Clue-by-four of the week: I know what I’m doing, I know what I need, and if I don’t find it within, I will surely not find it without – so I might as well get on with it.
Last night, I did the unthinkable. I went, completely blind, to a meeting about a local “women’s circle” and their upcoming initiation program for the year.
I should have checked the website out before I decided to go, but I really needed out of the house for an evening, and several friends from my online attachment parenting group were going, so it was, as far as I was concerned, a safe place.
And it was, really…a room full of women, some seeking that elusive something deep in their souls, and others who felt they’d found it or were finding it.
And really, what I was looking for was that experience of circling with women – being together as sisters with the same goal. As I mentioned last night in circle, sitting with women offers a very different balance than anything else I’ve ever done. But this group was just not right for me – the energy was off, the “eclectic mix of Native American and Eastern Religions” not my thing, their designation of elements and directions jarringly uncoordinated….just the wrong energy for me.
To be fair, I have a few quibbles with their way of doing things. Starting the meeting by casting a circle without actually explaining anything about what you believe or giving anyone an out, for example, was something I was always taught was poor form. And the salesmanship while in circle, because, you know, personal development is never about the money, but there’s a cost for this training, see…a FOUR FIGURE cost…and if it’s important, you’ll find a way to afford it – that’s just tacky.
I also was disappointed in the way they went around and asked each of us whether or not we’d be joining them. Of course, the two who said yes were congratulated. There was approval for the woman 8+ months pregnant who said no (because while they’ve had pregnant women do their training, doing it with a babe-in-arms is probably not manageable), and for the mother with the 4 month old who said no….but not for the out-of-work mother whose husband is working a waitstaff job to pay the rent because he’s been unemployed 2 years. Nor was there approval for the mom who said she needed to think about it. And there wasn’t support for my answer that I’d normally want time to sit with this energy and understand how/where/if it fit, but that my child needed me and I couldn’t commit to the time….when questioned further, my explanation of preemie on a vent was met not with compassion, but with quiet resignation that I could not put my own needs first (hello, kid needs to keep breathing?!?)
If I’d done a bit more homework, the fact that they do sweat lodges would have made me stay far away. Not that there’s anything wrong with sweat lodges, mind you – I’m sure my finally-enrolled-Oglala-self ought to get back to the reservation and do a real one some day. But people who aren’t Native American who claim to run “authentic” sweats that they supposedly learned from “real” Indians always make me cautious…even more so when they charge for their services.
When I got home last night, I was torn. I realized that I really do want that connection, that sisterhood experience, in my life – and the sisterhood aspect was at odds with what I’d just experienced. The family-based work I’ve been doing is not bad, or wrong, but it doesn’t fulfill this other hole in my life. And because my own spiritual well isn’t being filled up most of the time, it’s hard for me to carry that over into my husband and my child and the stream of people in and out of our house to care for my child.
Talking it over with a close friend, I realized my take on the group was probably reasonable, and that I definitely didn’t belong there. I made an off-hand comment that I wished I could find a reasonable group, and that it still looked like I was going to have to start my own to get it, and I was just so damn tired of being in charge.
The response: You end up in charge because you’re good at it, so when are you going to take the hint and get on with it and make it happen?
Yeah…even my friends are handing out clue-by-fours these days.
So, in between everything else, I suppose I need to figure out what I’m going to do now that I’ve got the clue. How do you start a circle from the ground up? How do I want to structure it? How do I want to advertise, so to speak? Do I want to stick with the same initiation structure that my former coven used? Way too much to think about really, given everything else on my plate.
So, I suppose it’s like eating an elephant – one bite at a time.