I remember a Women’s Circle I attended during the waning fall and awakening darkness of winter.

The sound of the tea kettle bubbled, blurted, and boiled. All you could hear in the cozy and twinkling welcome area of SomaSpace was the water pouring into my tea cup. On my inhale, the aroma of my chamomile tea comfortingly cradled my tension. On an exhale it was all released. The bells jingled as the door opened and welcoming smiles met mine. Gentle and familiar hugs were exchanged while sweet strangers also became acquainted. In my time at SomaSpace, I have noticed that everyone that enters breaths out a sigh of relief.

There is a softness here that welcomes all, a kind of magic, that embraces you. It is intricately woven into the web of people that have connected and crossed paths here. And I have seen this tapestry of connection forming in Women’s Circle.

With blankets wrapped around our shoulders and tea in hand, we sat in circle each acknowledging each others presence. We began by each briefly explaining what brought us there that evening and saying our individual names one by one. After stating our individual names, everyone in the circle lovingly called our names back to us. Some of us giggled, some of us became tender with tears. What a way to be welcomed- by having everyone fully witnessing your presence and journey to that moment, void of judgement or expectation.

This is what I love about Women’s Circle. There are no expectations. As we live in a world where we rush around trying to meet our own expectations and demands upon us or withhold showing up how we really need to- this space allows us to come however you are. I’ve shown up a mess. Worn out and broken. I’ve shown up excited and triumphant. Distant and tired. Connected and grounded. Or not at all and still welcomed as before.

That evening we all showed up with heavy hearts. The winter brought some of the most challenging experiences to each of our individual lives. Being real, seen, and having a safe space to do so created a vulnerability that was healing. Despite our challenges that we would return home to, our hearts were lifted by remembering that being in community can build bridges between the isolating islands of our minds.

It all began with one person being courageous to speak about where they were at in their life and what support they were seeking by being in women’s circle that night. After that, there was a cascade of open hearts. One beautiful lady brought out her deerskin drum we each held as we spoke and drummed out our hurts. It was freeing. Liberating, with each beat.

We all held the person’s hand next to us after they spoke so honestly. Eventually, as the last person spoke, we all were holding hands in tears and in circle.  We lit candles for those who could not be present with us living or passed. Collectively, we breathed out our intentions of peace to those who could not be present as the candles went out.

We stood on the soft wooden floor of the studio- drumming and yelling and howling to end the night.

Everyone danced with joy and power.

Sometimes Women’s Circle is hilarious, high-energy, giddy and goofy. Sometimes it is sad, heart-wrenching, uncomfortable and completely vulnerable. There is magic that happens when a room full of people from all walks of life gather together in a circle with no hierarchy- one that supports the intention that we all equally show up as leaders and teachers to each other.

The circle of people cycles through. Some return and some move on. Personally, I have met some of my best friends there that have certainly been my best friends for lifetimes prior and for lifetimes to come. I will always be grateful to Jacqueline Rubinstein who is the director of SomaSpace, for being the initial person to courageously call for a Women’s Circle to be built in order to offer support and healing community.

Find out more information on how to attend here.

All photography courtesy of Ray Phung Photography.