Words by women's empowerment coach Layla El Khadri.
Self-care is the way we show self-love. And self-love is the root of a healthy lifestyle. Often we neglect our wellbeing because we are too absorbed in our work or our everyday duties. We force, push and stress ourselves not realising that it goes against our own success; both in the personal and the professional fields.
Our minds and bodies need care for them to work more efficiently and for us to create the life we dream of. In our Human Experience everything happens through the body. We feel, we express, we communicate, we live life through our bodies. All the layers of who we are meet within our bodies. The mental, the emotional, the physical and the spiritual. Making sure this symbiosis is in harmony will ensure that the rest of our life is in harmony. With a healthy body, a healthy mind and a healthy emotional system we can create a healthy life. Success is a matter of mindset and mindset is directly related to how we are feeling.
We can live graceful, joyful and fulfilling lives if we learn the basic ways to take care of our own needs! We have so much potential, all of us! First and foremost, I have learned ways to listen to my body and my emotions, they give us all the information we need to show up as best we can in every moment and really embody our potential.
When we learn how to interpret the signals our bodies and our emotional systems send, we can give ourselves what we need in every moment. For a woman, this changes through the month based on our hormonal cycle, the moon phases and our external circumstances.
I can say that today, it is rare that I don’t prioritise my needs. Because not doing so has such a bad effect on everything else. It’s just not worth it. If my body isn’t rested and my emotions aren’t calmed, then my mind can’t make the right decisions and I end up spending more resources and getting worse results! For me, the most important things are emotional peace, rest and movement.
When I let my body move and express whatever is needed, all the conflicts or confrontations fall away and before long I am back in a flow state and feeling inspired. Because I work every day with women on precisely this topic, I am constantly reminded of its importance. That is the great thing about being a Women’s Coach!
We are multidimensional beings in the sense that our experience happens simultaneously in our thoughts, our emotions and our bodies. As I said before, all these layers meet at the body level and we can read how the overall system is working by looking at the symptoms of our bodies. Movement helps us anchor our awareness in the body in a powerful way. We become aware of what’s happening in a very clear way and so we can take action.
Movement helps us rewire neuropathways, unblock and release triggers and trauma as well as gain fluidity not only in the muscles but also in our mindset and in our ability to manage our emotions. Bringing our body to dance we bring our emotions to dance and our thoughts as well. I like to say if you want to solve a problem you must “get the issue out of the tissue.” Most memories of trauma and fear are stored in the fascia and bones. We can talk about it forever, but only when we give the body a new felt physical experience can we transform the trauma forever.
We are the creators of our own reality, but often we don’t know how. It’s simple. Our thoughts are only existing in the metaphysical realm, in the form of vibration. These thoughts have an effect on us and create emotions. Whilst they are still a non-physical thing, they are much more tangible; our bodies change their physiology based on each emotion. Eventually our bodies reflect the thought in a physical way, we take a determine action or a determine state, and that’s how we create. Everything was first an idea before it became a thing.
When we dance we can leverage in this process in a conscious way. We can also reverse this process. Through the dance we can invite our body to feel the way we wish to feel. Our movements will trigger the emotions that we wish to feel and the emotion will imprint new thoughts. This will shift our mindset which will reflect in the way we create our reality.
I have found peace and openness of heart through dance. I have been able to let go of old trauma and fear through dance. And I have also manifested economical abundance, relationships and success through the process of dance.
We must remember that dance is not about “how it looks” it’s all about “how it feels.” The power resides in the feeling. So there is no wrong way of doing it, as long as you are “feeling it!” A good practice to overcome the self-conscious feeling is to close your eyes and focus on breathing. Pair your breath to the rhythm of the music and let it carry your body. Don’t move unless you absolutely feel it. You will be surprised how soon the body knows exactly what to do.
Dancing is powerful no matter where, when or with whom. Yet the power of the collective is undeniable. Once there is a lot of people dancing at the same time the energy the bodies are producing rises and everyone can tap into that energy. I love guiding big groups through my Transformational Dance journey because the amount of energy that we can produce together is mind blowing and the results in each individual journey are highly potentiated.
Words and imagery by Sarah Lloyd.
A year ago, I embarked on the trip of my life. It was a pivotal moment in time for me as a mother, a wife and a business woman. As we lay in the sun amongst nettles and apple trees, under the magnificent Glastonbury Tor, myself and a group of women I had only met a few days before, connected with the angels, the elementals and priestesses of Avalon, I experienced a kind of peace and pure love I had only read about. It was there I changed my stars.
I am a mother of two beautiful, strong, sensitive girls. Both under 5 and a joy and a challenge. Two years ago, I wallowed in the challenge, I let the shadow of PND grab me and drag me under. And instead of giving into and letting the feelings go, I added to them, I fought them and did what most mothers do – went to the doctors and masked the problem with anti-depressants and throwing myself into work avoiding the issue.
Now I’m not saying that anti-depressants don’t have their place, they absolutely do and if you are missing the synapses that fire up your serotonin then the doctor is where you should go.
For me, what I was experiencing was the inability to embrace the love pouring out of my children and so I repelled it. I was overwhelmed with the responsibility that comes with looking after a baby / toddler and so I did what I had always done with situations I couldn’t control – I buried my head and pretended it wasn’t happening to me. At the time I was completely unaware of people trying to help me, guide me to understand what I was suffering with, I preferred to play the martyr and victim card – thinking everything was happening to me… I was not nice to be around.
I have come a long way since then, at the time I worked in communications for a corporate blue-chip firm, in a global role with direct access to the board, a lovely paycheck, bonuses – the ability to work from home and the flexibility you absolutely need when you bring small children into the world. On paper I had it made…
Then I stumbled on a book – Light Is The New Black, by Rebecca Campbell – the cover was beautiful, and it called to me. I added it to yet another Amazon order I was making that week and thought nothing else of it. It was on our holiday in October – Amy was nearly 1 and Lucy about to turn 3 – I opened that book and it spoke to me on a soul level.
I immediately felt the call of Glastonbury, the divine feminine and the sisterhood Rebecca talked about in her book. I signed up the week I got back to her online circle, and immersed myself in the world of light warriors, healers, mediums. Talented, rising, wise women all on their own journey of awakening and it was beautiful to behold. For many months I would get my spiritual fix in secret – whilst maintaining the role of mummy, wife and corporate professional.
I would order tarot and oracle cards - devouring books that were recommended in the group, training in crystal and angel healing and attending events that Rebecca ran in London. During that time, I saw an energy healer who specialized in Reiki and vortex cards – Archangel Michael came to us in a session and told me to get on my Reiki journey. At first, I was still skeptical about it, but on the second session the message was more of a gentle shove than an ask. So, I found a Master almost immediately and was attuned within the month. Following that attunement came rapid and vast expansion. I re-evaluated everything. My relationships, my career and my interests. I moved through a lot of pain and let a lot go in that time – but that’s another story.
Fast forward 6 months I was lucky enough to land a space on the retreat Rebecca Campbell and Madeline Giles held in Glastonbury, where we visited sacred sites, connected with each other and the divine feminine Magdalene energy.
People ask me what happened at that retreat.
For those not ready to understand about guides, angels and goddesses, I tell them it was all about taking a week to myself away from the madness of family life – mummy’s do after all need a break! Where I met a group of special women from all corners of the world, we sat, talked, bonded over tea and visited sacred sites.
What really happened is I connected with my soul. I also learned self-love, acceptance, unconditional love, and support from women with no agenda or competitive edge. There was no underlying feeling of one-upmanship that I had experienced throughout my life with groups of women. I felt held. Supported. Loved. There was a lot of crying, a lot of healing and all that comes with connecting on a deep soul level with yourself.
It was in the Chalice Wells gardens I manifested the life I am living in now – I asked that I be a master of my destiny, that I help women get their message out to the masses, to be a messenger of the angels through writing and to have a better, healthier relationship with my children.
In the October of that same year (so a year to the day when I picked up the book) – I was offered a choice at work, shift into something I didn’t want to do and have steady employment or take redundancy. After much discussion with my husband I took the leap of faith and opted for redundancy. It was the biggest relief I have ever felt – the taste of freedom and the endless possibilities that came with releasing myself from a situation that no longer served me or my soul.
What made it easier was my husband could see the change in me, through this journey. Investing the time in myself and finding my true point of happiness, meant that Mummy wasn’t stressing and yelling at the children anymore, it mean that his wife had time for him, and was relaxed and happy. The strain and the little black cloud lifted on me and my family. Of course, it wasn’t without its wrinkles and lessons, and we still learn everyday – but a year after that trip to Glastonbury, my life couldn’t be more different.
It was clear to me after I had a month off enjoying life, that I shouldn’t throw my 20 years of working in communications away. I decided to put those skills to use differently. I set up IndigosoulPR - an intuitive communications agency – where I offer my services to rising women and authors to help them get their message out to the world. What is beautiful to me is I understand these women having undergone my own expansion, I understand that they are being called to share their message and that I can help them to do that.
In fact, next week I am helping to run a retreat to Glastonbury with a fellow sister (my roommate in fact from the original retreat). I am also glad to be working with a whole host of women who have gravitated to me – each bringing a learning or a teaching to me, almost shining a light on things I need to explore not only on a soul level but also helping me to see that the rise of the feminine is real and happening now.
The best bit, whilst business is business in any guise, there is a softness, an intuitive aspect to what I do – In the past it was always about numbers and I have found that pushing to get results only adds to the levels of stress we are all trying to get away from. But putting it out there and manifesting it is when the results truly come. It is a new way of working for me and it suits my clients especially those who are also working in flow.
With Archangel Michael and Joan of Arc as my guides, it is very clear what I am here to do. Things do happen for a reason, manifesting that life is possible and life happens for you, not too you.
Words and imagery by Brigid Banrion.
What is the divine feminine?
This is first the sacred nature of our feminine self. It is the aspect of the human which is creative, sensual, emotional and psychic. It’s the energy presented in the human through their loving, flowing, resonant spirit… a state of being, not doing.
We each have a divine feminine aspect, both men and women, and in this life we are somewhat misaligned or disconnected from it, because of the society we live in. We have unwittingly become more active in the masculine - linear, ordered, timetabled, less emotive, less connected and goal-oriented. This leads to anxiety, pressure, a loss of our natural identities (as loving, altruistic energies) and suffering under the weight of ‘chronic urban overwhelm’ due to having lost this part of ourselves.
How has religion and the media undermined our understanding of the divine feminine and our power as women?
The divine feminine is the awakener of higher consciousness - the state of receiving without grabbing. The state of knowing without logical source. It relates to the Goddess aspect of every faith system, except the Christian. The feminine deity was removed and denigrated by Christian church doctrine and historical account, which led us to living and surviving under very patriarchal, masculine and undermining systems of belief. Man first, woman second. Man revered, woman feared.
This idea, that the female sacred nature was wrong or bad, bled into everything - media, politics, friendships, literature, sexual relationships, self-image, marriage, family, advertising… Female suppression has become an accepted, almost missed fact in every part of life. Women compete against each other rather than gather in circles. Men decide, control, conquer and undermine the woman, depending on her obedience to certain restrictive and forced ideals. Her body, an object. Her voice, a threat.
There has been a rising awareness of the divine feminine in the last ten years. Women are breaking out of the boxes they’ve been forced to sit in. Their paradoxical, unique, complex nature is becoming more powerfully prominent in how we dress, look, act, express and – crucially - how we connect with each other as women. Lots of change is happening in how women spend their time, money and energy now. We are more interested in healing modalities outside of western medicine. There is more independent discovery of the self, rather than relying on exterior validation. Women are getting closer to each other, rather than further away.
I have witnessed and facilitated the awakening of the divine feminine consciousness in women, through intuitive work, and meditative healing. It’s a return to the old ways - when women were counterpoints between realms, and valued highly for their wisdom, impulsive insight and creative/sensual power. People in communities went to the women for healing, understanding and divinely inspired insight. They went to, and gathered with, each other - to bless, celebrate and honour the cycles of the moon, of their emotional states, of themselves as people. Their identities not fixed, but harmonising with the seasons, and the growth of their connection with fellow sisters. This is a strengthening of the world’s core need - love. Love in the feminine, borne of newness, change and ever-present shifts and wanes.
Goddess-led teachings instigate this shift - in both giving birth to man, and also fuelling his desire to shift the planet into a state of grace, presence, being and intimacy, the Goddess inside all of us is active muse and true creator of our inner world. God is the exterior - the physical. The law. Goddess is its antithesis.
The sacred drama between the masculine and feminine is a story playing out in all our relationships, in our careers, in our psyches… It’s a wild ride once recognised. Things we haven’t been allowed before have suddenly become essential. Aspects of our natures we kept hidden - demanding front and centre stage.
It’s a paradigm shift inspired by the waking female. And it’s felt everywhere.
How can we unlearn what we’ve been taught with intuitive work?
By working with tarot, I discovered a resource inside that is accessed in a ‘no thinking’ state. It’s through removal of judgement, external triggers and preconceived conditioning that we begin to see other humans in their wholeness. We begin to see everyone as an ageless, powerful being. Even ourselves. And information arrives for us when we learn how to de-programme the judging, persecuting masculine mindset we’ve grown up using - often against our own selves - in this incredibly new and empowering way.
I lifted the cards ten years ago and started receiving visuals, sound bytes and emotional information almost instantly. Practising for eight years in secret - no payment or business exchange - I observed how connecting with others this way increased a sense of love for the world, and it’s benevolence, in my clients.
I discovered I was receiving information in rapid and new ways, about the people that came to me. The transmissions, channelled and inspired by the cards, rather than led by them, opened up doors of potential in every woman. They also grew incredibly fond of me, and I of them, because we were reaching an intimate state of connection super quick. I haven’t seen an effect like that except between friends and a bottle of wine. Except this is strangers, and no alcohol involved!
Do you believe that the dialogue around mothers is changing in a positive way?
Hugely. A mother isn’t any longer beholden to a specific ideal. Perfectionism, idolatry of pure white, obedient and white-washed avatars, is falling away. There is new motherhood, sacred motherhood, which is forming through women who honour their own emotional and sensitive natures as SACRED, as a SUPERPOWER, for guiding and informing their style of motherhood and relational behaviour. We are birthing unique beings. The mothers, then, are now unique beings. Their learning happens instinctually, rather than from books or hand-me-down ideas passed through ancestries which suppressed and limited the female. We are not supposed to give up our lives, our identities or our own crucial healing needs for our families. We are supposed to complement the tapestry of family life with our breathing, real, honest and many layered life experiences.
We are not servants or slaves to a false idea about motherhood anymore. We not only birth new life, we write books. We run businesses. We raise open, questioning and energetically exciting children. We honour our partners as equals and best friends, and see our responsibilities as mothers not just as duties or chains on the ankles, but initiations into wiser, stronger, more sensual and expressive selves.
How do you personally work with women to help guide them through this un-layering and lead them back to their truest self?
I was growing frustrated with the separation I felt between myself and the women I was reading for. They saw me as this unique thing, and not as an equal. This is so not true, and fostered all those masculinised ideas about fear, and competition, and being ‘less than’. It wound me up. So I started sharing my humanity deeply. And then it struck me.
I noticed the separations between my clients and their female friends/family/acquaintances too. The automatic sense of a hierarchy. The mistrust. The difficult mother/daughter relationships. The jealousy and intense, dysfunctional attachments to their partners. I wanted allies. I wanted to create a space which was non-hierarchical, and get them right where I was. I knew I was onto something, which wasn’t beyond the perfectly human, perfectly flawed and modest female. Because that’s what I am. I came at this spiritual growth thing backwards. I discovered a gift in me to see beyond the obvious, and I was absolutely not special, and it wasn’t a special thing at all. It was natural as anything. My spiritual growth happened alongside it. And I let them in on it.
Intuition, between people, is a powerful healing tool. It is a human state of play, totally natural and real. It’s a love energy. It’s been missing in our lives for ages. Women thrive off expression and intimacy and where do we find it these days? NOWHERE. The internet however is somewhere we can give ourselves a voice. Where we can start gathering and let ourselves be ‘seen’ by another - by many others. It instigated The Secret Circle - my divine feminine healing Facebook group, where clients (who are now friends), all sensitive, struggling and frustrated women, could come together and empower each other’s growth.
It worked. It started off as a tarot academy but within a month that totally shifted. Tarot is a tool for self development in that space, but the unique relationships forming in there created something utterly different. No woo is left off the table. No real human experience either.
I have ninety women there now, all working in the world as sisters with a deeper understanding of how to create real fulfilment and power in their lives. Doctors, bankers, healers, hairdressers, make-up artists, mothers, entrepreneurs, teachers… It’s a heady mix and its beautiful. I began diarising and teaching my experiences from an entirely accessible, ordinary and real place. Not as an authority, but as someone alongside. Being real about the work and the growth in me. And they responded in kind!! The circle BUZZES, all day long, with the secret beauty of the waking woman. And I use a light code for communication, so there’s dark and light honoured and appreciated for exactly what it is, no attaching it to a woman, making it part of who she is. No bashing, competing or patronising. No judging. No law except love.
I run Divine Feminine Healing workshops where I show women how to reach their inner goddess aspect. They resurface and start sharing themselves. All the parts. We discuss the difficulties of being sensitive, we let go of shame, blame and guilt, and learn from each other all through. I was recently activated in Light Language, a healing soul language which is unrecognisable to the human ear, but makes sense on a soul level. It’s a powerful transmutation tool for lifting lower vibrational energy matter from our bodies. It got deep, at the last event. The responses were incredible. I equip women with the tools to move forward awake, conscious and present with the expansive state they were supposed to be living within, all along. But again, it’s not me doing it. I’m following my heart, and my heart is the same as yours, as everyone else’s. I gave them what my life lacked until I started working like this. We all need that time to rediscover the true magic of who we are.
Can you explain why it’s so important for women to put aside competition and work with each other?
There is no such thing as ‘only me’ and ‘only you’. Fulfilment comes from connecting deeply, and safely, with other people. Especially women. I hear more from my fellow women and believe it more, than I do from any other source. We are each other’s medicine because we are living the same dramas, forming the same wisdom from our lives. We each bring something to the life we lead which is utterly unique, and we don’t have to ‘do’ anything except give up judging, and slating each other, to find it. I open every circle with that affirmation - ‘I may not be your medicine. But someone else here, will be.’ And that’s truth.
Words and imagery by Natasha Richardson.
I have a mild love obsession with periods. I think they’re a great way for women to check in with their wellbeing each month. It’s not surprising to me when my patients complaining of anxiety or depression say their periods are also a problem.
I’ve noticed a real pattern in my peri-menopausal patients who have been serial-givers, always giving to the ones they love, never expecting anything in return. They tend to have heavy flooding periods, as though they are leaking away their energy as they shift towards menopause. It’s a time that these patients come to realise that they need to find themselves again. Redefine who they thought they were and learn how to do things that are just for them. But imagine if the next generation of Mum’s mastered looking after themselves long before they got to menopause. Perhaps we’d see a serious drop in mental health problems among parents.
The Menopause is often a time we are able to reflect on our lives as parents and seek to change the rules and expectations our families have about us. This was made clearer to me than ever when a patient who had cervical cancer was thrust into menopause relatively early in life. She realised that her family expected her to feed them, expected her to clean the house and generally manage household jobs. Despite the family unit having changed so much over the years it is still common for the matriarchs to run the show. My patient with cervical cancer found that setting new boundaries and delegating more to the family was integral to her healing. In the end, she made a full recovery and has a better family dynamic to boot.
We remain the matriachs. But, what if we challenged ourselves to delegate more? To let go of the ‘standards’ we think no one else can achieve? Perhaps we’d buy ourselves some time alone? Time to gather our thoughts and nurture our bodies.
As I said, mental health problems are often intertwined with our periods. One may come before the other but in the end they are so interlinked you can’t help improve the other by treating either one of them. I had very serious period pain for many years of my life. It took me a long time to realise that stress was a big contributor to my pain. The pain I had was accompanied by anxiety, anxiety about the pain slowly spiraled into anxiety about the week before the period and before long I had anxiety most of the time. It took me years to connect my stress levels to my mental health and menstruation. But hopefully this article will mean you don’t have to spend years to find out the same!
Missed / Irregular period
If you’re missing periods there are a few possible causes; stress, low body weight, travel, breastfeeding, fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome and perimenopause. The most common reason periods are missed is stress. When we get stressed the body chooses to stop us from ovulating so we are protected from pregnancy during an impractical time. You can’t have periods unless you’re ovulating and you can’t ovulate if you’re super-stressed. I should say now, you don’t have to feel emotionally stressed or overwhelmed for your body to be stressed. It’s quite normal to adjust to high stress levels over a long period of time. But the effects show in your wellbeing instead. If stress is making you miss a period I’d recommend taking Ashwagandha and perhaps Chamomile tea for instant calming.
Niagra falls period
In the UK most of us use pads but even so, sometimes we aren’t sure how much blood is too much? Essentially, if you’re having to change your pads every hour, or are wearing a tampon and a pad, two pads on top of each other or have actually leaked through a pad/tampon through to your clothes then it's too much. Any blood loss that the individual finds inconvenient is too much in the eyes of health professionals. If you’ve noticed you are flooding each month you may want to consider; anemia, lethargy, endometriosis, fibroids and perimenopause. The more blood you lose, the less iron you have, the less iron you have, the more you bleed! So if you’re suffering with heavy periods be sure to take an iron supplement regardless of the cause. Once you’ve checked with the gynae it’s not endometriosis or fibroids you can look into your herbal options. Even if you don’t know what’s causing it, Raspberry Leaf tea and Shepherd’s Purse will help to stop heavy bleeding after taking 2 cups of tea each day for a month (in fact, I once had a patient who had been bleeding for 3 weeks straight and found these herbs stopped her period immediately, she was perimenopausal).
My periods were debilitatingly painful back in the day. I was the part of the 20% of women taking time off work and medication for their pain. It took me years to realise my pain levels directly responded to my stress levels. If you have painful periods it’s worth considering; stress, endometriosis, adenomyosis and fibroids. The only way you can know for sure if you have endometriosis is by having a laproscopy. But I didn’t want one of those so I treated my pain with stress relief and good food and found my pain massively reduced. I’d recommend taking Feverfew, Crampbark or Chamomile for pain. Or all of them in a blend if you fancy! You can read more about those here.
If you have problems that you think are related to your period the best place to start is by keeping a record. Simply write down every day how bad the problem was on a 0-5 scale. After a few months you’ll be able to see if it is a monthly thing or not. You can use period Apps to do this but I find paper works just as well.
Having records like this is immensely helpful to your GP when you go to see them about it. It’s always good to rule out more serious illnesses as the cause before seeking out natural help. And remember, there are many things which herbs can help with that GP’s don’t have many options for. So don’t feel hopeless if you are presented with treatments from the GP that you’re not interested in.
When we view the body holistically it becomes clear that disturbances to the hormones will knock us off our emotional centre. After all, our hormones affect our mind, body and soul every day. It’s time we learned to look after them because if we do, they’ll look after us!
How do women's circles work?
Just imagine stepping into warm room filled with candlelight, a fire flickering, gentle music filling the air and a close circle of women welcoming you. Women who you’ve cried, laughed and experienced miracles with. Women you’ve felt safe enough to share your deepest heart with. Women who’ve known how to lift you up when you lost your way and help you step into your power when you forgot your magnificence. And as the weight of loneliness falls away, you start to see yourself… really see yourself for who it is you truly are, what it is you deeply want and the difference you are here to make in the world.
There are many ways to be in circle with women, from elaborately crafted ceremonies to simply using a talking stick to share in circle. Some ideas you could try:
- Welcome each other by cleansing with smudge or rose water as you enter the scared space of your circle, this sets the intention that this is a special gathering not just another gossip fest. You might like to share a meditation, do some yoga or a craft, sing some simple chants and drum, tell stories, share food and above all love.
- If you feel that you could use some gentle sisterly support and you love the idea of joining a sacred sisterhood you might be able to find one near you on the ‘Red Tent Directory’. Or maybe you might think about starting a Women’s Circle of your own.
- When I started ours I didn’t have any specific training, I just felt intuitively as to what felt right, read some books, sought advice from elders who had experience of women’s circles and also from The Red Tent Directory and then dived right in and began our ‘Moon Circle’ as I called it. There are some great online resources and courses to support you through the process if you feel you need that initial guidance. But personally I don’t think it’s a necessity to do a course. Be bold and brave sister!
- You don’t have to be a trained facilitator to be able to start a Women’s Circle, it’s really just about stepping into your own leadership and bringing other women together. By starting off intentionally and setting some simple boundaries for the group you can create a safe container to hold a women’s circle.
- A good starting place is clearly stating the intention of the gathering; why you are there. And then creating some simple guidelines for your circle such as : Always speaking with integrityand for yourself, from the I. Always aiming to follow the principles of Listening, Admiring, Modelling and Blessing when sharing. And honouring every woman’s right to be heard without interruption, Fixing, Rescuing, Advising or Projecting.
I love this quote by Don Miguel Ruiz on sharing in circle:
"Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others.Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love."
This is a really important part of a Women’s Circle: What is said in circle stays in circle. No gossiping outside the circle about anything personal that has been shared. This is what creates the safe container to hold your tender hearts as they unfold to trust and connect deeply in sisterhood.
- Developing the kind of intimacy that nurtures you in this way takes time. Meeting the same group of women monthly brings a depth and closeness that one off meetings just can’t. Start by asking your close friends to an informal women’s circle to talk through the idea, but don’t be disheartened if only one or two show up at first. It may just be you and one friend who commit to coming initially. Remember if your intention is strong and purpose pure, women will find their way to you.
Go for it! A deeply and nourishing heartfelt community awaits xx
Remember that we are the voices that can bring peace and courage to hearts in need. Trust the truth and value of your own loving voice in this world. With so much love and deep gratitude to all the women who are rising and lifting ourselves and each other up. Love & Blessings xx Ashlee
What women have said about Moon circles I am part of:
"Meeting every month with other mothers in Moon Circle, I’m able to let go of my often overwhelming role as a mother and come home again to my whole self as a Woman. Speaking of womanly needs, desires, sadnesses, frustrations, journeys and growth, and hearing them from my sisters too, I have a deep feeling of peace, recognising the swirling ins and outs and ups and downs of all our lives skilfully
Interwoven. I marvel at how things shift each month, some months I am low and tired and others fizzing with energy, and I see this in my sisters too. Regularly coming together to listen and speak with each other is such amazing therapy! Seeing us all reflected in each other helps me feel into the cyclical flow and remember that all expressions and experiences are important. Nothing to be hurried, all of it to be savoured. I feel deeply stitched into the circling of all Women, through all time. All my grandmothers and great grandmothers and mothers of mothers, called to the circle and mixed in the pot of our eternal song, soothed on the unifying beat of our drum."(R.E)
"When you sit in a circle of women who have become like soul sisters to you, just walking into the room makes your body relax and your spirit heave a sigh of relief."(A.S)
"The sisterhood within Moon Circle is a true true blessing. It offers blessings of trust, of love and of creativity. It has restored wisdom of sisterhood that I had thought lost before I became part of the privilege of Moon Circle. The energy that evolves when we are together astounds me. Each time we meet I listen and learn and when I leave to come home I bring the wisdom home and share it as I nurture my children and my family. Moon Circle holds me strong. It holds me when I feel unable or stuck or weak. The words spoken, the rhythm of the drumming, the songs we sing absorbs me into a whole new space that replenishes my inner self. It mends. It sustains it encompasses every sister to one togetherness.
It is a privilege to be part and take part in this. It has enabled me to understand the complexities of the moon, it’s cycle it’s purpose and its link to the feminine. It finally makes sense after 50 years of wondering and not completely understanding. The links with Mother Earth, the moon, the sky, the water, the fire. It makes sense and finally I have the answers. Understanding it all will take a life time. Its information is so immense, so beautiful, so much purpose and purity.So thank you dear sisters for the gathering of Moon Circle. Sharing our inner most thoughts, the speaking , the offering to others by word and by touch. It is an all encompassing sisterhood blessing."(A.B)
"Moon circle is a sacred space where I feel completely accepted for myself. I am free to be Me, rather than a mother, wife, sister and daughter. The sisterhood of the circle has actively demonstrated that women are my allies and not to be feared as competition or examples of amazing creatures that I could never be."(S.E)
"We gather together to sit in circle, to connect to the space, to ourselves and to one another. We share our stories, witness the stories of others and replenish ourselves. We create our visions, manifest our dreams, sing, chant, meditate, dance, laugh, heal, grow and support one another. A place to nurture our cycles and celebrate our creative potential in a community of women. We also drink tea, and share delicious food!"(A.C)
"Moon Circle helps me feel seen and heard by my sisters but most importantly, by myself.Us mothers need this because we are so often looking outward - busy thinking about the emotional needs of everyone around us and forgetting to see ourselves and this is how we lose sight of our true selves. Moon Circle brings me home to myself every month.” (S.B)
For further information:
I hold women’s events, workshops, retreat days, circles and camps throughout the year. It would be wonderful to welcome you to any of these so please do get in touch if you’d like to know more.
Back in 2013 I was a stay at home mama with 3 young children under the age of 10 and I found, as many mothers do, that I was being stretched to my limits trying to meet the needs of family, home and work. And I was increasingly feeling a sense of deep loneliness and isolation in my rural community.
I could see that what I was experiencing was reflected in the lives of other mothers all around me. We were all so busy-busy with lives full of doing, caring and nurturing. And somewhere underlying all that caring and busyness there was a feeling of disconnection, as if some key element of how it was supposed to be - being a woman, a mother - was missing. For me it was a yearning for a deeper, more authentic connection to other women, to be supported by a real community of sisters who I knew were having the same experiences as me but somehow we weren’t currently meeting at that deeper, more ‘real’ level.
When I talked with my mama friends what kept coming up was that they had a feeling of a loss of heartfelt, truthful connection in community. They spoke of their own need to be seen outside of their caring or professional roles, of wanting to heard, of needing time to speak their truth without fear of judgement, for a safe space to show their vulnerabilities. And what I heard time and again was a deep longing for a strong community of women, of support and togetherness which people seemed to know was possible, but wasn’t being met in their everyday lives. Especially not at mother and toddler groups, coffee mornings or even on nights out with girlfriends.
I began to dream of a place where we could remake that connection and co-create that longed for sense of the sacred, of community and supportive sisterhood. I imagined a monthly meeting place where women could come together for mutual support,take time out from commitments to family and work, nurture themselves, share stories and skills with women of all ages and backgrounds. I wanted to gather a sacred sisterhood where women could learn to honour their spirit and care for their tender hearts, and slowly let go of all that they’ve been hanging onto and no longer need.
That’s when I began to research the Red Tent movement, to learn about Moon Lodges, Goddess Circles, Women’s Circles, Council Sharing Circles and decided to gather my girlfriends and create our own Moon Circle here in my local community in Norfolk.
What are Women’s Circles?
When women gather with intention there is a great power, energy and solidarity which is created. Throughout history, women have long gathered in circles around fires, in homes and temples to laugh, share, sing, drum, dance, heal, pray, care for children, grieve, tell stories, listen, create ceremony and spiritually connect. And increasingly women are rediscovering this valuable and necessary aspect of womanhood. Re-establishing trust in other women, reconnecting to a sense of the sacred, reconnecting to the natural rhythms and cycles of our bodies and to those of the moon and the natural world.
When women sit in circle, they have an opportunity to drop into a space of deep trust and experience an authenticity within themselves – a truth or ‘realness’ that is often lacking in their day-to-day lives with its multitude of roles and responsibilities.
Within a Women’s Circle there is no hierarchy; each woman’s voice is equally valid; her story honoured and received fully. In this sacred space, a collective power is harnessed. And when there is a clear intent on listening – individually and collectively – when women feel honoured and heard, healing happens. The support, creativity, and sharing of ideas that is nurtured in women’s circles has the power to become something much larger and more remarkable. There is a ripple effect that spreads out and positively impacts families, communities and the whole of society at large.
Dr Christiane Northrup ‘’Every Woman who heals herself, helps to heal all the women who’ve gone before her, and all those who come after her.’’
Why are they important?
The benefits of gathering in a sacred, conscious sisterhood, especially a small, intimate one with the same group of women, is that women can safely let go of everything they haven’t had time to process or release. Having a place that women can go to where they feel supported and where they can unload, cry, laugh, relax, check in with themselves and work out what they want and need, means they are then more able to release whatever is moving in them, to feel into their emotional issues and go home lighter, clearer, more grounded and rejuvenated. And therefore so much better able to care for and nurture the ones they love because their own spiritual and emotional needs are being met.
In order to thrive women need support. We are natural caregivers. Many of us take care of everyone else’s needs before even asking ourselves what we want or need. It becomes second nature to us. But as big and generous as our hearts are, they can become depleted, overburdened or stretched too thin. And though making time for self care and reflection is nourishing and helpful, there is a particular magic and deep healing that happens when women come together to support each other.
It is one thing to meditate on your situation alone, but quite another to sit in a circle of soul friends and finally let out your hearts truth while someone pours you a cup of tea, another offers a hug and everyone in the circle is listening to you and not offering advice, solutions or even reassurance. Just listening deeply to your truth what ever it may be. What gold there is in being truly witnessed and heard as we speak our truth! Hearing other womens stories fosters empathy and helps us feel less alone as we see out own struggles, passions and beauty reflected within them.
For further information:
I hold women’s events, workshops, retreat days, circles and camps throughout the year. It would be wonderful to welcome you to any of these so please do get in touch if you’d like to know more.
What would it feel like to have freedom from the thoughts, ideas and reminders racing around your mind? To know where to find stillness within, even in the middle of another busy day? In a hectic modern world that might feel like a bit of a stretch of the imagination, but I’ve learnt from experience that meditation holds the key to living a more mindful and calm life. I’d ask you to trust me on that but I’d rather share some of the benefits with you and help you forge your own path.
Everyday pressures of modern day living can leave us feeling vulnerable and experiencing unhealthy levels of anxiety. As women these emotions tend to draw us inward and cause us to ruminate, even over the smallest things. What often follows is self-criticism and judgement which creates a self-fuelling cycle of negative thinking. So, how can meditation help?
The practice of meditation encourages us to become observers of our own thoughts, to learn to see them and not react. Letting them pass by like clouds. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? But, it’s incredibly powerful and helps to prevent the destructive cycle of negative emotion and criticism. Being able to do this even at a beginner level can breed more positivity and self-compassion helping to quiet your mind, feel more present in the moment and even enjoy more restful sleep.
Creating a quiet moment to practice is usually the biggest challenge that most of us face. My advice is to start small and build slowly. Look for a natural pause in the day or retire to bed a little earlier than usual and sit for a while to help calm your mind. I started my practice with only two minutes a day and let’s be honest, we can all find that. As the owner of a very active mind, I’m positive that if I can do it, then you can too.
Here are my 5 tips to help you on your meditation path.
Begin- Getting started is the biggest step. Don’t overthink it or create excuses about why you don’t really have the time, we can all find two minutes, right?
Routine- Make it part of the family routine. Not only will this make it more likely that you’ll practice regularly but it also helps your family to support you on your path.
Ritual- It’s not essential, but I like to have a ritual around my practice. It can be anything that’s meaningful to you. Try lighting a relaxing candle or perhaps have a comforting blanket or cushion that you use only during meditation.
Simplicity- Focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. On the in breath fill your lungs and stomach with air and then expel it fully on the out breath. Doing this even for a couple of minutes can have the most calming effect.
Imperfection- At first your mind will rush to fill the empty space with thoughts, it has been doing it for years and so be patient. See those thoughts as clouds and let them pass by without engaging with them. There is no right way to practice, simply enjoy the process and let the results come in their own time.
Nearly two years ago, the father of my children and I parted ways - but that’s not the point of this story. Shortly afterwards, struggling financially and emotionally with the weight of being a newly single mother, I packed up my life and went travelling with my two young children. We journeyed through Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Australia and as my senses came back to life and my heart healed, I started to remember bits of who I used to be… before the babies and the financial struggles and the refusal to accept help and the drowning in the weight of raising humans and running businesses. Before the slow drift from human connection to numbness, that sleepless journey into the place where the light in your eyes goes out and you don’t recognise yourself anymore.
I started to remember the girl I was before that. The one who listened to music all day long, who was always the last to come off the dancefloor when the lights came on, who backpacked and surfed, who broke into abandoned buildings to breathe ancient air and played chase with security guards, who laughed and laughed and was unafraid. I used to love working out until my skin felt tight, I played pool, I read books (The Gruffalo doesn’t count), I knew what was happening with my friends. And then somehow I had gotten to a place where I couldn’t even summon the courage to answer the phone when they called. Those memories came back to me thick and fast during my adventures with my children. I had wanted to show them that the world is a welcoming place, full of beautiful people with warm hearts - we witnessed that truth so many times on our journey and I needed it as much as they did.
The one thing that was constant throughout our travels was the presence of mothers. They looked out for us wherever we went. They shared fruit with us and scooped my daughter up when they could see my back was sore from carrying her. They quietly told me who and where to avoid if I didn’t want to get ripped off. I met single mothers who were further along their journey and gave my sage advice. They gave us warm clothes when we arrived in Australia during the most horrendous rains NSW had seen in years. They even opened their homes to us. It was the first time I truly understood that if you let down your mask, other women will have your back. When we touched back down in England, I felt alive again, but that’s not really the point of the story either.
On our return I set about finding a place for us to live, researching schools and nursery and trying to figure out what life would look like moving forward. The bills began weighing down on me again and work was scarce and that old familiar dread began creeping back in. The children began to spend alternate weekends with their father and here’s where the story really starts. Every fortnight I had two days to myself. Not the kind of days where your children are with grandparents and you feel that sense of uncomfortable guilt about leaving them while you spend time alone. They were with their father - he wanted to be with them and they wanted to be with him so this was guilt-free alone time.
In the run up to my first weekend completely on my own, anxiety crushed my chest. I had been screaming out for time alone for so many years but I had no idea how to fill the days. My identity was so tied to my family that I didn’t know who the fuck I was anymore. My needs had been bottom of the pile for so long that I’d forgotten what they were…. and that’s where the real work starts. Who are you without your children, what are your personal goals, what do you want to achieve, what creative projects do you need to breathe life into, what truth do you need to speak? I’ve spent the last nine months considering those questions and allowing the answers to find me. They found me while meditating, they found me walking in the woods with the sun on my face, they found me on drunken nights and lazy days in bed with my friends, they found me on a surfboard at sunrise, they found me drumming on a hilltop with my sisters and they found me between sheets with a man who lit me on fire again.
One of the answers is a desire to show up for other mothers, to give them a space to connect as women and outside of their role within the family. I’ve always been fiercely independent and, as a result, I never asked for advice on how to raise my children and function within a family. I did everything alone until I couldn’t anymore. When I launched Wildling Magazine three years ago, women came flooding into my life…. graceful women who recognised that I was falling apart and supported me so gently that I barely noticed. Since then, I’ve tried to do the same for the women around me but I recognise that it’s not enough. Even whilst tentatively discussing this project with friends, there were silent nods and flowing tears. It takes a lot to admit that parenting is not how we imagined and that it’s lonely as fuck sometimes. It takes a village and I intend on creating one… virtually of course.
I hope that Wildling Woman will encourage women to find time for self care - not just having a bath with a glass of wine when it gets too much, but deep personal work that will help you maintain your self identity and stop you from sinking into mental health issues. We won't be talking about children or family issues here, we'll be talking about you. In the coming months, we’ll be featuring stories of women who are finding ways to prioritise themselves amidst the chaos of motherhood, as well as offering ideas on how to exercise self care in practical ways. This is not indulgent, it is absolutely necessary.
As always, if you have a story to share then please get in touch at email@example.com