Friday, April 11, 2014

Women's group.

So I've joined a women's group. There are twelve of us plus a facilitator, and we meet every other week for a year.  It's sort of about spirituality, but also just about community. I thought it would be good for me to do something social that wasn't remotely related to dating. On our last session we were sent out on a nature walk and told to bring back something from nature that spoke to us. I ended up collecting small flowers, both cultivated (forsythia, blossoms from some sort of fruit tree) and weeds (wild violets, dandelion) and binding them together with a grassy weed.
Everything went together on a table after we'd each talked about the meaning our particular offering had for us. Mine had to do with bringing together the disparate parts of my life and my self, and valuing all those parts. We've met four times so far, each meeting focused on a different theme.  It's a nice group of women in a range of ages - the youngest in their late 20's, the oldest about 70.
Another meeting, we talked about the Celtic goddess Brigid, who was co-opted by the Catholic church as a saint.  Her symbol was a snake and one interpretation of the story of St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland is that it represents the Church driving away goddess worship in Ireland. During this get-together, we made St. Brigid's crosses, choosing the center piece ourselves. Originally, the straw crosses were placed above doorway for protection. I made mine carefully, wanting it to be perfect.  In the discussion that followed, someone (not me, I promise!) brought up the issue of clutter and trying to reduce the amount of stuff they owned. I thought about how everyone always says I could be a professional organizer and how much easier it is to see other people's possessions without sentimentality. And just like that, this object because clutter. It had meaning, to be sure, but I didn't need it. A quick photo for the memory and it went into the get-rid of pile, without a backward glance. Whenever I find myself in a new home, I suspect there will be an even more serious purge occurring.

25 comments:

  1. I think it is great that you joined such a group; I think we need things like this to help go through life; I'm in a small group at church where we meet weekly and do a topical Bible study, etc., but I look forward to that time and the fellowship we have with each other (ours is a couple's group). The cross is pretty, but I get your thought to take a picture of it and move on from it. I think I would be a good organizer/helping people to get rid of things too.

    Enjoy the weekend.

    betty

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    1. It's the time with others that I'm there for and getting a chance to talk to people.It's a couple of hours where I can just relax and enjoy other people's company.

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  2. I like the idea of symbolically bringing the different parts of yourself together and valuing them. It's tempting to try and hide certain embarrassing things away and disown them, which doesn't do any good.

    Yes, I expect the de-cluttering principle to emerge again once you've moved house and re-assessed all your possessions!

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    1. We did another exercise where we wrote down words that described us and then imagine what life would be like without identifying with those aspects It was really interesting to think about.

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  3. At first glance I thought this sounded like an infants school class, but the principle would no doubt be the same. Find things you like, think about them, and make something. I guess that's what I do all the time (without being a member of a women's group).

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    1. The craft thing is just a way of facilitating talking and focusing our thought. And maybe the child-like aspect of it is valuable, too?

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  4. I am not sure if I feel good in such a group. In the depth of my heart I am not evough social and maybe a bit too sceptical. Who knows, maybe it's a matter of trying

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    1. You couldn't find a bigger skeptic than me - it's been a struggle for me to set that aside.

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  5. I've worked with all women before and it's been a catty disaster. I've worked with all men, and it's all about their egos. I know the setting and goals are different, but maybe a mixed group would be better for me.

    I probably could have written Ola's sentence myself. In reality, I'd never join .

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    1. I have never experienced any "cattiness" among my women friends. That sounds like more an issue of maturity than gender. Making this a mixed group would take away all the meaning from its focus on women's spirituality and power. But certainly, being able to set aside bad feelings about being with women is required to be in the group. The idea is to celebrate being women, not put ourselves down.

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    2. Yeah, the two jobs I mentioned were about twenty years ago, so it probably was a maturity issue.

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  6. Were all the women strangers to each other? I think that's the key to it being successful. Anyway, interesting!

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    1. I knew one already but hadn't seen her in years. The rest are new to me.

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  7. I think this women's group you joined sounds AWESOME because it's as you said.."The idea is to celebrate being women, not put ourselves down."

    "Mine had to do with bringing together the disparate parts of my life and my self, and valuing all those parts. "

    Love it! And how ironic you mentioned that because I just recently read a chapter in a book I'm reading, which spoke on that exact same topic. In fact, I may be posting something about it on my blog next week.

    " It had meaning, to be sure, but I didn't need it."

    I went through a time (in my late 30's-early 40's) when I began realizing that myself. I didn't need to hang on to 'objects' that contained meaning for me because the meaning was within me.

    Great post, girl!
    X

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    1. Thank you! It's kind of astounding to me how simplifying (in terms of "stuff") can happen in layers as it become increasingly easy to let go.

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  8. This reminds me of a day I spent with some sisters at a festival.

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    1. I have four sisters, but it's hard for me to imagine being in a group with all of them!

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  9. This group your joined sounds very interesting. I love your straw cross. I want to must to rid myself of possessions. I've been a collector for too long. Yesterday I did something similar to you and it was the first time I've ever done it. It felt freeing. I had a newspaper article from a few weeks ago with a picture of a giraffe and it's newborn baby. I love giraffe's. The article has been on my counter and I couldn't think of a place to put it. I didn't want to save it but I wanted to remember it so I took a picture of it!

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    1. It IS freeing! More and more if I see something in a magazine I want to save, I snap a photo of it.

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  10. that sounds like a pretty cool group...nice range of ages as well....its good to learn generationally like that...it gives perspective...

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    1. I like that there are all ages in that group - so much more interesting that way.

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  11. The women's group sounds fun, and a good way to learn from others and share your own wisdom with them too. I wonder if such thing exists where I am… might be something I would enjoy as well.

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    1. I found out about this through a friend who'd been in the groups several years ago.

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  12. oh come help me purge! the group sounds interesting though. glad it's been enjoyable for you.

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    1. It's a supportive bunch, which I could use.

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