toeing the circle

Spring's in the air!

For all of 15 seconds perhaps, because Pacific Northwest climate can be rather fickle and the seasons shift in fits and starts, some false.

Still, the sunshine and warmer temps are embraced in this pervasively gray state with the nation's highest suicide rate.

Yesterday brought the start of the We-Can women's circle, held at this sanctuary – oasis – center for women that holds all variety of classes, groups, one-day events.

So 16 of us gathered on chairs a bit tightly in a room in the refurbished historic Victorian-type house for the group whose intent is "to explore and support one another as leaders in their own lives and in the community."

Not really sure what that means, I'll be finding out over the next six weeks.

Quite a diverse group showed up. Women ranging from the young mom who looked to be about 21 with an infant in a carry basket to another around the same age with a child on the way to those in their 50s and 60s.

Once the rules of the circle were set up, we went around and introduced ourselves. Then were given our evening's exercise. Pair off and each person has five minutes to speak about something that she'd done that exhibited leadership or made her proud. The other person was to strictly listen. Then, switch places.

When it came my turn to talk, I really had to search my mind for an example in these past five years, these Lost Years.

First I thought of that warehouse job. I remembered not only how industriously and tirelessly I worked but the plethora and volume of tasks I voluntarily assumed that helped keep the ship running.

And I really did. I've often quipped that (for my natural managerial strengths, skills and talents) I could easily run a company but not my personal life.

Then I recollected how poorly I was treated at the warehouse, by the manager especially. How I was so unappreciated and not valued and my magnificent contributions meant nothing and I was bossed around, abused and oppressed. And the warehouse story no longer was one of pride but pain.

So I sifted through my mind again, especially the years in Japan (there's a book of stories I'll never write!). And came up with the story about obtaining a restraining order, which was quite the challenge on all levels, especially culturally.

Yes, I was proud of how I rose to that challenge, especially within the context of another planet; mostly I think though that I was proud that I'd put a period on a life that to that point had been one of violence. It was a significant turning point.

Then we regrouped, shared (as desired) and closed the circle.

While I'm not a group person — by any stretch of anyone's imagination! — it's time for me to branch out, to change some things up, to change. I sense I'm gonna like this group; the chemistry feels right, and the facilitator, who actually wrote a grant for this so has already presented a plan and vision, seems to know what she's doing.

Yes, spring's in the air! Time to grow! It's a daffodily day.

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