Discover more from Dare to Flourish
Rage, Love & Curiosity
Sacred Activism, Dancing it Out, Listening Deeply
Welcome to my ongoing seasonal, circle infused musings. You may wish to grab a cuppa, your pen and journal and cosy up with me for my sharing, reflections, updates, invitations, suggestions and offerings, or you may prefer to have a quick scroll to see the headings, and trust what draws your attention. xx
Hello dear Circlers
March is here already and I feel that I needed more time in February; it was a month full of connection and conversation from which I received so much, but now my stores of outgoing energy are depleted and I’ve had to pull back to replenish.
As we move towards the Equinox, winter is gently reminding us of her ongoing presence; alongside the snowdrops and crocuses we are experiencing dropping temperatures and frosty mornings. But I am loving the light infused mornings and I have found myself once again venturing outside for my morning ritual.
Before I move into reflections and updates and invitations, I’d like to offer a new section and share things that are enraging me, things that are nourishing me and things that I’m seeking input on, and invite you do the same in the comments.
Rage, Love and Curiosity
I am approaching this as if were were in Circle.
I will share what is enraging me by way of a purge; to name and acknowledge those emotions and sensations that can feel uncomfortable or dangerous or out of my control or terrifying! I welcome witnessing (but not advice) and invite you to share in the comments on the same understanding.
I will share what is nourishing me in the hope that it might be helpful for someone else; that contained within my sharing, you might find reassurance or resonance or inspiration or hope. I invite you to share similarly in the comments.
I will share what I’m seeking input on by way of sharing the context, and enquiry, together with a request for you to respond. I am not seeking definitive answers but an opportunity to explore together and utilise the power of the circle-mind. I ask that you share from your own life and that you have direct experience with any resources offered or recommendations made or suggestions shared. Please also use the comments to share what you’re seeking input on. We may continue some of these threads in the subscriber chat.
Some of the things that are enraging me
I continue to rage about the political landscape in England and Wales and the underlying system in the UK that sees those with power demonstrate that they are more horrified at the prospect of corporations and millionaires paying windfall and wealth taxes than they are at school children going hungry, British Gas breaking into people’s homes to force-fit prepayment metres, the prospect that the heatwaves of last summer are predicted to be the coolest that our children will experience, our waterways being polluted with raw sewage, refugee children going missing whilst in the care of the government, the prioritising of introducing legislation to restrict people’s human rights whilst doing virtually nothing to end gender-based violence and discrimination.
I do spend quite a lot of time shouting out “make it make sense” and I find that ranting a little helps me to process the rage that is rising and then direct that in a hopefully more helpful way.
Five things that are nourishing me
The Way of Love and Rage
This is a practice that I learnt from Danielle Dulsky. In a nutshell, once you have identified what you are raging about, you sit with it and dig in to uncover the love that lies beneath the rage. And once you have clarity on what you love, you can choose to take heart-centred action.
By way of an example, behind my rage at sewage in our waterways is my love of our rivers and all the creatures that live in them (my son is named River!) together with my love of river swimming and my love of justice (private water companies make large profits and I believe, until water is re-nationalised, that they should be required to invest in and upgrade their treatment plants). My love of rivers flows into Circle School; the symbol for my holding space course, PRESENCE, is a river and I often draw on how river systems work to explain how Circles work.
When I act from this space, I can make loving choices; I can join and support organisations who are already campaigning on this issue such as Surfers Against Sewage, I can write to my water company and my MP, I can have conversations with friends and family and help raise awareness of what is happening, I can keep visiting our waterways as a sacred practice, listening to their stories and the memories they hold and creating rituals of gratitude and reverence.
This approach may not solve everything, but it is sacred activism and it nourishes my heart and soul.
Reading in a book club
I’ve long been a lover of myth and story. As part of The Grove, we have created The Book Cabin which is our version of a book club. Our first book is Foxfire, Wolfskin, the collection of short stories of shapeshifting women by Sharon Blackie.
We had our first gathering to discuss the stories last week and it was rich and potent and medicinal and liberating. We stayed with the first story, Wolfskin, and the many emotions and fears and questions that it raised. We shared deeply, generously and tenderly. I love Circles and “book club” circles may a new favourite.
So very nourishing.
Dates with Friends
I tend to not consider myself very sociable. Part of my love of Circles flows from the fact that I understand what is expected of me, which I rarely seem to in social situations! But now as we move into our third year in Devon, I have some truly wonderful friends who I adore hanging out with. We can explore complex topics, are open to each other’s perspectives and experiences and share a desire to fracture the systems that allow sewage to be discharged into our waterways and 1 in 4 children in the UK to be living in poverty. They are also co-creating our Mother and Son Circle with me so there is a level of intimacy between us and also a capacity to deeply listen to one another. These friendships are deeply nourishing.
Creating Spotify Playlists
I made my first playlist for my first Circle, and that has now grown into the collaborative list: “The Circle School Playlist” (you can listen on Spotify and add your own favourites). Since then, I have created playlists for each of my courses, for the Moon, for the changing seasons and for projects I’m working on. After our recent Book Cabin gathering I’m curating one called Myth & Story Medicine and as I write this, I’m listening to Wild Mystic Witch. I find the process of listening and choosing music both enlivening and soothing, and in that way it is nourishing me.
I’m not sure how this movement App found me but it did (spooky Instagram!) and for £5 per month (there was a special offer - is’t there always) I decided to try it and it has been amazing for me. I’ve been experiencing increased levels of pain and decreased mobility, and I’ve found lots of little videos for therapeutic movement that I can actually do, and gentle dancing that has helped me move rage through my body and has also been fun, uplifting and nourishing (and are keeping me moving!).
A Thing that I’m Seeking Input On
Peri-menopause & Hair Loss
So this has nothing whatsoever to do with anything that I’ve shared so far or to do with Circles (!) but I would love your experience or recommendations.
Last monthshared a beautiful post about hair, which prompted me to share in the comments:
My hair has always been so thick; hairdressers comment on it! And now peri-menopause, and it comes out in handfuls. Some days I’m horrified and scared! I had a lot to start with so others think it doesn’t matter. But I can see my scalp and and my hair fills the hoover and blocks the plug hole. I’m sad to lose the one part of my physical appearance that I loved, and also criticising myself for vanity!!
In that context, I am seeking your input on peri-menopausal hair loss; perhaps your personal experience, or your experience as a practitioner supporting others, your supportive remedies or food supplements.
I’d also love to know if you’re interested in a wider conversation about the thrills and spills of peri-menopause? I don’t have the capacity to hold or attend any more gatherings at the moment, but perhaps we could have the conversation in the chat?
Confession: I have deleted and reinstated this section several times! In light of what is enraging me, the devastation of the earthquake in Türkiye and Syria, the ongoing revolution in Iran and so much more, my hair hardly matters. AND, I know many of us are navigating peri-menopause and trying to function in our everyday lives alongside what is happening in the world. So I’ve decided to leave it in. If you feel that it is trivial I invite you to ignore my request; if it something that you are also experiencing and would like to explore more, I look forward to sharing with you.
I’ll pop this into our subscriber chat so that we can discuss further. You can join our chat space here:
Reflections: Transitions & Thresholds
One of my highlights from February was attending the Transitions & Thresholds Gathering.
I spent four days in Circle with 53 Rites of Passage facilitators, Circle Holders, Medicine Women, Ceremonialists, Ritual Creators, Menstrual Cycle Educators, Way of Council facilitators, Grief Tenderers, Forest School Teachers, Singers, Drummers, Doulas, Midwives, Mothers, Grandmothers, Event and Venue Facilitators, Storytellers (and so much more).
We gathered at Embercombe (in Devon, UK) and the land held us as we shared, listened, witnessed, explored, cried, questioned, laughed, danced, rested, sang, walked, ate, sipped, drummed, wrote, breathed, connected, hugged, grieved and dreamed.
I arrived knowing no-one, and left with elders to turn to, peers to collaborate with, new friends to conspire with, and a soul-deep knowing that I belong to this land and this community, and they have my heart.
In our closing Circle I spoke my commitment to continue to share the magic and medicine of Circles, and to support Circle Holders in their much needed roles in communities, institutions and organisations.
I am still in the process of integrating all that I experienced and mapping out a multitude of ideas for Circle School and The Grove.
I shared my insights, learnings, questions and ideas with members of The Grove, and my wild-heart is bursting with excitement to see what unfolds for us alongside the journey of Transitions & Thresholds.
[If you’re a member of the Grove you will find the recording in our Resource Library.]
Invitations to Listen
I had the joy and delight of being on not one, but two fabulous podcasts last month, and the episodes are live and ready to listen to.
On the Knotwork Storytelling podcast with Maris GoudyI share an old folk tale from East Anglia called The Buried Moon and Marisa and I discuss the themes and enquiries the story offers, and of course we weave in my approach to Circles.
On Wild Flow with Charlotte Pointeaux, we take a deep dive into the magic and medicine of sharing circles.
I was incredibly nervous about being a guest on both these popular podcasts (it’s been a while since I’ve been on a podcast and my peri-menopausal brain works in new ways!) but I have listened back to both episodes and I’ve read some wonderful comments from others who have listened in; I honestly think they’re worth a listen!
You can click the links above or listen wherever you listen to podcasts; and if you do, I’d love you to share your thoughts and reflections.
And if you recently found me here through Marisa’s post, thank you so much for subscribing and joining us.
Circle Resources: Meet the Soul of Your Circle
I believe that our Circles are a separate entity from us. They have their own intention and purpose.
Perhaps our role is to be in conversation with our work; to listen and then take inspired action.
Meet The Soul of Your Circle is a guided journey into the imaginal realm that I have been sharing with Circle Holders since the beginning of Circle School. This journey supports you to embrace the power of your imagination to connect with the spirit of your Circle, engage with the world and characters that are presented, receive guidance from your Circle / your own inner wisdom, and bring that back into this physical world.
You can listen directly on Insight Timer or pop in your email address here and you’ll also receive an email with my suggestions for how to get the most out of it.
Circle Practice: Opening Share
In Circle School I teach my circle methodology as a way to guide you to create your own Circles. As part of that you receive a Circle Planning Journal which includes an approach to mapping out your Circles.
In my Circles one of the essential practices is the ‘opening share’. This can take different forms but I usually recommended that the invitation to share is scaffolded by a specific prompt, and that the Circle Holder demonstrates the time and depth of the share by going first. It is an opportunity for participants to take their place in the Circle, practice using their voice and is less pressured than an open question.
Examples of prompts that can work well are:
What is most present for you in this moment?
What is your intention for this Circle?
What called you to this Circle?
What is appropriate will depend on the intention and meaningful purpose of your Circle.
Another approach that I will using at this week’s Mother & Son Circle is to invite participants to express how they are feeling by moving their body. Each participant shares a movement that reflects the emotion that is most present for them and then everyone in the Circle mirrors that movement together. I will expand on our usual guidelines and make it clear that we don’t have to mirror a movement that we don’t have the physical capacity for (I won’t be doing any cartwheels or rolling around on the ground!).
This can be a beautiful way to connect at the beginning of Circle with our hearts and our bodies, with each other and with the land or space where we are gathering.
Have you used this (or a similar practice) in your Circles? Please do share your experience.
Circle School Updates
We recently completed a live round of PRESENCE which included a beautiful new session with Guest Guide and Teacher, Atifa Ismailmiya-Balding.
Ati is an Integrative Psychotherapist Counsellor. She is also a creative mindfulness coach and meditation teacher, clinical Hypnotherapist and EFT (tapping) master therapist, an eco therapist and Vietnamese facial reflexologist and enerqi facial rejuvenation practitioner.
Ati had an emergency hysterectomy 6 years ago and entered the menopause in a shocking and debilitating way. She firmly believes that self care has saved her; she shares that self care is not a treat but our right.
Ati shared a gentle session with us, working on the powerful protocol of affirmations and boundaries to protect our sacred inner home.
If you are enrolled in PRESENCE you have access to this new session, and if you’re not and would like to find out more about this powerful immersion into the art, craft and skill of holding space for ourselves so we can hold deeper space for others, you can do so here.
This is a skills based foundational course in the ancient art of holding sharing circles for modern circle holders. I created it specifically for wellbeing practitioners, community organisers and creatives who are feeling the call to hold women’s circles as places of sanctuary and rebellion.
The course is set out as a 10-day immersion but offered on a self-led basis so that you can work through it at your own pace and fit it around your current commitments; which is what Sadie Brewin recently did and left this lovely review:
Beautiful, Inspiring Course
This has been such a wonderful journey to understand the history, concepts, principles and how circles are needed more than ever in this day and age. I've followed Mitle on Instagram for a while and thoroughly enjoyed hearing her voice throughout the course. It was so in-depth and truly fascinating. I will go over a few of the sections just to make sure I understand everything correctly and look forward to holding my first session soon... I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to hold circles to feel confident with the knowledge to successfully move forward.
We will be opening The Grove on March 20th and offering 12 membership places. If you’re interested to learn more about what The Grove is, you can find out here and join the interest list if it calls you.
Did you know that I work with Circle Holders on a one-on-one basis? I offer VIP days, voxer support, “pick my experience” sessions and weekly or monthly mentoring. You can’t find these on my website because I create an offering specifically for your, you need and your budget. If you’d like to explore working with me in this way please reach out by replying to this email or a DM on instagram and if you’d like to speak to someone who has worked with me, let me know; I have previous and current clients who are happy to share their experience.
As always, I am deeply grateful for your presence here and your companionship as we continue to honour the old ways and find new ways to be in community together.
I hope that whatever this season holds for you, you are able to tend to yourself and the communities you are part of with compassion and courage whilst receiving love and support.
With you in these (r)evolutionary times
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