The most bizarre and challenging of years taught us that our global community relies on togetherness for literal survival. In the states, most of us voted “NO” to selfishness and toxic myths like “rugged individualism.” (Sure sure, the selfish also voted, ironically enough, against their own best interest and survival, but I’d like to remain an optimist and believe that these are the violent death throes of toxic ideologies.) It was humbling to watch my community come together to care for each other and fight for justice. It was beautiful to see how my neighbors found ways to connect and care for each other- while remaining apart. And, even closer, three distinct, different power circles held me and carried me through 2020.
One circle was born well before the pandemic — a small group of fellow mothers of my son’s daycare buddies, an incredibly sweet pack of little boys that had been in the care of a very special place, one of our community’s last surviving non-profit daycare/schools. We can go days without texting, and then we can message each other 100 times in a single day about kombucha SCOBYs, kids wiping their own butts, and surviving Zoom-based kindergarten classrooms. And, it all happens with unwavering support and without judgment. The “Super Moms” have saved me more than they’ll ever know.
The second circle was created when I asked a ton of friends to do daily yoga with me. The yoga accountability group has shrunk, then grown, and changed; but ultimately, the goals to help each other be healthy, de-stress, and care for our bodies have kept us centered and grounded. And, knowing that our commitment is daily serves up a level of comfort, love, and outreach I’d never seen coming. The support is as grounding as having all four corners of my feet balanced on the mat.
One Thousand Days of Yoga*
Daily Yoga isn’t as difficult as it sounds. If you can learn anything from my experience, you might just get hooked…
And, the third circle, the one we as a group have come to call “Power Circle,” was an adventure I had signed up for as a private class in May of 2020.
The adventure started with a flier. How ordinary, to some degree, I guess? A flier, with a time limit. I had three days to decide. There was a 2–3-hour time commitment per week, plus homework. During a pandemic. While attempting to lead my kindergartner through French immersion school. It seemed both impossible and too intriguing to resist.
The invite came from a friend I’ve known since we were five. And the opportunity was born out of her best friend’s desire to be in a workshop with an author she had met and been inspired by many years ago. These two besties put together a menagerie of strong women united around creativity and writing. Some of us thought this workshop would last a month. Some thought maybe something that looks like a semester or two would be a good idea.
But, as the pandemic wore on and the drama around us unfolded, we became the scaffolding for each other, and we became a collective beacon of light to look forward to one time a week for a solid two to three hours over Zoom calls. Together we weathered many storms- checking in about each other’s loved ones as much as about each other. We’ve all shed tears together, and we’ve written so much — together and apart.
And, one night, we powerfully transformed into a group of writing doulas — helping one of our members push a piece of brilliant work out into the world. We sent it off with care, and we provided post-partum services as well. This was a natural moment for us, born out of the healing nature of our group. I haven't felt this creatively energized since I was in undergrad, more than 20 years ago. These women have become my deeply cherished friends, co-conspirators, coven, and sisters over these past 9ish months. And, some of us have yet to meet in person.
Do You Need a Power Circle?
Maybe this isn’t for you, and that’s perfectly fine. I have a few friends who need to keep their hearts tender and strong by limiting their relationships to a chosen few, 1:1 relationships. Sometimes the noise of a group isn’t worth it. That does not mean you are not part of a community. And, it doesn't mean you cannot form a group. It might just mean you need a group that has some ground rules around communication and goals.
Do You Want to Create a Power Circle?
Keep it simple, or go deep, it’s up to you, but having a power circle now, more than ever is one of the most valuable gems to have in your personal toolkit. You do not need to be an extrovert. (In fact, one thing I love about my power circle is the mutual respect for energetic needs.)
The best way to cultivate a friend group is around a common goal that is rooted in health and healing. My moms’ group is all about raising our boys to be good people. My goal to be a generational cycle breaker is supported by them. My yoga group- well, duh!
And, the Power Circle Writing Doulas? We are so energetically aligned to heal through creativity that it feels like magic. I can’t promise you that, but I can tell you what made it unsurprising was that we have regularly checked in about our goals, needs, expectations, and we openly and honestly share what works for us. We are not afraid to be tender, intimate, and vulnerable. And, ultimately, that is the best way to be strong and to have beautiful relationships. Accept nothing less.
- Reach out to 10 friends and ask them to do something like yoga or Qi Gong with you.
- Reach out to everyone you know that would like to do something for the common good (like help nonprofits, stock food pantries, help animals…)
- Who’s energy do you feel good from? Do not reach out to anyone (even/especially best/old friends and family) that make you feel drained, tend to take more than they give, or serve up judgment or snark about your success and happiness. Any old, buried, hurt feelings could threaten your group as well as keep you from the vulnerability you get the most from.
- Think about everyone you’ve spoken to about a new career goal and think about why you discussed it with them. Do you have this in common? Is there a common interest to form a group around?
- Who have you been missing?
- Who inspires you?
- You could also just go join a class or a group. Put the word out that you are looking. People who know and love you are the best people to recommend something for you.
The most effective and skillful group therapy I experienced was billed as a class called “Mental Clutter Clearing: Feng Shui for Your Mind.” A friend gave me a gift certificate for it for my birthday. My initial response was cynical and dismissive, but I’m so glad I shelved that judgment and took a risk to enjoy it instead. I have a friend who started a group around the concept of abundance thinking. She messaged 50 people she admires, enjoys, and/or wants to connect with more regularly. (About half were on board.) Since then, the group has transformed into a meditation group.
How have your circles helped you through all of this madness? And, what do you call them? Are you going to create one?