So this past Thursday I attended my first Goddess Circle. What is a Goddess Circle, you ask? Well… essentially it’s a group of like-minded women to gather, talk, and support each other. A Goddess Circle is a place where no judgments are made, a place to be lifted up spiritually, a place for self-reflection and meditation. It is a place to make new friends, network, learn about others, and know you’re not alone in whatever your struggles may be. It is a place born of the innate sisterhood of women, and is a place where every woman’s voice is not only heard, but encouraged and empowered.
Okay, it sounds kind of hippie and hokey, I know. I was absolutely skeptical at first. But the idea of woman-empowered sisterhood sounded like it fit my ideals of woman-nurturing-woman that led me to become a postpartum doula. I found this group on Meetup.com, where I founded my Austin Nannies group. Again, I was skeptical, but very intrigued. The idea of being spiritual and connected with a higher power, without being religious, really appealed to me. And who doesn’t want to feel accepted, supported, and loved as a sister?
So, this past Thursday, I enlisted my best friend Tori (read her blog here) to come along with me on this new experience. We were greeted at a downtown apartment with snacks and drinks, and spent about 30 minutes semi-awkwardly mingling with the other 10 or so ladies. We all sat in a large circle among the couches and chairs of the beautifully decorated apartment, listening to quiet but uplifting music. It was obvious some had known each other before, but there were others who were also simply brought along by a friend. These girls sat quietly and listened in on conversations, while Tori and I mainly caught up with each other. The average age range was early twenties to early thirties. I had a feeling I would be among the younger end of the scale, but most girls were mid-twenties.
Around 45 minutes in, we were officially introduced to each other by going around the circle and stating our names and a bit about what we did as far as work, hobbies, etc. Much more was revealed through just the introductions that I expected. Many girls had the same struggle; newly graduated with the degree they always wanted, but working a job they hated -in a field they didn’t want- just to make ends meet. Lots of us were at a crossroads in our lives, stuck with the task of figuring out whether to just keep living to make things work now, or rise above, call upon an inner strength, and truly make the changes needed in order to live happier, more fulfilled lives.
We began with a guided group meditation led by the wonderful Kelly Atwood, leader of our Goddess Circle and a personal success coach. The meditation began with a few deep breaths to center ourselves, and we were led on an incredible journey to meet our ‘future selves.’ Again, I know it sounds hippie and hokey, but you really had to be there, be present, and be of an open mind. We took a journey out of our bodies, and left them there in that apartment in Austin in 2015. We journeyed into the openness and comfort of the starry night sky, floating for a while, then headed back down to Earth, this time landing in the year 2025. We were told to imagine exactly where we saw ourselves being in 10 years from now, really feeling the energy of the time and place we were in. We were greeted by our future selves, and got the opportunity to ask them our burning questions. ‘You know what it is,’ Kelly led. We were led to ask more questions of our future selves, such as ‘what trivial thing am I wasting my time on here in 2015?’ Then it was time to leave our future selves, and return back to our own bodies. As we traveled back up into the vastness of the Universe, and came back down into our present bodies, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Opening my eyes, I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one in tears.
When I traveled to see my future self, we were encouraged to ‘open the doorway’ to see what we looked like in 10 years. Mine was a physical door as well. A red door, to a suburban house in a nice neighborhood with a green lawn, steps up onto the porch, and green plants by the front door. FutureSelf opened the door and warmly smiled and led me in. She was wearing a maxi dress and drapey cardigan, and I remember thinking how calm and serene she looked. She honestly looked like she didn’t have a worry in the world. I stepped inside a house and looked around. A stairway on my right side, formal dining room on my left, and continuing forward led to the kitchen on the left and a living room on the right side. As instructed, I took notice of the pictures on the walls. Pictures of memories I hadn’t even made yet, moments of happiness I’ve yet to experience. My walls were filled with pictures of two little ones, a boy and a girl, twins. Pictures of family vacations to the beach, the kids at 1 and 2 years old. Seeing my little ones gave me so much happiness. They were about 3 years old and fiddling with toys on the coffee table as I sat down on the couch. Neither looked up at me, just sat contentedly coloring while FutureSelf brought me a cup of tea and sat down next to me.
She smiled in a way that made me feel at home, and once again I was struck by how serene she seemed. I huge wave of relief washed over me, causing me to tear up in real life, once I realized that there would finally be a time where I wouldn’t be plagued with the worry and anxiety that I carry with me today. As we talked, I realized that the children gave her a sense of purpose like nothing else in this world could. We talked about how she feels so empowered and happy with her job, helping other mothers through those first, shaky, difficult days/weeks of becoming a mother. Finally, Kelly told us that it was time to go back to our present bodies, and we were to say goodbye to our FutureSelves. We were told to give her a hug and focus on how she felt, smelled, and the feeling she gave us. Again I was overwhelmed with emotion and teared up as my mind hugged my FutureSelf. Her hug was filled with so much love, a love that is beyond me now. I was floored my how much love I could actually feel radiating from my FutureSelf’s body. I had no idea I was capable of feeling that loved, and what’s more, that I would ever be capable of giving so much love.
Needless to say, coming back down into the present was a challenge, and had to be done so slowly and carefully. Kelly did a wonderful job of guiding us back down with ease, and when I opened my eyes and fully ‘came to,’ I felt so much lighter. I was so relieved to know that everything would be okay. Waves of calm washed over me as we sat and shared bits and pieces of each of our experiences with our FutureSelves. It was a truly powerful and emotional experience.
After a few moments of reveling in our meditation, we were led through an exercise that challenged us to think about what areas of our life we weren’t using ‘our full voice.’ As women, it’s extremely common for us to feel like we could fill much more potential than we are, but something stops us from doing so. Whether because we feel it would bring too much attention to ourselves, we don’t want to step on anyone’s toes, or we just don’t feel confident enough to do so, there are areas of our lives where we may not be living up to our full power. A quote by Marianne Williamson we were reminded of reads,
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
With this in mind, we kept on with our conversation about areas of our lives that we felt we weren’t giving our full voice. For me, it’s my decision to become a doula. At my age, most of my friends are still in college, pursing degrees that will help them get into the career of their choice. I feel like I’m honestly the only 20 year-old not in college, and I hate it. I feel like because it’s what’s expected of me by nearly everyone I know, I’m doing something wrong by not following that path. I feel like telling people that I’m no longer in school disappoints people (read: parents) and honestly makes me feel like a loser. But there’s this part of me that is actually so thrilled and excited to have finally found my ‘purpose’ and be able to move towards it. I know without a doubt that I was put on this Earth to nurture. It’s always been a huge aspect of my personality, and my interest in pregnant, childbirth, and early infancy has led me to find a career that allows me to be my best self. I can’t wait to be a doula and soothe the fears of mothers. And here’s the thing; I know I’m going to be good at it. I have enough confidence to say that I know my caring, nurturing, and giving personality will make me a great doula. I know this. But it’s still hard to share with other for some reason, because I feel like it’s not what I should be doing at my age.
Goddess Circle applauded me for first even having a passion and knowing what I wanted to do with it. They said its wonderful that at just 20 years old I know what my career needs to hold for me in order to live a fulfilled life. Moving forward, I need to be more open about becoming a doula, and being proud of my passion, rather than hide it behind what I think I ‘should’ be doing. Even my current career feels like it never stacks up quite right. I love my work as a nanny. Is it my ultimate goal? No, but it still brings me so much joy.Seeing the little one’s faces light up when they see me in the mornings makes me so glad to work with children in a way that I adore. But even just being a full-time nanny seems like another thing I shouldn’t be doing. I feel like I can’t just be a nanny and be in love with it, people expect that it’s just something I’m doing part-time while finishing school and then moving on to ‘bigger and better’ things. As long as their families want me, I’m more than happy to stay and watch my little B and G learn and grow! Getting to work directly with children in a way that will have a huge impact on their lives? Who wouldn’t want to say that’s what they do for a living? So to make a change towards finding my full voice in that area of my life, I finally went through all my social media profiles and deleted where it said ‘Currently Attending Texas State University.’ And even that was old because I never really wanted to add the fact that I went to Austin Community College for a year. And it felt good. Why be ashamed of what I love? There’s no need. Goddess Circle helped me see that.
The whole Goddess Circle was an amazing experience, and something that I hope I am lucky enough to return to next month. It was everything I had hoped for and more. Even though I had only known this group of women for a few hours, I felt that we were all able to support each other and give each other the advice that we needed in order to help us find our ‘voices.’ I was so lucky to be able to have this time of supported self-reflection, and I would honestly recommend the experience to anyone I know! The key, I think, is to be open-minded about the experience. I’ve come out of the experience more relaxed and calm about my trivial woes, and ready to take on the world with my positive attitude. Join me, friends. Make today your best day, and be ready to face the world with your best self forward. Hope to see you all here again soon!