Twenty years ago, a good friend invited me to attend a women’s gathering with her.  I happily accepted the offer and was looking forward to joining her.  When we arrived however, a rather unsettling situation transpired…

Unbeknownst to my friend, it was a ‘closed group’. If anyone wanted to bring a friend, they had to run it by the main organizers ahead of time.  Without a lot of details, I can tell you that my friend wasn’t aware of this requirement and was consequently shocked and very apologetic.

Personally, I felt quite uncomfortable immediately feeling unwelcomed, especially when I had been looking forward so much to attending.

After some discussion between the organizers… while I waited… I was ‘allowed to stay’.   In fact, at the end of the evening, I was invited to attend future gatherings as well. I guess I passed the test!

Although I felt awkward and had a hard time truly settling into the experience, I made the most of the evening.  However, needless to say, I never did return.

The experience felt odd— like a high school clique was deciding on whether or not another student could be part of their posse.  Also, their rules and their management of this unique situation didn’t feel like it matched the ultimate mission of what my friend thought this group was about:  to empower and support women.

GIFT OF CONTRAST

Uncomfortable situations like this can be wonderful learning and clarifying opportunities for us to better understand who we are and how we personally want to show up and manage ourselves in the world.

Do you have an example from your own life?  I’m sure you do.

Interestingly enough, I later heard a saying, “When everyone is invited, no one is invited.”

What does that mean?  From my understanding, it speaks to the point that if an event is open to whomever would like to attend, then it is not actually ‘invitationally based’.  The event also can’t genuinely cater in a special way to those who attend it.

This statement created an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me — especially after having had the interesting experience with my friend that I shared above. It made me realize that having parameters on an event and who it is for, is not only okay; it’s important if we want to activate a certain amount of energy and focus.

Nonetheless, parameters should be clear to everyone, right from the get-go.  In addition, they certainly should not be thrown around at the last minute, when a guest has just arrived at the door.

This combined awareness led me to a strong and clear inner knowing that if/when I was to start any kind of wellness group, I would make sure that everyone felt warmly welcomed.  Any necessary or defining parameters on whom the event was for would make sense and be clear to everyone well ahead of time.

When I first started Women’s Wellness Circles, I made it straightforward and inclusive, with only two simple and easy criteria that continue today:  it’s open to women who are 18 years of age and older.

Because of this, the first Women’s Wellness Circle that began in my hometown 16 years ago has grown in popularity.  As well, I have since mentored the training and launch of numerous other locations in Ontario, and more across Canada are coming soon.

Of course, there are other aspects to the format and structure that make Women’s Wellness Circles work so well.  The important ones are the valuable wellness information that is shared, the community spirit that is felt, the affordability, accessibility and monthly consistency.  The most important aspect is the fact that it draws amazing women!

The hosts, presenters, and attendees are heartfelt and wellness-oriented women who are down-to-earth, kind, and respectful.  The energy and experience we co-create is incredible!

DOES THIS SPEAK TO YOU?

Since there are so many monthly Women’s Wellness Circles running in various locations, we continue to achieve and surpass our goal. This is a very rewarding and fulfilling endeavour.

If you are interested, I run seasonal trainings for new hosts who want to join in our mission to uplift and nourish the world, one Circle gathering at a time.

If you think this may be an initiative that you would like to be part of, I would be happy to chat!

Circles of Inclusivity and Expansion,

Jill Hewlett

Founder & Mentor
Women’s Wellness Circles

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