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March 9, 2019

The Power of Female Friendships: how we can Support Instead of Tear each other Down.

Eight of us go down to the beach, blankets and yoga mats in hand.

We cross under street lamps and a bridge occupied by a dozen tabby cats. 

Arriving to a foggy pier, we lay out our mats in a circle. We adorn the center with tea lights, sage, a tarot deck, and crystals. Fifty feet away from our circle, a green light illuminates the area. The largest full moon of the year is somewhere in these clouds, but for now we only have this blinking green light at the end of the pier. 

Tonight in Fukuoka, Japan, we are having our first full moon women’s circle on tour. 

Growing up, I was never a sorority girl. I was rarely a ladies’ night out kind of girl, either. I had a few ride-or-die women in my life, but other than that, most of my friends were guys. 

Sitting in a circle full of women never felt like a warm touch to me. Since I was a teenager, I’d learned that opening myself up to a group of women would end in an inevitable backlash. I’m a sensitive person, and I knew when I wasn’t welcome or accepted. So, other than my core group of girlfriends and my husband, I’ve remained pretty guarded from groups of women to this day. 

But I thought this moon circle would be a good opportunity to step out of the known. Because I’ve healed enough. Because I’ve read Women Who Run with the Wolves and Rise Sister Rise and practiced enough Kundalini to know there is power in the divine feminine. And because what better time to open myself up than now?

I’m so glad I did. 

It triggered something positive in me. A connection. A sense of grounding and community around a group of women I’d never felt before. 

So how come this women’s circle transformed my perception of women’s empowerment more than every other time?

Sure, it was the premise of healing and deep diving through the full moon energy, but it was also the idea of support. Without the crystals, candles, and other beautiful tools, it was a circle about trust and support. 

Why don’t we support each other as women in our regular lives? Every day can be a sacred space just like a full moon circle. We have the tools.

Here are a few ways to reverse the bad habits we’ve learned to tear each other down as women:

Stop gossiping.
In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali talks about ahimsa, or non-harming. And gossiping is a form of harm. It divides us and takes away from another innocent person who isn’t there to defend themselves. What we say has value, but people say pointless things all the time! If we don’t mean something, we shouldn’t say it. 

If we find ourselves gossiping, or bringing up situations that have nothing to do with us, we should pause and be aware. I try to ask myself if what I’m saying is going to contribute or take away from this person. And does it have meaning to me? Why am I saying it? 

Check in.
Old habits are hard to break. When another woman gets attention that I feel I deserve, my immediate reaction isn’t always supportive. As hard as it is to admit, I still get a twitch of jealously and inferiority every once in a while. What about me? Do I lose value now that they are doing well? 

Ego always wants to tell us that someone else is taking from us. But this is a lie. We have to step back and check in. Take a deep breath and acknowledge jealousy. Now how can I replace this with love? If we are the same, I would give myself love. So I can be happy for this woman. We are the same.

Consistency.
We all have a teenager self somewhere inside. A moody inner self that perks up when someone can benefit us—and who grows cold when that same person has no value to us. Other people are not here to convenience us. We cannot decide on a whim to be kind or cruel. If you want to destroy trust, try being reckless with other people. Try pulling their strings too many times. It’s unfair. So we need to be consistent. 

Stop excluding other women. Glennon Doyle says that we should stand in a horseshoe shape rather than a circle. This leaves room for someone new to join the group. It’s important to have a core group of friends, but I think it’s even more important to make women’s circles accessible. Real love and support does not discriminate. There is not room for snobbishness. If another woman is struggling, reach out. If someone is hurting, say something. Invite them in. 

Connection.
After watching “Heal,” the documentary on Netflix, I learned that we are all energetically connected. So not only are we all the same, but we are all scientifically connected. So when I allow myself to digest that I am supported fully and completely, it heals me. The more people I can count on and give my support to, the more I heal.

I am connected energetically to everything. What kind of relationship do I want to build? One that stems from closed-heartedness and mistrust, or one that can grow? We need to support each other. 

~

We collect our things and stroll from the full moon circle back under the street lamps and into regular life. 

What happens now? I leave knowing that I am supported by the people in our community. But from here on out, it takes effort. Without the ideal circumstances of a full moon circle, it takes making a choice to support the women in our lives.

It’s so easy to feed into old habits. So we have to do the work on a daily basis.

If you’re someone who is still cautious about opening up to something like a full moon circle, be brave and try something new. It can set precedent for how to carry each other in our regular lives.

Women’s empowerment is more than a trend—our well-being and our world depend on it.

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author: Jacqueline Hathaway Levin

Image: Author's Own

Editor: Kelsey Michal