Author: by Ryszka Nóra
More and more, we feel the need to join women’s circles, mothers’ circles or to start a mothers’ group. For those who feel the call, the following good advice and best practices will help.
Annamária Szórád, social pedagogue, coach, trained story therapist and board member of MotherNature – Mother Nature Association, Mother Nature one of the facilitators of the Mother Nature Mother Circles. Our last conversation about mother circles on the role inspired and fleshed out this list, which can serve as a guide for any woman planning (or already leading) a circle.
Annamária Szórád, one of the leaders of the MoNa mother groups
Annamari, for someone who hasn’t started a cycle yet but really wants to, what advice would you give? What is step zero?
“Let’s take the initiative and hear the call. Grassroots initiatives are as important as large movements in building communities. Everything starts with small steps. It’s not a sealed diploma that makes you a leader of a women’s circle, it’s a learning – development process. I From I was taught how to lead a circle, this 1 year was also a very intense inner work. A wonderful, transformative time. I would recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone who takes this path.”
In 15 points, we have summarised what we consider to be the most important content and formal framework for creating circles:
- Define the purpose of the circle.
Make it clear whether you want to create an informal community, a learning circle, or a task group.
- Let’s clarify the framework for the meeting.
This includes duration, regularity and location.
Agree on whether the circle is open or closed, whether anyone is free to join or whether it is by invitation only.
- Let there be fixed dates.
Finding times that suit everyone is not easy, but it’s easier to adjust if you know in advance when you’ll meet. Visit MotherNature mother circles for example, are held every two weeks on Tuesday mornings, always at the same time.
- Let there be order and rhythm to the meeting.
The rhythm of the circle helps us to arrive, be present and have the opportunity to say goodbye. For example, there can be an opening circle, a sharing circle and a closing circle – where everyone has a chance to express themselves.
The opening circle is for everyone to say what they have come with. The sharing circle is a space for opening up the current topic. And the closing circle is not just a goodbye, it’s also an opportunity to say goodbye and to know where we go from here.
- Choose the right location.
We can meet live or online, and even in an open space.
- Let’s be flexible.
Keep in mind the needs of participants, including “storm signals”. Sometimes the situation calls for simply being together or venting, talking freely. Allow space for this.
- Let us listen to each other with open hearts and ears.
Let us be curious about each other’s stories. Everyone can share their joys and sorrows here, because there is a place for that too.
- All the feelings that arise are legitimate.
We do not doubt each other’s feelings.
- You can either pass or say I can’t answer that now.
It’s okay if someone doesn’t want to share their feelings or thoughts. Let’s respect that.
- Let’s talk about our own experiences.
We share what was difficult for us, what we felt, what helped us to cope. Give advice when someone specifically asks for it.
- Non-judgement, acceptance, seeking understanding.
These values are the building blocks for creating a safe and accepting circle.
We don’t judge each other, we don’t attach labels.
- Everyone is equal in the circle.
It doesn’t matter who comes with what, there is value in everyone, everyone can add something to the circle and make it whole.
- Trust and confidentiality.
In order to deepen our sharing and to know that we can say anything, it is important to keep what is said in the circle confidential.
- Be aware of the limits of your competence.
The Circle can help a lot, but it is important to recognise when external help and professional assistance is needed.
- Let’s not just look after others, but ourselves too.
Let’s not forget that here, as in all our interpersonal relationships, we are “working” with our personalities, so self-awareness, self-reflection and, if necessary, supervision are particularly important for circle leaders. So we should also look after ourselves while looking after our circles.
Featured image: ibadah Mimpi