshops that we have run over the last couple of years.
I am remembering the women … all the women who have shown up for themselves, who have had the courage to give themselves time and space to be – and listen.
It is such a privilege to offer a space of warmth, acceptance and possibilities. For some women it is the first time they have ever experienced such a place.
A place where we can bring into the light what may have been in the shadows for a long time ….
When we – Tracey, Kathryn, Peta and I – first started working together back in 2017, we were moved by the work of Judith Duerk and her book ‘Circle of Stones’.
This book in fact inspired us with the name of our workshop. We wanted to create a place for women to be with other women. An actual place ….
One of the most beautiful, heart-felt and transformational aspects of our workshop is the witnessing that happens.
Being witnessed and being the witnesser are both as powerful as each other.
And this isn’t something that we, as facilitators, can plan how it is exactly going to happen or when an individual woman is ripe and ready… Our job as facilitators is to create a chalice of aroha and whanaungatanga. Together we all create a vessel to hold each other, to see each other, to feel each other’s joy, pain, fear, excitement – whatever is in the space, whatever it is that each woman might bring.
There have been so many poignant moments when a woman has shared something which she has kept hidden, under wraps, in the dark, something she feels shame about.
I remember another woman who had carried the shame of a sexual trauma she had experienced as a young woman for a long time. She had been working with a therapist for a while; she realised pretty early on in the workshop why she had been drawn to come: that she needed to tell this story out loud to this group. To have her story heard, for her to be witnessed.
This was not an easy process – she struggled all that day with the inner turmoil of knowing this experience was like a boil that needed lancing to release it’s power over her and allow her to move ahead in her life; yet she had held the shame and hurt in for so long, she had built such strong defences.
We had no expectations of what she should or shouldn’t do. We knew that when she was ready, she would know. Such is the power of women, such is the power of a circle of women.
For that woman, telling her story and being heard and accepted was profound and she has gone on to make significant changes in her life since. Kia kaha!
It is not our job to fix anything or anybody; it is not our job to try and convince anyone of anything; it is not our job to judge, have solutions, or do a ‘me too’.
Witnessing another woman’s story is a powerful process for the listener; as powerful a process in fact as sharing is for the woman being witnessed. Our hearts can be stirred. We can be moived to tears, reminded of our own pain, hurt, despair …..
Sometimes being the witnesser is enough.
I love what Jeanette LeBlanc has to say.
Yay to circles of women!
Come and join us and experience the power of witnessing for yourself. We would love to have you join us