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I attended a healing circle, my first encounter with a concept women’s circle (meaning there was a focus other than small talk/pot-luck).

We were asked to speak our needs and enlist the help and concentration of the others. I was one of the first women to speak. I mentioned that I was writing a book (something I assumed everyone knew since I had mentioned it once). I talked about my project, how I need to interview more women, how I wanted to hear more from men about their birth experiences, as well as my expectations for the final result. And then seemed stuck. The woman leading the circle asked me, “What do you want or need from us?” My first reaction was really defensive. There was a lump in my throat. I was acutely aware of the fact that I could not comfortably state my needs. I was not even sure what my needs were. I felt like I might cry then felt stupid for feeling that way. I did not know how to ask for anything, or what I should be asking for. I looked around me. They were all waiting. Although I felt really unsure of myself I blurted out, “Just keep me accountable. Keep asking me about my book, let me know if any of you are interested.”

The next women who spoke wanted emotional support. She had a CD release party coming up (who knew?) She was nervous, about to be judged by the public. Another women was having trouble, had only just begun to recover from a brain injury that left her mouth a bit contorted and made it hard for her to pronounce her words clearly. Someone else was a photographer and wanted to finish a project but felt no one would be interested in her work. Another woman was stressed about an upcoming move and was also having difficulty keeping a cohesive atmosphere in her folk band. Someone else was newly pregnant with her second child and feeling emotional about the changes coming up. It dawned on me as they spoke how lovely they each were, how much talent and diversity existed among us. They were sharing things about themselves that I did not know; they were more interesting than they made themselves seem in their small talk.

When the last women spoke we all closed out eyes and imagined our needs being met. In the center of the circle was a large crystal, shaped like a bowl, an amethyst like the one I had chosen to wear that day, purely on a whim. The crystal around my neck seemed connected to the one in the circle, the one we all concentrated on. I felt a white/purple light flow out of me and connect to the women on my right, which then shot through her and connected to the next women, all the way around until it came back to me. The image was very strong.

The energy dynamic in the room had changed so that I did not feel at all kooky when I shared this information with the others. I felt whole and right, like I had reached a safety zone. There was a level of communication previously unknown. This was sisterhood.

It occurred to me then that each of us had been walking around with hopes and half-finished projects and we were waiting for “permission” to share them. It left a strong and positive imprint. I wonder why it is that we all have great things we are afraid to talk about, that we were all afraid to “brag”, “toot-our-own horn”. If one can not say what one is interested in, working on, passionate about or thinking of, what is left? I was feeling like no one would care what I was writing about, but if someone sat down and passionately described his or her art/music/photography/parenting struggles/birth stories I would be very interested. It occurred to me that if I talk about my project someone else would find it worth hearing about.

I sought validation and found it. For me this was much better than always going back to the same old place where it has never been and moping that it is still not there.

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