A circle of horses around a water trough with a tree in the centre

This month’s blog is an interview with one of our wonderful Women’s Wellness Circles’ hosts, Tricia Rudy, who is hosting just outside of London, Ontario.

1) How did you find out about Women’s Wellness Circles?

I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook timeline about an upcoming Women’s Wellness Circle in my area. The event and guest speaker sounded interesting, so I thought I would check it out. I had been missing community gatherings, which took me out of my regular circle of family, work colleagues, and friends.  I felt it would be a great way to meet new people, learn new things, and stretch my imagination.

2) What was your first and subsequent experiences like, as an attendee?

The Women’s Wellness Circle I attended was in Uxbridge; and while it was small, they were a loyal group of women. As well, new people would join in each month. I always found the speakers interesting and the women warm and friendly.  I also enjoyed the social time at the end and being part of clean up, too. Perhaps this was an early indication that I was meant to host Circle myself?

3) What motivated you to want to host your own Circle?

Eventually I moved three hours away from my previous farm. When I found out there was no Women’s Wellness Circle near my new address, I decided to take the training to become a host. I thought it would be a good way to meet new people, make friends, and offer my farm as a ‘COVID safe’ way for women to get out of the house and take a break from their daily routines.

4) What has been your experience so far, hosting Circle?

So far, I’ve only hosted in-person Circles as I am able to do that due to the fact that we have an “outdoor” setting in the riding arena. Each month our gatherings grow in numbers, and most who come once have come back. They comment on how nice it is to get out and to spend time around the horses and with people outside of their “bubble”.  We even did a Campfire Circle in December. Ten of us bundled up and braved the cold to drink hot cider around the fire and talk about miracles. It was so special!

5) What’s it like finding guest speakers?

Finding guest speakers to come to our group has been easy. They have a range of expertise to share and a keen willingness to help me grow Circle.  Many of the women initially attended, because they were friends of one of the speakers. However, they keep returning because they enjoy it so much.

6) Why do you think this type of gathering is useful/needed in communities?

We live in a world where people venture away from the community they grew up in for many reasons, and they leave family and friends behind.  We’ve forgotten how important it is not only for women but for society to build strong connections within a community. We all need the support and sharing of knowledge and the experiences of others, and we all need to know that we are not alone.  This has been especially true during the last two years dealing with the pandemic, during which the loneliness, stress and anxiety levels have grown exponentially.  Humans need connection.

Women’s Wellness Circles offer a space to connect in a way that is non-partisan, non-religious, non-denominational, culturally diverse and welcoming to women of all ages, experiences, and backgrounds. When we take part in this type of community connection, we become stronger than the sum of our parts!

7) Anything else you’d like to add…

Since I moved to this farm in June of 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, I have been humbled by the incredible women who have found their way down my laneway. They share my dream of building a sanctuary, filled with compassion, acceptance, empathy, abundance, and support for any weary traveller who needs a place to relax, to recharge and to be inspired. Getting to hang out with my incredible horses is an added bonus! Women’s Wellness Circle is an integral piece of this bigger picture. It is a perfect example of the many blessings received when we are in the presence of, and service of, others.

I spoke to Jill Hewlett, founder and mentor of the Women’s Wellness Circles.  She agreed that the way the world is evolving, it is important to ensure Circle can be available to all. So, my next month’s gathering is going to be the first ever hybrid WWC.

Our speaker will be here on the farm, along with anyone else who wishes to attend in person. Simultaneously, women will be able to join via ZOOM from the comfort of their own homes, if they prefer.  We will have a dedicated monitor watching the ZOOM meeting to make sure everyone has a chance to participate and feel connected to the Circle, whether they are attending in person or remotely. Can’t wait for another unique and memorable Circle experience.

I’m grateful to be part of this expanding journey that is connecting us all!

Tricia Rudy

Certified FEEL Facilitator

www.harmonywithhorses.ca

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