I love this blog by my inspiring and mindfully creative friend and yogi, Lisa.
5 Tips For Hosting A Women’s Circle by Lisa Zaehringer
Women’s circles are swiftly becoming the new girls night out. Farewell to the seemingly antiquated days of cocktails and gossip, and salutations to joining women’s circles – nourishing all-female gatherings that often involve intention setting, ritual, self-discovery, learning, and meaningful dialogue (no judginess allowed).
Opportunities to get involved with an ongoing women’s circle are popping up, you just need to know where to look and ask around – yoga studios, health food market community bulletin boards, doulas, holistic health/naturopathic centers, health/wellness coaches, chiropractor offices, to name a few.
Or, how about hosting your own? That’s what I do!
When my husband, John, deployed a few years ago I began seeking authentic spiritual connection with salt-of-the-earth women as a way to steady and ground myself. Little did I know these relationships were the seeds that later bloomed into facilitating women’s circles. Then, becoming a mother unexpectedly brought the yearning to spend sacred time with my “women tribe” to a whole other level – an expansive, creative, and open-minded experience grounded in tradition.
When Oliver (my son) was about 6 months old, we were standing in line to pay for our weekly “Mommy and Me” yoga class in Nashville. A book about women’s circles for mothers (A Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life by Renee Trudeau) was practically glowing on a shelf. Because I am keenly aware of synchronicity, and how the Universe is always conspiring to help me, I trusted this was a nudge and bought it that day. I spent the next 3 months researching and preparing for hosting a women’s circle. Finally, we met monthly for 6 months prior to the Army relocating us. It was balm for my entire being as I transitioned into motherhood. It was grounding, soulful, transformative, uplifting, eye-opening, healing, validating, nourishing, empowering. Frankly, it’s difficult to put into words, as it’s more of an experience, a feeling. It’s like trying to define or describe “love”.
Recently, when we arrived to our temporary (we’ll be here for 7months) duty station, I quickly recognized my need to practice self-care by gathering with like-minded women once again. I decided to team up with my favorite local yoga studio to host a one day women’s circle called Awakening Your Inner Goddess: A Half-day Retreat to Experience Self-Nourishment. The creative process has been exhilarating and soul-fueling. I have met inspiring and soulful women along the way.
Going deep with friends is truly vital in the age of overstuffed schedules and surface-level social media friendships. I’m interested in heartfelt in-person connections. Gathering in a women’s circle is an opportunity to slow down and tune inward together in a safe and sacred space. It’s a special time to refill my “love tank” – to reconnect, rebalance, and rejuvenate – so I can care for myself and others from a place of wholeness.
Ready to trade your usual plans for something a little more soulful? Here are five tips I have learned about leading women’s circles.
1. Consider time and date
Gathering on or very near the new moon each month is traditionally an auspicious time to gather. It’s a celebration of renewal, a sacred time to reflect and set intentions for the month ahead. Allow 2 ½ to 3 hours for the duration of the gathering. This invites everyone to slowly unwind, settle in, and savor the experience and each other.
Any number will do, but 10 to 15 is a comfortable number to aim for. Allow your intuition to guide you toward who to invite. Deep trust among the woman typically develops over time (yet, can be sometimes be quick). This trust lends itself to deepening the experience as women feel safe enough to open up more.
3. Pick a theme
A theme for each gathering helps to set the tone – gratitude, joy, forgiveness, own your personal power, unleash your creativity, self-love, life transitions, authenticity, holistic living, dream interpretation, and so much more! Consistently follow a structured sequence, while allowing the circle time to organically fold. For example, perhaps begin with a guided meditation (read by someone in group or find an audio version), followed by some gentle movement such as a few rounds of slowly embodied half sun-salutations. Then have some sort of ceremony/ritual such as smudging with sage (pass lit smudge stick around circle and have someone slowly say “Take a deep breath. Exhale and allow the smoke from the burning sage to carry away all that is not needed here today” until the sage stick has been passed around completely) and/or a candle lighting ceremony that opens with a blessing . Go around the circle and light each other’s candles, and whoever would like to add to the blessing is welcome to do so – always remind women it’s okay to not share aloud if need be…no pressure. Next, read a passage/quote/excerpt from a book/blog/magazine that echoes your theme. Then, journal about the theme perhaps using a journal prompt or sentence stem. Discuss the theme using a talking stick while minding the guidelines (below). End by pausing to silently reflect and set personal intentions for the month ahead. Share intentions aloud. Thank each other for showing up and blow out candles together.
4. Special guest
Hire a health and wellness guest speaker based on the theme – Reiki master, nutritionist, massage therapist, yoga teacher, counselor, health/wellness coach, pastor/minister, professor from local university/community college, local author, nurse/doctor with holistic approach to healthcare, wise grandmother figure, henna artist, musical guest to play flute, harp, acoustic guitar, the options are endless! Try not to be afraid, shy, or embarrassed to ask. Most people will be humbled and excited by your interest in their work.
5. Maintain a safe and sacred space
“What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgment and control.” Heather Plett
Picture credit to sacredpregnancy.com