“The cards are almost…magical,” she said. “Choose them with care and return them with care.”
I huddled around the flames and chose my card oh-so-carefully along with the 20-or-so other women who shared this space with me.
I had been feeling so great and uplifted this week and was excited to turn my card over and find what was sure to be a bright, love-filled reflection of me.
I returned to my seat and turned my card over.
It read: Despondence.
My heart sank. Just like it sank a month before when I miscarried for the third time. Just like it sank when we moved and I found myself uprooted, without community, and not knowing where to start.
This was okay, this private acknowledgment of my despondence. We all hold our pain carefully like a new born and shelter it from the outside world.
The fear was not rooted in having pain. The fear was in the world knowing.
The fear is having to tell the world I am hurting. I am needing. I am human.
So I held my breath until it was my turn to share my card and my insights with that room full of strange women who somehow already felt like sisters.
And then I let it all go. The fear. The shaking voice. The truth.
She was right. The cards are magical.
And so was my experience at that first fire circle at White Peacock Yoga, a tiny gem of a studio you might miss if you’re not looking for it.
The whole evening attuned my sense of sacred: the sharing, the chanting, the dancing, and mostly soaking it all in with a group of women that represented every stage of life I’ve ever been through and every stage of life I’ll ever be in. There was even a baby girl, probably 6 months old, who was completely enchanted with the fire, the music, the movement.
I listened to other women’s stories with empathy, not sympathy. Their stories were my stories. Their hearts were as full and as empty, as whole and as broken, and just as perfectly human as mine. They were hearts that thumped with fire and fear and passion and pain.
It didn’t matter that we had just met or looked or acted or lived differently from each other. At the fire we created a space of acceptance, of listening and of freedom.
I felt the presence of all the sisters in my life: the friends I’ve lost and the friends I’ve gained. The mothers I’ve had in all their forms.
And lastly, lying on my back, cushioned by the breath of the other women and spellbound by the singing bowls soothing my mind, I felt the spirit of my great-grandmother, 97 years old and breathing her last breaths miles away.
She was there, imparting to me her earthy wisdom, her intuition, her life story, her strength.
The fire circle wasn’t so much transformational as it was ripe with revelations, revealing to me my own truth, my own fear, my own beauty, and my own fire. That fire of mine is sometimes a flicker and sometimes a flame, but always burning and fueling the wild in me, the woman in me and the human in me.
The fire circle invited me to speak my truth without shame and listen to other people’s truths without judgement.
Now I wonder what would happen if we did that with everyone we met going forward.
Spoke our truth without shame and listened to their truth without judgement.
After getting over the discomfort of stretching our hearts a little wider, I believe it would allow us to feel a little more at home in our bodies, in our relationships, and in this circle of life we joined at birth.
Author: Monique Minahan
Apprentice Editor: Jessica Chardoulias/ Editor: Renee PIcard
Photo: Heather Shapiro Flickr