Creating A Different Kind Of Church
“This is my kind of church.”
That’s how one participant described the lunar women’s circles I started hosting recently.
Indeed, we took our church to the top of a mountain in Bethel Sunday night under the full moonlight. Ten women of different ages, religions, backgrounds and experiences sat together in a circle. We shared our struggles and our accomplishments, we focused on our breathing and I walked the group through a slow flow yoga session.
Afterward, I passed around a pouch of folded up pieces of paper that all contained a different journaling prompt. I had picked each one specifically to get these women to focus on what they are grateful for, what they love about themselves, how they have grown and what they have to look forward to in their lives.
I could tell by the look on some of their faces that whatever they had pulled from the pouch had hit a nerve. Forcing ourselves to write down nice things about ourselves can be a difficult task when our brains are constantly focusing on our flaws and shortcomings. It can feel awkward and untrue. It can bring up uncomfortable feelings.
But once we go around the circle and share our thoughts with one another, we can see we’re not alone. In fact, many of us are struggling with the same challenges in life — trying to manage our self-doubt, anxiety, depression, isolation and traumas while also worrying about finances, careers, families and personal goals.
Putting words to our pain is freeing and gives us a chance to be seen, understood and validated. Celebrating our wins together — however small they may seem — helps us stay motivated to keep going even when things seem hopeless. Being in this kind of circle helps create a sisterhood for women who might not have ever experienced such a close knit community before.
This is the kind of space I’ve wanted to create for women and I had my own self-doubt about doing it. Would people think it’s stupid? Would anyone want to come? Would it feel cheesy and too woo-woo for women to get into? But I decided to put it out there to the universe anyway and I was amazed at how many of my friends jumped on board.
Having an idea in your head of how a goal will play out and then having it manifest into something even better than you could have imagined is a pretty magical moment. This month’s new moon was heavy with emotions and internal obstacles for our circle of women, but their willingness to show up for something new, reflect on their lives and share their struggles with each other was truly inspiring.
As the sun set behind the clouds at Gaia Arise Farm, turning the sky a beautiful pinkish purple, we wrapped up the circle and shared a picnic meal and libations in the moonlight.
I couldn’t help but smile all the way home feeling fulfilled and pleased in what we had just created together. A church, a sisterhood, a sanctuary — whatever you want to call it, it was beautiful and I invite you to join us next time.