Circle and Ritual

Created to acknowledge the power and meaning of our collective life transitions and celebrations (births, divorce, grieving, anniversaries, weddings/unions, house/barn blessings), Deirdre will work with you to co-create a day of ritual to honor these sacred times in our lives. 

 

Women’s Monthly Wisdom Circle  
FALL 

Sunday, October 2nd, 2-4pm  (Paws for Humanity Shelter, Beth Bollenbach) 

CONTRIBUTION: $25 for drop-in (donations go to healing animal sanctuary), limit ten persons 

Pay via Venmo here. 

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Did you know that in Japan, small groups of childhood friends are created to form a kind of “second family”? 
These groups of friends who “meet for a common purpose” to gossip, share and support each other are called “moais” and are a secret to Japanese longevity. Some have lasted over 90 years! 
 
So many of us want this kind of ritual in our lives. 
We deeply yearn for this kind of affirmation and support and laughter. 
 
And to be in a sacred circle of women, well, there’s such power present in simply sharing our experience. 
We are all unique with singular struggles and celebrations, and while some of us may experience our gender or sexuality as fluid, we still share the experience of being embodied as women in a world that is still very threatened by our collective strength and voice. 
 
We share having experienced the projections and conditioning that accompany the roles of “wife”, “girlfriend”, “daughter”, “mother”, “elder” and female (fill in the blank in your work role). And that experience, however light or heavy, is what we can affirm, support, empathize with and celebrate in each other.  
 
At the same time, in this culture that prizes individualism and resilience, we may feel alone or somehow “less than” when we encounter real loss and challenge: the death and dying of those we love, breaches in trust, divorce or broken relationships, illness and aging, financial hardship, simply encountering the anxiety of the unknown…
 
Why do we expect so much of ourselves? 
Where do these expectations come from? 
Why do we expect we need to mask our grief and heal alone? 
What kind of life do we really want to be living? 
What are we seeking to give and receive to enhance the quality of connection in our relationships? 
 

I became an anthropologist because I yearned for rituals to make sense out of this life.. I want to bring back the rituals that mark our stages in the life cycle and celebrate our rites of passage. 

If any of this resonates, I hope you’ll consider this invitation to join our group. 

Our first circle was Saturday, February 26th 1-4pm. 
 

Each circle will follow the themes and design from my online Compassionate Wisdom Course. You do not need to be enrolled in the course to attend these sessions but you will need a copy of the illustrated 116- page Course workbook, which is $20. Scroll through the first half of the workbook here.

 We’ll start by drawing from the first chapter: “Preparing for the Journey”. 

Here are a couple prompts you may want to reflect upon and possibly share with the group in January: 

What habits are you trying to unlearn? 
What is a meaningful ritual you’ve introduced into your life these days and how does it benefit you? 

The practices and content of Compassionate Wisdom are aimed to help us live more fully into who we are, guided by our collective wisdom. In this monthly ritual, we embrace the Beginner’s Mind, show up just as we are, and begin to heal our pain bodies, nurture the neglected parts of ourselves and repair the harm to become whole again.

You can attend the workshops a la carte for $25 or purchase a year’s membership for twelve 3-hour workshops at $240 ($20/workshop). As always, if money is an issue please let me know and we can work something out. For example, you might offer to guide and lead us in some art or contemplative practice for one workshop as a trade. 
 
In addition to the workbook, please bring to our January Circle: 
  • a yoga mat or fold up chair to sit on. 
  • something yummy to eat to share. (I’ll always bring tea)
  • perhaps a friend who might need this right now (feel free to forward this page)

Again, these circles are intentional but also draw from “open space” design, which has four principles:

– whomever comes are the right people
– whatever happens is the only thing that could have 
– whenever it starts is the right time
– when it’s over, it’s over 

Our circles will be “brave” and “safe” spaces where we listen attentively to each other without interruption and maintain confidentiality. I’ll help hold that space yet we are all creating the circle together. : )

Please RSVP to deirdre@spore-studios.com so we have a sense of who is coming or interested in future circles. 
Looking forward to the sharing, laughter and tears! (We welcome it all). 
 
~Deirdre

Circles in my life

Circles are an ancient way of gathering together to foster intimacy and restore our profound interconnection. We may need to repair harm or conflict that resulted from some unmet need, strengthen our connection to community or tell our own stories in a safe container.

I first began sitting in Circles as a child attending summer camp in the Santa Cruz mountains. I felt immediately at home in myself and others as we sang around the campfire as the stars glittered overhead. Those circles helped me discover who I was in relation to others.

As a teenager I encountered other circles, which I often attended in silence upon my mother’s urging, to support those caring for family members with terminal illness, and later, for grieving.

I then went to college and enrolled in every “field” experience I could, including a course taught while backpacking in the woods by Zen poet Walker Abel, which was life changing. In 1993 I lived for a year on the Fort Belknap reservation in Montana to support their protest against a cyanide heap-leach gold mine. On the reservation, circles were a part of everyday life, held by the tribal council or with family and friends in the sweat lodge.

I even left New York City to join a circle, the Big Apple Circus, with its European style one-ring stage that allowed spectators to be intimately engaged with each show.  

Most recently I was certified in Circle Process derived from the Restorative Justice (RJ) tradition. Restorative Justice in both philosophy and practice emphasizes the power and capacity of ordinary people to identify and resolve their own problems (Van Ness & Strong, 2015). RJ situates harm and conflict as violations of relationship and then asks the question as to how that harm can be repaired.

The RJ practice of peacemaking circles is a methodology that allows people and organizations to provide a network of support, care and accountability for members of their community. I’ve been sharing RJ philosophy and Circle Process with all my friends working in the field of social justice in resource poor contexts all over the world.

I think for many of us circle is a simple yet profound method of returning home.

Read more about RJ here.

*Email Deirdre for detai