Chances are if you are a woman, you feel unsafe quite frequently, whether that is walking alone at night to your car, speaking up when you feel uncomfortable, or sharing your emotions. The last thing you want is to be physically harmed, judged, ostracized, ridiculed, or dismissed.
One of the safest places we can go as women is to a sacred circle where there is a loving container to hold us in our authenticity and vulnerability.
A women’s circle, when done right, helps break down the barriers amongst women and bring us back to that place of true sisterhood. Women used to gather together for eons to watch each other’s children, sew together, tell stories, support one another and take care of one another.
However, because so many women today are wary of being burned, backstabbed or mistreated by other women, a women’s circle facilitator must take the time to set up a safe, sacred container that allows women to relax and let go.
While there are many things she needs to do to create a safe, sacred space, there is one thing above all else that she must do immediately, and I see so many facilitators of workshops and events fail to do this one thing.
It’s based on this distinction:
Women feel safe once they feel connected.
As a transformational facilitator, you must establish connection amongst the people present in the circle immediately. If you step over that, as a group they will not feel fully safe.
If you establish connection, right off the bat, they will relax, open up faster, and share more authentically.
Recently, I was invited to speak at the Chopra Center’s Women’s Retreat and my talk was on the second night of the retreat. I established connection within than 75 minutes and I had a line of women coming up to me afterwards to share how powerful my session was and how they wished it was at the beginning of the retreat because they felt so connected.
So how do you create connection, and how do you do it right away?
It’s really simple and it can take less than 10 minutes.
Have everyone meet each other.
I think it is best if everyone in the room gets to introduce themselves to the entire room.
In Sistership Circle, we call this our opening stitch. It’s a ritual where everyone stands in circle and states their name and one thing they bring to the circle. Even if there are 50 people, and they take 10 seconds each, this only takes up 8 minutes.
I then follow up with having them meet 5 other people more intimately by sharing their intention for being there. This can take another 5 to 10 minutes, depending on if you use a timer and create an agreement that keeps them moving quickly from person to person.
It’s incredible what happens after we do one or both of these things. The energy in the room completely shifts. They go from feeling like an individual to being part of something bigger. They feel seen and heard. They know who’s in the room now and can relax knowing there is no danger lurking because they’ve been able to meet everyone around them.
Think about it: you feel unsafe when you don’t know who someone is and their potential to harm you. As soon as you meet them and connect, you feel more comfortable and relaxed to put your guard down a little. The more authentic the connection, the safer you feel.
In our How to Lead Circle eBook, we talk about the three main ways to create safety in your circle in Chapter 3, which you can download for free here.
Share a time when you felt unsafe in a circle. Was connection missing?