Over the course of the last two weeks I have spent six days in the company of nine, sometimes more amazing women. Why? I've been teaching and assisting on the Lusthtums Post-Natal Yoga training course in Brighton.
For the first time in almost a whole year I felt I was once again in a real space with women. A space of honesty and love. At the beginning on the first day we spent three hours listening to and talking about some incredible stories Clare Maddelana had returned with from her recent Healthy Birth, Healthy Earth conference at Findehorn in Scotland.
Don't get me wrong there is a place for gentle every day chat with women you meet, other women colleagues, good friends and family members. But there is something very different about being in the company of women when we talk about our womenhood, our joy, our suffering, our rights of passage.
Only a handful of times in my life I have felt that sense of communion with other women. Have I truly allowed myself to be seen, heard and held by their attentions. The only times in fact are when I've been on courses studying yoga and pregnancy, birth and children. And I remember all those times with such affection as they left their imprint deep in me.
Experiences of menstrual cycles, menopause, pregnancy, birth and motherhood are enormous rights of passage for women and I feel they deserve ritual and recognition. In modern Britain I can't think of any rituals or celebrations of womanhood, unless perhaps you follow a religion. I believe ceremony and ritual are important because they create focus and attention which in turn give something worth. And we are worthy. We should be celebrated. We should be heard. We should feel supported. I feel strongly that as women we should reclaim our ceremonies. We should come together and celebrate our lives and the nature around us from which we came. We need spaces for community, comfort and support to blossom in.
When women come together to talk about and share experiences of their lives I have found it heartbreaking, liberating and enormously positive all at the same time. After last weekend I realised I didn't want this space I'd learnt and shared in to end. I wanted access to a regular space where women could come together and meet in a way that offered more than a hot drink and a catch up. To meet in a way that acknowledges the realness of our lives, to celebrate them and to nourish ourselves with each others support and warmth. The question was how? What next? Where to find such a place?
Then I remembered. Some years ago a friend had given me a direct invite to join a group of women in the 'Red Tent. So I looked it up on the internet and re-found the details of the one closest to me. It is my intention to go to the first gathering I can in the hope that I can continue that connection I'd started to make with others and myself. It is time to embrace the woman I know I am, to support other women, to honour the ones before us and to nurture the ones alongside us.
If you are a woman. If you do nothing more than read this. Please take a moment to say to yourself silently or outlaid, 'I honour the incredible, mother/ sister/ aunt/ friend/ lover/ wife that I am. And I honour all the incredible women that have supported, loved and held me thus far on my journey.'
To find your local Red Tent at http://redtentdirectory.com/find/brighton-red-tent-and-red-yurt/
Hari om tat sat x