Meeting My Shero (and filling your Circles)
They say never meet your (s)heroes, I'm glad I did
Hello Dear Circlers
I’m stepping over the threshold into December with an unexpected spring in my step! I welcomed the frosted grass and the ice covered windscreen this morning with a joyful heart*.
November, a usually challenging month for me (I shared why in a previous post, Return to the Dark), turned out to be a gentle month of connection with friends and family, with new clients and exciting dreams for Circle School.
One glorious highlight was attending an event with two of my dearest friends: an evening with Sharon Blackie.
If you’ve been following along for a while you’ll know how much I love Sharon Blackie’s work. Her books, courses and workshops have been hugely influential in my life and circle work over the last 5 years. I reference her work on my website and have included If Women Rose Rooted on every reading list I’ve curated.
Meeting A Shero
Being in the audience for her first in-person event for 3-years was a privilege and a joy.
My two friends weren’t familiar with Sharon’s books (although I’m pleased to report that they are now diving in!) and were lovingly amused at me acting like a star-struck teenager at a pop concert!
The former Methodist Church was packed to the rafters with glorious women deeply listening to Sharon’s stories, readings and perspective on our world.
With hindsight, I wish I’d taken notes because although I was hanging off every word, I can’t remember anything specific. (I’m learning to adjust to my currently frail memory following my hospital stay with bacterial meningitis in January and menopausal brain-lapses!)
What I do remember is how it felt to be in a full house of hags. It felt electric, exciting, promising, rebellious and (r)evolutionary! There was a palpable sense of power rooted in lived experience, the reclamation of our stories and the reimagining of the second half of our lives.
I had thought about taking all my books in the hope that Sharon would be signing books, but I got self-conscious and settled for taking my rather tattered and dog-eared copy of If Women Rose Rooted, which is now even more precious to me!
I was my usual awkward self when asking her to sign it, but she was as gracious and straightforward as I expected. I’m so glad that I got to “meet” her for those few moments.
This book has provided such medicine for my soul. I have read it several times and each time it offers further insight and guidance.
It is the book that supported me to create my own circle methodology rooted in acknowledging our ancestors, connecting with the lands we are on, reclaiming our lost stories, and reimagining women’s circles for these revolutionary times.
It is the book that helped me relocate back to the UK, from Australia, and supported my journey to rooting myself in the landscape and community of Devon.
For Circle Holders whose ancestral roots are in the British Isles, I wholeheartedly recommend, If Women Rose Rooted, as a doorway into the world of our native mythology and wisdom traditions and an insight into the experiences and stories of contemporary women who are deeply connected to the land.
And regardless of our ancestors, I believe that it is a book rich in guidance for all women looking to find their place:
If women remember that once upon a time we sang with the tongues of seals and flew with the wings of swans, that we forged our own paths through the dark forest while creating a community of its many inhabitants, then we will rise up rooted, like trees.
And if we rise up rooted, like trees … well then, women might indeed save not only ourselves, but the world.
Sharon Blackie, If Women Rose Rooted
As I continue my journey through the menopause transition, I am thrilled to be slowing reading and savouring her new book, Hagitude.
Filling my Release & Renew Circle
On instagram this week I celebrated with deep gratitude that this upcoming Circle had filled quickly and a month in advance. I offered to share some reflections on why that happened (and didn’t happen for my Samhain Circle).
In my Circle methodology there there are 5 stages to the circle process (although these often intermingle and overlap!); the third is “filling the circle”.
For me, filling my Circles is the most energy intense part of the process. This is the stage that requires me to hold the vision, tend to my self-belief, take action (in the form of social media posts, emails and talking to people), and trust, accept and surrender to the process!
What I did and Why it worked:
I “launched” the Circle on November 15th and it was full (12-places booked) on November 29th. My approach, that I share in Circle Skills, is two fold - tending to my own energy and taking practical steps to get the attention of those who would wish to book. The practical actions I took were:
This is the third year that I have offered this Circle and I began by sending an email to those who have attended in the previous years. I also gave them 2-days to book before I shared more widely. That email prompted the first two bookings. The first people to book are very special; they contribute their energy to calling in the rest of the Circle and I always send a personal message to thank them.
I then posted an invitation to join us on my Instagram Grid. I gave an outline of the Circle and invited people to leave an emoji in the comments if they wanted me to send them the link. I sent the link to those who commented and I received a couple of DMs asking for the link.
I shared on my Instagram Stories 5 times.
3 people shared on their Instagram stories that they were coming.
I messaged everyone who had asked for the link but hadn’t booked with a loving reminder when there were only a couple of spaces left.
I mentioned it on my Instagram live on November 29th and the last ticket was booked.
This was very similar to how I shared my Samhain Circle, but I think the main differences were:
Release & Renew is now one of my signature Circles (you can watch this live about what those are). I wholeheartedly believe in the Circle and I know it filled last year so I was confident that it would fill this year.
I had a very clear intention of wanting to fill the Circle before the end of November as I have other things that I want to focus on in December. I trusted that it would fill and had decided that I would close bookings at the end of November regardless of how many had booked (I didn’t share this publicly).
Clare Foale and Giselle Perry have both been to the previous years and both shared on their Instagram stories that they were coming again. These shares from experienced Circle Holders who also hold space for that other Circle Holders, are a wonderful contribution to the “trust” factor. I am very grateful to them both for supporting, sharing and participating in my work.
I’ve also been learning more about what’s currently “working” on Instagram and experimenting with how I use my posts and stories. (If you’re in Circle Skills, I’ll be sharing about this in our Mentoring call this month).
Everyday I tapped (EFT) on any doubts or worries that arose, and I tapped “in” the feeling of joy and celebration of the Circle being full.
I fully celebrated every person who joined and sent a personal message of welcome and thanks.
The clear difference in my approach to my Samhain Circle and the Release and Renew Circle was my energy. I experienced more nerves and doubts about the Samhain Circle because it was a new Circle offering, yet I didn’t meet those niggles regularly with tapping or journaling (my usual doubt-medicine!), and I ignored my own deadline for Circle bookings because it hadn’t filled. In other words, I didn’t lovingly tend to my energy regularly.
In Circle Skills I share in detail 5-practical approaches and 5-energetic approaches to filling your Circles, and this recent reflection was a wonderful reminder to myself of the power of our energy.
And / but, having said that, the Samahin Circle was wonderful and I was genuinely delighted that we were an intimate group of 7. So I wouldn’t change that, but with the benefit of hindsight I would have closed the bookings when I said I would, and turned my attention to something else, trusting that it was exactly as it needed to be.
If you’d like a little introduction into what I share in Circle Skills on filling your Circles, you might like to listen to this episode of my previous podcast:
Circle School Update
Instagram - I am currently going live at 12.30pm (ish) on Mondays and Thursdays. I’m just riffing on all things Circle and answering your questions; if you have a question for me, you can reply to this email, leave or a comment or DM me.
Join: Circle Skills - This is a brilliant foundational course for you if you are a wellbeing practitioner, community organiser or creative who is already deeply skilled in your modality/work/craft, and wishes to include Circles as part of your offerings (either for existing clients / customers / community and/or to bring new people into your ecosystem. It is just £133 until the end of 2022 and includes monthly live calls with me. OR you can enrol in the Circle School Bundle which include PRESENCE, Circle Skills and 12-months membership in (the soon to open) Circle School Grove for £300! For both options, a payment plan is available.
[My intention is for this course to be financially accessible and payment plans will always be available. The value of the course continues to increase with the live calls and additional resources and the price will increase accordingly. Once you join, you have ongoing access to the course, resources, updates, live mentoring sessions and future live rounds; the earlier you join, the lower the price will be].
Circle Skills Members: Our next call is on Friday 16th December when I will be answering questions, coaching those who are on the call AND sharing all I’ve been learning about what’s working on Instagram at the moment. As always, you’ll receive an email reminder with the link.
Get Ready: The Circle School Grove is coming!!! Our on-line membership for Circle Holders to gather, share and explore the art, craft & skill of holding circles in these (r)evolutionary times. If you’re on Instagram and have already commented with a tree emoji, you will be getting the link next week. If you’re not or you haven’t, then just reply or comment below and I will send you the link (as soon as it’s ready) to join as a Founding Member for £10 per month.
The Circle School Podcast is making a comeback! We will be relaunching the podcast in 2023 with a new format, a co-host and incredible guests. If there’s someone you would love to hear us chat to, please let me know.
Thank you so much for being here.
Thank you for exploring Circles with me.
Thank you for supporting my work in these (r)evolutionary times.
Thank you for co-creating a wave of Circle Holders who are providing spaces of sanctuary and rebellion across the world.
With you in this (r)evolutionary movement
* I started writing this on Friday morning whilst in glorious Devon. I’m finishing writing it from my parents’ kitchen in London on Sunday morning. Yesterday we went to the cinema to see Matilda which River, who has a distaste for musicals, thoroughly enjoyed! Today we’re off to the local flower market; last time I went I came home with a mushroom growing kit! Adventures await!!
p.s A little note:
I love sharing books and I love supporting Indie bookshops. If you can’t get to a local bookshop or prefer to order on-line, the links that I share take you to bookshop.org. On their site you can choose a specific bookshop to support and they’ll receive 30% of the cover price (or almost all of the profit) or, 10% of the cover price contributes to an earnings pool that is evenly distributed among participating independent bookshops each month. In addition, I am a member of their affiliate program which means I receive 10% commission and an additional 10% goes to Indie bookshops. So it’s a win for book lovers and bookshops.
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