Over the years, I’ve found that women’s groups provide a safe space for us ladies. Here we can feel secure in opening up and sharing our vulnerabilities and we can find support and opportunities for love and growth. I can’t stress this enough: Making the time to be with our girlfriends is vitally important. It deprograms us from the cultural mentality that teaches us we need to compete and win and, instead, teaches us to simply be and to play. We can use our voice, and share our insights and visions to empower both ourself and others. We can experience a renewed feminism through making time and space for enriching experiences that allow us to connect and go further together, to move beyond boundaries, and to design a more sustainable inner and outer world. Perhaps best of all, we can inspire one another to always go forward and to be strong.
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In addition to supporting one another’s goals and intentions, these gatherings allow us a regular opportunity to foster deep, supportive relationships with other women. They offer the chance to play with our friends, to support them when things are difficult, to celebrate their successes, and to support one another’s intentions. These gatherings create a long-term, effective, and sustainable sense of psychological safety and collaborative intelligence between us and our girlfriends.
Here are some of my favorite gathering themes, although you should also feel free to get creative and come up with your own.
New Moon Gatherings
The new moon is associated with new beginnings, so these gatherings generally entail intention-setting, but can also include everything from food and cocktails to educational opportunities through guest lecturers, and so on. I am a big fan of bringing women together, whatever the occasion may be, but new moons are a particularly powerful time to do so.
Is there a cause that you feel especially passionate about? Bringing a group together around that cause is a good way to dialogue about the issue, set objectives, and determine strategies and tactics to make a difference. It feels great to champion a cause with a group of your fellow concerned citizens who share common goals and want to create change in the world.
It is so much fun to dive in and discuss a blog with other women. It’s enlightening to hear how others analyze the same blog from their unique perspective. While discussing the blog, there is also the opportunity to share personal anecdotes, reflect, and learn about the triumph and struggles of others, while also learning more about yourself in the process.
Slow Beauty Gatherings
Create a support group around your Slow Beauty practice. Do some of the exercises in this blog together, make some of the recipes, and even perform the movement exercises together. Share your own recipes and rituals. Have a Slow Beauty workshop to map it all out.
HOW TO DO IT
Determine what type of group you would like to start: New Moon gathering, Slow Beauty practice group, blog club, organizing party, or any other theme that excites you. The main point here is to carve out and make a commitment to this time spent together.
Decide whether you want to make this an intimate type of group or something more social. I find that seven to eight women is a good number for blog clubs, to facilitate a robust discussion where everyone has an opportunity to contribute. For New Moon gatherings, organizing parties, or Slow Beauty practice groups, seven to eight women is a great number for an intimate vibe; fifteen to eighteen is ideal for sharing, idea generation, and socializing. You may want to invite the same guests to participate in the group every time or you may prefer a rotating roster. I have found that larger gatherings tend to have a core group of women who attend each gathering, and others who come from time to time. There is no right or wrong way to do it.
Decide where you would like to host your gathering. I find that hosting at home is comfortable and cozy, but hosting outside of the home to have new experiences, explore, and mix it up can be nice, too.
Offering food is always a good idea. Potlucks are a great option, and a nice opportunity for sharing.
I find two hours is generally a good amount of time for the larger groups as these are often more structured affairs with a guest speaker or a specific objective. For intimate groups, I usually forgo a time limit and let the gathering unfold and progress organically.
Monthly meetings work well for both blog clubs and New Moon groups. For organizing parties, set the gatherings based on your group’s objective and the urgency of the issue at hand.