The Circle of Life is precious:

Full of transitions, movement, and character development as our roles vary and change with the ebb and flow of circumstances, needs, and family growth.

I’m experiencing this right now as I am blessed to have become a first-time grandmother: “aka, Gramma”.

My grandson is 7 weeks old. Leading up to his entry into the world, I had been imagining what my new role would look like.

When I think back at the special part my own grandmother played in my life, I now realize she was the Matriarch in our home. She was always full of loving support:  gentle, yet strong.

I realize now her impact on me and that I carry her virtues and spirit within me. I can lean into this wisdom, as I take on the role of grandmother to my first grandchild.

From the moment I laid eyes on him, I was in awe as I witnessed the beauty and perfection of life in this sweet child.

My heart swells, my eyes fill with tears as I look into his beautiful eyes, full of wonder and innocence yet — soulful intelligence. He has much to teach us!

I also watch silently, in awe and pride, as my own daughter comes to the realization that she has all of the knowledge she needs built into her own psyche to blossom in her new role as mother to her newborn child.

As well, the relationship between my daughter and me has deepened even more as we grow together and combine old and new experiences and ideals to give this child the most solid foundation that we can offer as a family unit.

The beauty of the Circle of Life is indeed blooming as I witness my own daughter take on her role as mother.

My daughter recently asked me how I felt being called Gramma?

I answered her declaring, “I was meant for this role!” It is a gift and honour to do my best to give everything I have to offer and to be a role model in his life. I will tell him of all the positive changes I have witnessed in the world; I will share the best advice anyone has ever given me; and I will speak my brightest hopes for the future.

I have been blessed by many incredible examples of outstanding women in my life, who have inspired me in so many ways through different transitions like becoming a first-time Gramma.

Grandmothers of today are full of vitality and energy, with a deep sense of knowledge to enlighten our future generations!

This child has been born into our family for a reason. The immediate connection is obvious. We will learn many things from each other. I will love, guide, and support my daughter, as a new mother, and my grandson in his life, as best I can.

Becoming a Gramma has gifted me a new purpose, full of self-fulfillment, and opportunity for personal growth. I’ll do what I can to keep a sense of childlike wonder, to look at life through fresh eyes, and to be willing to explore and witness all the precious ‘firsts’ in my grandchild’s life.

Most of all, I am reminded of all the beauty and unconditional love that is around us and is always in great supply for the taking — when we take off our blinders and shift into the present moment.

This is echoed as people stop us in the street to catch just a glimpse of the miracle of a newborn child. It soothes the soul and connects us to our humanity.

Another important delight:  being a Gramma, has given me the gift of enjoying the circle of women of all ages, coming forward to congratulate, support, smile and share knowledge they have received during their lifetime.

I was even celebrated my new role with a “Gramma Tea”, organized by many women whom I greatly respect. This was like a small Women’s Wellness Circle.

In a world where chaos can easily find us, there is a “calm and peace” when a grandmother finds another aspect of herself and her purpose as she holds her grandchild. I am starting to realize that becoming a Gramma may be one of my most important roles.

We live in a generation where we understand that the health and support of our children and our children’s children, provides an incredible foundation for them.

I promise to be part of building that foundation:  to hold his hand, to smile and to laugh at the silly things, to hug him as much as I can, to give advice when asked, and to help him to cultivate his imagination and presence in the world.

The gift of life is such a miracle, and we so graciously witness it over and over again through the birth of our future generations.

Indeed, the Circle of Life is precious.


With love and gratitude,

Debbie Armstrong  (aka Gramma)


I’m an amazing cook.  Unless it’s rice.  I can mess up rice even in a rice cooker.  But that’s another story.  Even as I say that I’m an amazing cook, I start to doubt – am I actually? What makes me think that?  I’ve really had some colossal flops – minced turkey loaf with gelatin on top.  I was “entertaining”.  My meal certainly was “entertaining”, LOL!  We ordered pizza that night.  🙁

So, who am I to say I’m an amazing cook?  Well, honestly, for me, it comes down to “Joy”!  I simply love handling and preparing fresh, yummy food.  I love the colours.  I love the textures.  The bumpy yellow and green squashes and the smooth dark purple eggplant skins.  I love the aromas.  The simmering pot of chili as you walk in the door.  The scent of garlic you can’t get off your fingertips. I love the complexity of flavours melding together in perfect harmony on your tongue!  The subtle or striking influence of spices!  When I cook, time disappears.

But I confess.  I’m a cook who, almost every time, pulls out a recipe.  I know of others (‘am in awe of them, in fact) who whip up things from scratch.  Who can pull off an amazing beef bourguignon without batting an eyelash – or cracking a cookbook.   That’s not me.

Accordingly, this morning, I was set to make a beef stew.  It’s raining, fall is approaching, and it seemed like just the right time.  I grabbed my laptop and Googled “beef stew recipe”.  My mind darted to that person who flawlessly would do it without the recipe.  I’ve made beef stew like, I don’t know, fifty times?  So why, I thought to myself, do I need a recipe for this?  I know what goes in!

I sat with that thought — and I realized why.  I go poking for a recipe — every time.  Because I like to be INSPIRED.  I like to read a recipe and think “Oh, hey, I hadn’t thought of THAT!”  I like to see the picture.  It connects me to the dish I’m about to make.  As well, I like when someone throws in a new trick, or a new ingredient, or a new way of cooking something!

Then all of those thoughts made me think of the Women’s Wellness Circle which we’re launching in Georgina next week.  And how it comes, pardon the pun, full circle.

When Jill reached out to offer me an opportunity to host Circle, I leapt at the chance!  The Women’s Wellness Circles attract me, because they are a great opportunity to be inspired.  To learn new ways.  To consider something you haven’t considered previously.   And to connect and share with amazing women, both the facilitators, the presenters, and the Circle of women themselves. Women’s Wellness Circle has, simply, all the ingredients!

It’s like trying a new recipe for health and happiness every month.

How appetizing does THAT sound?

I hope you’ll come out to attend a Circle near you to get a taste (yes, pun intended again!).

I think you’ll find it magically delicious!

By the way, so was my stew!


Lauren Helmkay

WWC Host Sutton/Keswick

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.


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!


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