I decided to make women’s circles a part of our Jamaican adventure. I knew that it would offer an opportunity to get to know each other, while also providing some time for Soul-searching, which is part of what a retreat is about.
Our first circle was more of a “get to know you” event. I asked the women to bring items that represent them, to give to the rest of the women. I have to admit, they were much more personal about the items that they brought than I was. I think I read my own notes wrong! lol But by sharing the items they brought, we got to know them better. And then they had to distribute them to the other women, and they were so intent on who got which item. It was perfect. I wanted to do a follow-up of that sharing during our last circle, but we were short on time. I hope that the women will “do something” with those items. I was thinking that a small vision board, or adding it to our vision boards if we already have one, would be a neat way to remember our time together. In other words, take them out of the bag and place them in a spot that will remind you of the trip!
People admitted that they weren’t sure what to expect on the trip. They wanted to have an experience that inspired them after they returned, but they didn’t want to change in their hearts so much that their partners didn’t “recognize” them when they returned home. I reminded them that personal growth is like the growth of a mustard seed. It is planted in your heart, and it will grow. We just need to feed it sunshine and water every so often. I hope that I can continue to inspire that growth through future circles and yoga.
At our final circle, we selected a card with the intention of giving us guidance in how we can help bring peace into our world, our purpose for the retreat. I had originally brought along another set of cards, but a local artist, Nancy, brought some of her artwork to the house later in the week, and she had cards that I just had to buy. So we used these cards as part of setting our intentions.
The card I picked was “acceptance.” That was a fitting card for me, because during our second circle, we identified our shadow selves, that part of us that is negative and often hinders our personal growth. I acknowledged that I am working hard to accept others who don’t hold the same set of beliefs as myself. I can become judgmental. I am not speaking so much about religious beliefs, as I have overcome that. But more about justices and rights of a human being. More political. And so the ‘acceptance” card really hit home on my shadow self lesson. I will write more about my journal entries another time.
Circles are a time for healing and growing the Spirit. They can often stir up some tremendous feelings of love in our hearts, becoming emotional for us. Moving into that space of love is where we find the mustard seed planted. Each woman had that experience during our week in Jamaica. Knowing that makes the trip even that much more fruitful.