Saturday, December 2, 2023

The Women’s Circle: An Oasis Of Calm In The Whirlwind Of Life?

The Women’s Circle is a monthly space where women come to share their stories, inspire each other, learn and connect. And it is held right in the heart of Belper.

The only gathering of it’s kind locally, the Circle was founded by Cherry Anderson, who saw a need for such a group; “We are in uncertain times in terms of politics, climate change and our global economic and social systems. For me, reconnecting with others in our community is essential to help us build the foundations of a more resilient society of the future. It is uplifting to share our journeys through life – the women who come to the Circle inspire me hugely and give me the motivation to keep going.”

Attendees volunteer to take it in turns to initiate a discussion, demonstrate a skill or lead an activity. A few of the themes covered to date are: gratitude, mindfulness, qigong, the female cycle, story-telling, gender stereotyping, sexism and communication.

Sitting in a circle means there is no hierarchy and echoes the ancient ceremonies of our ancestors. By using a talking object (a feather) passed from person to person allowing only the bearer to speak, the group practices deep listening: everyone is given space to find their voice, even the quieter ones.

As one regular participant says: “Women’s Circle for me is: a calm space where I feel brave enough to let myself be seen, a safe space to explore my creativity and a chance to experience connection with others and benefit from shared experiences.”

How did it come about?

The idea to start a women’s group came to Cherry whilst travelling back from a retreat in Scotland in January 2016. She knew she had to keep alive the glow she’d felt connecting with the community she had been a temporary part of, over progressive ideas about living sustainably, wellbeing, social economics, nutrition, community projects etc.

Initially, on searching for groups in her home area, she found them to be orientated around motherhood, religion, sport, or traditional past-times – none of which aligned with her personal beliefs or life choices. Her internet search, however, lead her to Inner Transition, the wellbeing arm of Transition Belper, headed up by Clair Michna. Clair supported Cherry to develop her idea, and with approval from the core Transition group, the Women’s Circle was brought into being.

It became clear to Cherry after the very first meeting, that the women in her community needed the Circle just as much as she did. One lady, now a regular at the Circle, comments:

“I was delighted when Cherry started the women’s circle. It’s a supportive and sharing group that helps you feel loved and cared for. The women are so resourceful, creative and compassionate. I always feel better as soon as I’ve sat down and taken a few breaths and been welcomed by the circle.“

So if you’re looking for an oasis of calm in your hectic daily life and want to feel inspired, uplifted and connected, or simply take a step back for an hour and a half, the Women’s Circle may be just what you are looking for.

The group is open, so new women are warmly welcomed.

Current meetings: First Wednesday of every month at 19.30 to 21.00 at the Old School House, Chapel Street, Belper DE56 1AR.

Next meeting: Wednesday 1st March – ‘Be the Change You Wish to See in the World’. Read more here.

Please email or call Cherry on 07903 370322 if you would like to attend, hear about future sessions or discuss the possibility of alternative days/times. You can follow Inner Transition on Facebook here.

Claire Meese


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