Holding Space for Wild-Hearts
Find rebellious hope through intention and purpose
Welcome to my ongoing seasonal, circle infused musings. You may wish to sit down with a cuppa and your journal and play along with me, or you may prefer to have a quick scroll to see the headings and trust what draws your attention. xx
Hello Dear Circlers
I am writing to you from a beautiful new co-working space; it is in an old mill complex, half an hour stroll from our house . There are big glass windows giving a view over the River Dart, and a beautiful circular wood burner that hangs from the ceiling. It is a warm and welcoming space to work from, on these cold and frosty days.
Through January I have been playing with the energy that I would like to embody in my life and in my offerings for Circle Holders this year.
I have never successfully chosen a word for the year; my brain works in mysterious ways and I rebel against anything that feels like I’m being told to do it! And so when it seems like everyone is sharing their word, I don’t want to play!
Over Christmas I read How to Live When you Could be Dead by Deborah James, in which she shares her concept of “rebellious hope”; she embodied this by living far beyond her prognosis, and choosing to be the demonstration of living with joy and purpose, no matter what. Her story was heartbreaking and brave and beautifully provoking.
I have shared before that I have a tendency to lean towards melancholy. I have an equal tendency towards joy, as a dear friend recently reminded me with fierce love! It was a beautiful gift of insight; I know it to be true and yet, for complex reasons, I often resist sharing my joy.
I am contradictory, and continue to deepen by capacity to lean into paradox and hold seemingly opposing ideas or beliefs as true. And at the heart of this, is holding space for my wholeness; which includes the work of tending to my lived experience, understanding my privilege and addressing my biases, and being willing to share my opinions, theories and approaches to living in these (r)evolutionary times.
Whilst rebelling against choosing a word, I explored several that might encompass the energy I’m connecting with, including: rebellious, hopeful, free-spirited, purposeful, enriching and brave. And as I googled the meanings and etymology of these words, I heard a gently whisper from within: wild hearted.
A few years ago I held and facilitated a free Facebook group called Wild-Hearts, with the subtitle: Remember, Reclaim, Rewild. I found an old header in my Canva files:
When I looked beyond the image in which I seem to be sniffing my armpit(!) and the redundant branding, I realised that these ideas are still very much woven through my work. I use the words “remember” and “reclaim” often, and the energy of being wild-hearted is still very present.
I am remembering, reclaiming and bringing my wild-hearted energy. For me this encompasses being brave and rebellious, hopeful and truthful, bold and reflective, intuitive and purposeful.
Intention & Meaningful Purpose
For 2023 I will channel my wild-hearted energy into intentionally contributing to the modern circle movement, purposefully tending to my vision for the world I desire my son to experience, and creating circles and courses and offerings that are meaningful and enriching for each of us who participate.
This commitment also guided me to a decision about how and with whom I spend my money.
You may not share this experience, but perhaps you have also noticed a disproportionate amount of on-line marketing based on the person’s income level. In the on-line business world there is an often touted trope that “income = impact”. The intended meaning being that the more income you make, the more impact you are having. This is presented as good and noble!
I dislike the phase for many reasons; not least of which is that I find the word “impact” violent. Leaving that aside, according to Oxfam’s annual inequality report the top 1% earned almost twice as much new wealth as the bottom 99% over the past 2 years AND I’ve read opinions that correlate wealth with the greatest detrimental impact on the environment and climate AND I currently live in the UK where the companies with the highest profits carry the lowest tax burden, and the wealthiest individuals (including Members of Parliament) evade paying tax.
And so of course, “not all wealthy people”, but for me, particularly in the midst of a cost of living crisis that is causing real harm to so many, those declaring 7-figure incomes as a reason to join them, don’t need my money.
I already choose local, independently owned shops and services whenever possible, and so it makes sense to follow a similar ethos and better use of my discernment when investing in on-line courses and experiences.
I know many brilliant, talented, skilled and wonderful women who I have met on-line and had the privilege of working with, who are not making 6-figures (let alone 7-figures). And I want to live in a world where we are all able to meet our basic needs and have some overflow. So, when I have money to circulate I can contribute to that reality by choosing to spend it with them.
I’m most definitely not telling you how to spend your money, or criticising you if you are a high income earner. I just wanted to share another way that I’m bringing intention and meaningful purpose into my daily life
I appreciate this conversation is nuanced and multi-layered and I don’t have the space (or the inclination) to expand on it here, but if you’d like to share your perspective or experience in the comments please do so.
On a slightly different note, I will be sharing more about the organisations that Circle School will be supporting this year in my next letter. This is another way that I can circulate money with a view to supporting those marginalised by our current systems, and the planet!
Join my chat
It is with a grateful heart that I get to write to you on this wonderful Substack platform, and if you haven’t already, I would love you to also join my chat; this is a conversation space in the Substack app that I set up exclusively for subscribers — kind of like a group chat.
I post reflective enquiries, thoughts, and updates and invite you to share and contribute to the discussion. Our current pondering is: “In what do you trust?”
To join our chat, you need to download the Substack app, (now available for both iOS and Android). The chats are sent via the app, not email, so you can turn on push notifications so as not to miss our conversations as they happen.
Currently Enrolling: PRESENCE
Is there are greater gift to ourselves than deepening our capacity as space holders?
As a wellbeing practitioner, parent, care-giver, community organiser, creative, visionary or circle holder, you are a Space Holder.
You hold space for your art, your work, your dreams, your desires, your grief and your gratitude.
Holding space is an essential art, craft and skill to practice compassion, exercise courage and cultivate community.
With practice and willingness we can deepen our art, develop our craft and hone our skill and in doing so channel our wild hearts and find rebellious hope for these times.
PRESENCE is an immersion into this art, craft and skill of holding space for ourselves so that we can hold space for others and the change we wish to see in the world. It offers a framework and tools to support us in meeting ourselves, so that we may meet others with our wild hearts open.
Informed by my own experience from lawyer to circle holder, my journey through PTSD, depression and anxiety, my daily dialogue with chronic pain and my ongoing adventures as a parent and partner, PRESENCE is a scaffolded and resourcing journey of theories and techniques, self-enquiry and embodiment practices.
The next live round begins tomorrow (Thursday 26th January). You can find all the details here . The Immersion is £222 and there are 3-month and 6-month payment plan options (with no additional charges).
If there was ever a time to deepen our capacity as space holders, this might just be it!
What’s happening in The Grove?
The Grove is our on-line membership for wellbeing practitioners, community organisers and creatives who hold Women's Circles. A place of sanctuary & rebellion encouraging curiosity & creativity amongst co-conspirators! We next open for new members from February 1st - 3rd.
We have been settling into our new on-line space and having our first gatherings including a Sharing Circle, Council Gathering and Book Cabin. Our first chosen book is Foxfire, Wolfskin and other stories of Shapeshifting Women by Sharon Blackie.
I am absolutely thrilled that this is the book we voted for and am looking forward to reading the stories again, and having the opportunity to explore them with other Grovers.
Next week we come together for our first Co-Conspiracy Session (our version of co-working!). There is something truly phenomenal about being in community with 40 Circle Holders supporting, guiding, encouraging and cheerleading each other.
I leave you with a little prayer that I wrote for a recent Circle:
As the radiance of our time together fades, may we it remain in our hearts
May our memories hold what we have heard, witnessed, experienced and learnt
May we know what sacred quality lives in our hearts
May we know our work deeply and offer it generously
May we honour our embodied experience of the world and continue to learn how to be part of it
May we be true to ourselves whilst being of service to others
May we be demonstrations of rebellious hope and wild-hearted sanctuaries
May we take our place in this (R)evolutionary movement
May we feel gratitude for this, that, all
And all is well. And so it is and it is so
Thank you thank you thank you
I cannot wait to sit in Circle with you.
With you in these (r)evolutionary times.