A field of sunflowers

Over the years, I’ve seen pictures and postcards displaying fields of radiant Sunflowers. Often, I have imagined how fun it would be, and how wonderful it would feel, to actually immerse myself in their solar-fueled energy and presence.

Well, I finally did it, and it was a powerful experience in more ways than I would have expected!

This trip was part of a special Birthday excursion that my daughter had planned for me. Being a Leo, my Zodiac flower is the Sunflower; so, it was especially fitting. ‘Not to mention, just like a sunflower, I often turn towards the sunshine as I enjoy the warmth and brightness it exudes.

Our intention was to head out first thing in the morning and make it a day trip, as the farm was located two hours north of our city.

When we awoke that morning, it was raining quite heavily, and the sky didn’t look like it was going to clear up any time soon.  So, we waited until noon to see if it would change. And it did! By then, the sun was shining brightly, and the ground was starting to dry up.

In the early afternoon, we ventured out on our road trip.  However, just as we were halfway there the sky turned grey, and it began to pour rain again. Since we had already made it that far, we decided to keep going and maintain the faith that it would clear up again.

Just as we arrived at the farm the gate was only partially open, and the sign said ‘Closed’. Not only did it rain there, it had also hailed – big pellets of icy rain – and there were still lots to be seen on the ground. Since the extreme weather conditions had taken a toll on the Sunflowers, they were closing up for the day.

Thankfully, a few of us had just arrived at the same time. So, the staff said that if we didn’t mind the impact the weather had on the farm, then we could go in and have the place to ourselves. Of course, we said ‘Yes’! I’m so happy we did, as what transpired was nothing less than a Birthday blessing curated by Mother Nature herself.

Simultaneously, as we walked over to the field, the grey clouds parted, a blue sky appeared, and the sun began to shine brightly. It felt like a completely new day—all over again!

As we neared the Sunflowers, it was visibly apparent that they had ‘weathered’ some stormy conditions. They were quite droopy, and many had their top petals distorted or removed. These were not the kind of flowers anyone would be gifting in a bouquet or displaying on a table.

What was interesting, however, was looking at the wholeness of the field of Sunflowers, those issues were barely noticeable! Instead, what was apparent was a ‘Yellow Beauty’ that shone right through and a collective sense of community, resiliency, and power.

This story carries wonderful messages that are reflected in our Women’s Wellness Circles.  I’d like to share some of them with you:

  • THE SUM IS GREATER THAN ITS PARTS: Individually, we all experience our ups and downs in life; it’s a natural part of the journey. On our own, it can be a lot to handle and can take its toll. However, when we come together and join other women in Circle, the whole becomes much stronger than the individual parts. As well, just like those Sunflowers on this stormy day, those messy or droopy parts of ourselves are no longer noticeable. The reason is thanks to the power of community, we are strengthened and uplifted.
  • TRUSTING THE PROCESS: During the warmer months, various Circle locations will hold their gatherings outdoors. This is something I’ve been doing for almost two decades, and it amazes me how much Mother Nature conspires to support this. On those times that rain or even hail falls from the sky, it tends to happen just before or right after our Circle gathering. Numerous times we thought we’d need to cancel and then voila, just like magic — the clouds part and the sun shines through — just like our Sunflower farm trip.
  • SUSTENANCE IN VARIOUS FORMS: Circle is nourishment in a variety of ways — through the women we meet, the inspiration and learning from the topic and presenter, and of course, the host who creates the space for Circle to unfold. Sunflowers also serve a range of purposes, such as wonderful medicinal properties or as pigment for textile dye and body paint. Sunflower oil is used for internal and external uses, and the stalks were once dried for building materials. They’re also a food source for humans, animals, and plant life. Sunflower seeds are a tasty snack you’ve probably enjoyed.

So where do you experience the power, upliftment, and countless benefits of community in your life? If you have that kind of support, that’s wonderful. If you are looking for it, then consider joining one of our Women’s Wellness Circles or perhaps start one in your community. I’d be happy to chat about it!

Circles of Community Spirit,

Founder & Mentor Women’s Wellness Circles


Mandala circle

Over the past year, I’ve had the joy of rediscovering a part of myself that I had tucked away amidst the hustle and bustle of life – my creativity.

As a woman juggling numerous roles, dedicating time to just create for the sheer joy of it often felt indulgent. However, I’ve come to realize that nurturing this creative space is not only grounding but also profoundly healing and empowering. This is much like our Women’s Wellness Circles, which have also been an uplifting sanctuary for me.

As I explored this newfound creative outlet, I stumbled upon the captivating world of mandalas. Derived from the ancient Sanskrit word meaning “circle,” mandalas have been used for centuries in diverse cultures as a tool for meditation, self-expression, and spiritual growth. These intricate, circular patterns hold a mesmerizing allure, beckoning individuals to embark on an inward journey of self-discovery and harmony. While my experience with mandalas has just begun, I quickly recognized that these circular artworks embody the very essence and principles that guide and nurture the women who come together within the sacred space of our Women’s Wellness Circles.

At the core of a mandala’s symbolism lies the concept of wholeness and unity, representing the interconnectedness of all life and the cyclical nature of existence. Similarly, Women’s Wellness Circles commence with individual women coming together from various backgrounds and daily life experiences to form a cohesive and supportive community. Embracing all aspects of themselves, their light and shadow, their strengths and vulnerabilities, participants are encouraged to cultivate self-acceptance and self-love.

As I lose myself in the soothing process of creating mandalas, I find it to be a profound path toward self-integration. Each intricate pattern I draw, and color I use, become a reflection of different facets of my personality, emotions, and experiences. The harmonious unity within the mandala mirrors the journey toward wholeness that I am exploring within myself.

This practice offers me a sense of grounding and centeredness, much like the delicate balance represented by the mandala’s symmetrical design. I wonder, how can I extend this newfound equilibrium into other areas of my life, allowing me to navigate life’s ups and downs with greater insight, resilience, and composure?

What strikes me the most is the boundless scope for creativity that mandalas present. Just as Women’s Wellness Circles celebrate and nurture creativity in all its forms, the creation of a mandala becomes a gateway for self-expression. Liberated from the fear of judgment or limitations, I can freely and authentically manifest my inner thoughts and emotions on paper.

Intriguingly, the interconnected elements and repeating patterns found in mandalas reflect the unity and interdependence that exists among all living beings. This sense of interconnectedness becomes palpable in Women’s Wellness Circles as we share our stories, struggles, and triumphs. As each woman contributes her brush strokes to the collective mandala, it symbolizes her role within the larger community. Together, we become a vibrant and supportive circle, fostering deep connections and lasting bonds that transcend the circle’s gatherings.

Our Women’s Wellness Circles, like the mandala, are a living representation of unity, strength, and resilience. They embody the empowering symbolism of mandalas, inspiring each woman to embark on her own unique journey of wellness, self-love, and personal growth. As I embrace the sacred art of mandalas, I find myself etching my stories, hopes, and dreams onto the canvas of my life, much like our Women’s Wellness Circles have etched an indelible mark on my heart.

So, I encourage you to take a moment for yourself. Grab some colored pencils, play with a mandala, and allow the meditative process of creating a mandala to guide you on a journey of self-discovery. As you draw and color, contemplate the different facets of your personality, emotions, and experiences that are mirrored in the mandala’s harmonious unity. Embrace the grounding and centeredness that the process brings and consider how you can extend this balance into other aspects of your life.

Let the mandala become a gateway for your self-expression, unlocking your hidden talents and passions. Embrace your creativity and celebrate your unique contributions within your circle and the world beyond. Just as our Women’s Wellness Circles enable each woman, the profound symbolism of mandalas will continue to inspire and uplift us on our individual and collective path to wholeness and unity. Together, let us create a masterpiece of empowerment, etching our stories onto the canvas of our lives.


To Your Sacred Journey,
Lauren Helmkay

WWC Host Georgina, ON


Image of an enneagram chart

Thanks to the wisdom of well-respected and longtime astrologer, Dale Osadchuk, I am opening with a quote she recently shared…

“The Medicine Wheel is a symbol for the circle of life, forever evolving. Its message is for each of us to find our personal medicine, learning to walk in balance within ourselves and our Mother Earth, and to honour all life as Sacred. Medicine is anything that enhances your connection to Great Mystery and The Oneness.  The healing of mind, body and spirit leads to empowerment, strength and understanding, living your life to bring healing to Mother Earth and all her kingdoms. Walking your path in perfect harmony with The Universe.”

This message had me reflecting on my work with the Enneagram personality system and its connection to our wholeness and to Women’s Wellness Circles.

The Enneagram dates back at least 2500 years. Its symbol is a circle with an inner triangle and hexad shape. It connects the numbers 1 through 9 in a profound way, bringing to light the relationship between 9 personality types with different patterns of thinking, feeling, and doing in the world. Knowing our ‘type’ can assist us to understand our strengths, weaknesses, automatic reactions, and can support us in our journey to presence and balance.

The symbol of the circle represents unity and oneness – so, regardless of what number you primarily resonate with, we are all connected and have parts of each type within us.

Each type brings specific gifts and strengths into the world, and each has their struggles and self-defeating habits. As we come to understand and accept all parts of ourselves, we can focus on expanding our gifts and strengths and spend less time resisting our shadow self.

A brief description of each type:

  1. Reformer: Principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic
  2. Helper: Generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing and possessive
  3. Achiever: Adaptable, excelling, driven and image-conscious
  4. Individualist: Creative, Expressive, self-absorbed, and temperamental
  5. Investigator: Perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated
  6. Loyalist: Engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious
  7. Enthusiast: Spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered
  8. Challenger: Self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational
  9. Peacemaker: Receptive, reassuring, agreeable and complacent

Over the years of hosting Circle, many attendees have taken my Enneagram course. I’m noticing the unfolding of a group of women who are standing in their own light in a stronger way and being truer to who they are. This ripples out into a strong comradery amongst the Circle goers and into our community.

As a Type Two on the Enneagram, my natural tendency is to want everyone to feel happy and to be pleased with me. I like to be the one who is of service, so I make sure that I have looked after all the details to ensure that the night goes well. My antennae are always turned on, paying attention to signs that everyone is doing well.

Of course, our gifts are strengths when in balance.  However, when they are out of balance and in overdrive, it is not conducive to ease and flow. For example, when I am in stress, my inner guidance is not accessible.  I am not relaxed and trusting in others, in divine timing, or in the opportunity of each moment being exactly what someone needs. Therefore, I don’t check in with the group to see what is called for in the moment as I feel responsible to already know it all and get everything right – ughhh!

As I tune in, my awareness allows me to trust, delegate, go with the flow and know that everything happens for a reason. I relax and enjoy the whole process from preparing the newsletter, to setting up the space and to hosting the Circle. I am filled with gratitude for all the moments and all the incredible women who come out.

I have noticed this same level of trust continuing to develop in the group. The true caring connections, the conversations that happen before, during and after Circle, have truly blossomed.

Another example is the Type Sevens, who are called the Enthusiast. They are often open to having fun and engaging in new experiences. A couple of Circle goers who have identified as Type Seven tend to sit together and then look over sheepishly when I bring the group together to start the gathering, saying, “this is probably a bad idea that we sit beside each other as we can get disruptive”. Then they quickly giggle and say, “Oh well…!”   It’s delightful to have their energy present within the group. And, it’s a gift to experience all of the personality types who take part in Circle and to witness the expansion of everyone’s collective light. As Dale would refer to it:  finding and sharing our medicine.

May each of you find the sacredness in your medicine wheel journey and may it include the experience of attending a Women’s Wellness Circle in your area. It’s time for us all to stand in our light and bring our gifts fully to our world. We are the ones we have been waiting for.


Let’s rise together!

Karen Armstrong
WWC Host, Newmarket/EG
Reiki Master, Biophoton Light Therapist & Enneagram Coach


Paper dolls holding hands circling the globe

In 2008, soon after I moved to Holland Landing, Ontario from England, I attended a networking event with the intention of meeting new people and getting connected with the community.

At that event, something wonderful and unexpected happened:  I had the pleasure of learning about the Women’s Wellness Circles through Karen Armstrong, who is the host of the Newmarket/East Gwillimbury location. Immediately, I started attending Circle, and Karen has been a dear friend since.

What I noticed right away was the friendly, peaceful, and welcoming energy of Circle. I felt like I had found a safe and accepting space to have conversations that went beyond the weather and everyday life. Instead, I could discuss natural ways of thinking and healing that are important values of mine. As I continued to take part each month, I started to see familiar faces and make new friends, many of which I still keep in touch with today.

Another special aspect of Circle that stood out to me was the varied and interesting speakers. Often the topic of the gathering focused on and taught us something that I really needed to hear, as it shed light on something I was feeling or experiencing in my own busy family life.

When I moved back to England last summer, I chose to move to a new town so I could make a fresh start for my daughter and me. While I was looking at homes to rent, I happened to see a road sign for ‘The Self Centre’, which is a yoga and health services sanctuary. The name of it spoke to me, and I felt an inner calling to go in and see what it was all about.

As I chatted with The Self Centre’s team, I learned that they had been thinking of hosting a Circle-type gathering. However, they didn’t have the resources to dedicate to it, so their vision had been sitting on the back-burner. Serendipitously, it was the day after their planning meeting for 2023, that I had strolled in the door.

When they heard about my wonderful experiences of attending and presenting at one of the Women’s Wellness Circle locations in Canada, they became quite excited. They were open for me to host a Circle in their centre if I knew how to do it. While I had an idea of the basics, I knew that to host a Women’s Wellness Circle, I would need to take the official training. So, I approached Jill Hewlett, the founder, with the exciting possibility of expanding Circle internationally! Of course, she was extremely delighted by the idea; so, we set up the host training sessions right away. Everything lined up so smoothly and seamlessly that I knew that divine timing was at play!

My first Circle took place in November. I treated it as a ‘pre-launch’ to our official start in January. This was to spread the word and cultivate interest. Eight amazing women attended. While it was new for them, as hosting was for me, it came together magically. We all loved it! In fact, for the first time since I’d moved back to England in July, I felt like I was at home. This is what the sacred and beautiful space of being in Circle with other women provides us.

Now it’s months later, and some of those same women have been to every gathering since it began. The Circles are always fully booked each month with regulars and new faces, and everyone is always warmly welcomed.

The speakers that have come to share with us and to learn from have been inspiring and interesting. For example, we’ve had:

  • A Kirtan song facilitator who led us through uplifting spiritual chants
  • A yoga teacher who made us all break into a sweat while standing still
  • A practitioner who taught us sound healing and had us practising on each other
  • A presenter who led us through the cyclical phases of a woman’s life

Some of the Circle participants had never been to anything like this before, but they arrive curious and receptive and leave with inspiration, resources, and new connections. Extra magic happens when you see women have ‘ah-ha’ moments as their perspective shifts and new insights are formed. This can be highly transformative!

It’s also a joy to hear the women talk about what the evening has meant to them, how supported they feel, and how it’s helped them to discover a solution to something they were stuck on or concerned about.

Of course, laughter exists in Circle, too. The English sense of humour, which I grew up with, is always a great starting point to meeting new people and making friends quickly. Plus, people are quite interested in the experience I had while in Canada that I’m more than happy to share.

Circle has been a truly integral part of starting my new life in this community. Even people who have resided here their whole lives come to the group and make new friends. It is a place that allows for growth, connection, and expansion at a time when it is needed more than ever.


To Circling the World,
Lindsay de Swart

WWC Host, Bury St. Edmunds, England

Collage concept photo of a silhouetted face and swirling colours

Historically women have been gathering in Circles for centuries. We are genetically wired to commune, share and nurture. This energy grows and spills over into our homes, our families, our communities.

Nothing can quite compare to having a genuine, safe, and welcoming place to feel seen, held, and to share in the splendor of mutual interests, learning, and growth, while honoring and hearing each other’s voices, needs and goals. In the space of wonderful female companionships, great things occur!

It may come to us as a nudge or inner voice that sounds like, “I need to get out more with friends”, “I need someone to talk to and share my thoughts”, “I feel alone”, “Do other people ever feel this way?”,” No one understands me”…  Regardless of the reason, women come together to discover and remember how wise, strong, and connected they truly are.

During the past historical days of the Red Tent, women supported each other as they spent their menstruation or child birthing time in sacred space tuning into their body’s rhythms, needs and wisdom.  This was a natural part of their everyday lives. Today, women continue to feel this call, and it comes in the shape of a Circle.

In Circle at the end of a long day, that may have tested us from every angle, women gently hold space for one another without conditions. It is a time of a warm welcome and a safe space to take off the ‘masks’ that we sometimes wear to fit in and to please others. Here we can come home to ourselves, learn from one another, and nurture our health, wellbeing, and heart centers. This longing and need for the support of sisterhood will never end; it is part of our genetics and lineage.

When I think of the women that come to Circle, I get emotional. They are my sisters. Whether our union is old or new, each Circle sister holds a very special place in my heart. Our souls truly recognize a sister in an instant!

More and more Circles of women are communing globally. Our inner guidance seems to know where to go when we feel lost, confused, unmotivated or overwhelmed. As we come together, our vibration rises; and we become bigger and brighter with each new face that enters this space.

While women have come together in physical circles since the beginning of time, that changed when the Covid pandemic hit. With so many restrictions to abide by, we felt isolated, lonely, and fearful.  We had no idea which way to turn. Yet we continued to know our truth and our need for connection.

So, we turned to Circle, this time virtually. Could we make this work? Would the pure and powerful energy we felt at our in-person Circles be experienced online as well? We knew we had to give it a try.

With relief and happiness, women were receptive to joining this virtual experience. And you know what? Our energetic connection shone through the ethers! Within a heartbeat, it was evident that our online Circle was another home to us. Plus, this online platform made it possible to gather people from all over the world, because time zones, travel, and borders were no longer a barrier.

Our solution to being separated was to enlarge our perspective and to choose to grow in new ways. Now we are stronger than ever! Our presence has expanded! We have more sharing, more offerings, and more confirmation of the value and need for Circle.

As many of our Women’s Wellness Circles are meeting once again in our community venues, we value the opportunity to hold hands, to share in heartfelt hugs and to experience the biofeedback that occurs when we are participating face-to-face.

Of course, our wonderful online Circles continue for those who live at a distance, have mobility issues, are caregivers, or simply prefer taking part from the comfort of their own home.

As with all Circles, whether in person or online, inspired presenters join us in this sacred space to share their unique gifts and perspectives. With these educational opportunities, we fill our wells with new ways to support our wholeness, to recharge and to connect.

The outer world can feel sharp and uncomfortable at times, causing us to react or retract. Being in Circle reminds us that we are always connected to a bigger source and greater resources. Imagine a pebble in water that is being rolled and tumbled by strong waves. The pebble doesn’t resist this force, so it naturally aligns into the same flow and rhythm. Eventually the sharp edges are smoothed, and the pebble becomes polished and strong.

Life can feel uncertain and overwhelming at times.  However, being part of Circle brings smoothness to our edges, reminding us of the strength in our flexibility and of how capable we are at rising to the challenges that inevitably occur.

There is a new energy that is emerging on our planet, a slow and deep rumble that is echoing our own inner awakenings. If you would like support, strength, and sisterhood to accompany you, just follow your calling to Circle.

To Sisterhood and Circling,

Debbie Armstrong

Photo of an alarm clock with images of the changing seasons within.

Sunshine and warmth are emerging, heralding new growth, as the seasons have shifted in the Northern Hemisphere; and we have entered the days of new beginnings.

There are four seasons that the earth cycles through annually. Depending on where you live, you might not actually witness or feel them all, but we each know of Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Without the context of seasons, weather would seem unpredictable; and it would be difficult to know how to navigate and prepare. Luckily, we have this understanding that can provide insight and patience to make timely decisions and live in better balance.

Through my connection to nature, the seasons, and the cycles, I’ve come to trust that there are patterns and rhythms we can follow that will support our life journey and choices. This knowledge has assisted me greatly over the years, especially during times of big transitions or times when I’ve been required to embrace the unknown.

For example, recently I’ve been in the season of “New Beginnings”.  Reflected in this is the new location for my business. This is a very exciting development and time in my life – the possibilities seem endless!

Just before Spring, the season of New Beginnings, I was tuned inward, resting, and reflecting. My focus was to make space and to conserve my energy for when it was time to create.

Just like the Earth, humans have our own seasons that we cycle through. During each period, we may feel certain emotions arise that provide information, showing us what we may need or how to best prepare and helping us to forecast what is to come next.

If we understand and treat our emotions as signals, we can use them to shift direction, make timely decisions, and ultimately birth new and better circumstances for ourselves.

However, if we ignore or suppress our emotions, or force them to change, we can miss powerful information and opportunities to grow in bigger and better ways.

Embarking on something new requires physical, mental, and emotional space. Without this awareness and understanding, we may feel resistant to letting go and making the necessary changes. Instead, we may experience confusion, discomfort and even chaos. When we understand what is happening and take action consciously, it can feel exciting and empowering!

Before finding my new space and stepping into new beginnings, I had to prepare by moving through my own seasons that informed and guided me. Let’s journey through each one to have a glimpse at how it works…

Summer or Full Growth

Summer is the season of Abundance, wherein we see our creations, our businesses, and our relationships thriving and growing. During this time, I felt a sense of ease and creativity. The right people and connections flowed in; things were bright and hopeful. I enjoyed this energy surge and felt full. I reveled in the present moment with a knowing that it was a phase to be enjoyed to its fullest!

Fall or the Wane

After Summer comes Fall; and after the fullness, there is a wane. So, it’s not a surprise when our energy begins to shift. Rather than be caught off guard, I expected and prepared for it. I watched my emotions and knew they would signal what I would need next and when it was time to change. I began to feel tired and depleted which showed me that I needed to receive external support. So, I did just that! Frustration and Anger showed me where I wasn’t holding healthy boundaries, so I tightened them up. As a result, anything that was unnecessary or a distraction, naturally began to fall away.  I knew I was in the phase of making space.

Winter or the Rest

Next comes Winter or Rest. Just like the plants return to their roots in winter, we, too, must move inwards and reconnect. Stillness is an essential part of the process and sometimes the most uncomfortable. It is here that we remind ourselves that after stillness comes action, after rest comes energy, and after dark always comes the light. It is here that a sense of hopefulness is reborn!

Spring or New Beginnings 

Next comes the resurgence of Light and we begin again! Time to plant seeds with new energy and awareness, and set our intentions based on how we want to feel after all we just learned. We enjoy new perspectives, new connections, new opportunities, and new growth.

Eventually we will move through all the cycles again, trusting we will come out the other side renewed and with a new view.

Of course, during any season, there will be weather or circumstances we can’t predict. Sometimes there are storms we didn’t see coming or unseasonably sunny days. However, most often, there will be a pattern that you can count on to show you the way.

I encourage you to give yourself the gift of awareness of the Cycles and Phases of Nature and Life and to accept that each one serves a purpose.  Then you can do your best to stay present through it all.

A wonderful space to tune into these cycles is at our monthly Women’s Wellness Circles. I love to hold space, to role model, and to share this wisdom with others; so they understand that they have these tools, too.

Circes of Life Seasons,

Amanda Perrone

Moon Mother and Oshawa Women’s Wellness Circle Host
Offering Moon Teachings and Ceremonies, Circles, and Drum Journeys


Photo of a bowl with a flower inside the middle, sitting on other petals

Have you ever been told that you are too sensitive, that you cry too easily, or that you care too much? If so, how did that make you feel?

Did you find it frustrating?  Did you sense you were being misunderstood or perhaps unfairly judged?

As a youngster, I often felt this way.  As a result, since there isn’t a turn off ‘switch’ for sensitivities, I did my best to hide them. All the while, I was wishing that I had a tougher skin, that I didn’t take things so personally and that I could let other people’s opinions roll off of me, like others seemingly could.

It wasn’t until years later that I gradually learned how to care for and honour my sensitivities while recognizing them as gifts and strengths rather than nuisances or weaknesses. It is still a learning curve. However, I’ve come a long way because awareness and practise does work!

In my early twenties, I read a book about the ‘Highly Sensitive Person’.  That’s when everything made so much more sense. Knowledge is indeed a powerful force.

Elaine R. Aron is the author, and she is a highly sensitive person herself. Having a Doctorate and Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology, she researched this subject intensively using hundreds of detailed interviews with Highly Sensitive People.

It turns out that being highly sensitive is not a disorder or diagnosis.  Rather, it is a personality trait, and there are more HSPs in the world than you may expect.

There are common characteristics among ‘HSPs’ like being easily overwhelmed and finding it hard to think straight when things are too busy, or by getting upset by violence on TV, and identifying as empathic and deeply emotional.

Knowing more about this personality type can assist you in navigating your life more smoothly and effectively, while acquiring strategies to develop and fine-tune these strong sensitivities, which can be used in your favour, and for the greater good – in useful and empowering ways.

If you aren’t an HSP, it’s highly likely that you have some in your family, friends, or colleague circle who are, so this is useful awareness in general.

Here’s a list of Six Typical Traits of Highly Sensitive People.

  1. You Identify as Deeply Emotional
    If you have a strong connection to your emotions and you spend a lot of time and energy contemplating or cultivating your internal world, you may be an HSP. As adults, many HSPs say that as kids they were called shy, introverted or overly sensitive.
  1. You Have Been Called Oversensitive
    This is a tell-tale characteristic of being an HSP, who tend to be much more sensitive to other people and environments than most people. HSPs commonly experience overstimulation from at least one of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. This can range from a mild nuisance or distraction to feeling highly uncomfortable or anxious.
  1. You Avoid Situations that are Stressful
    HSPs typically manage and structure their lives so that they can avoid stressful or overwhelming situations. While this may happen unconsciously, upon reflection many HSPs realize this is true for them. In fact, any display of violence in the media can be extremely upsetting for an HSP. As a result, they may avoid watching horror movies, or the news.
  1. You Are Overwhelmed by Crowds
    HSPs often avoid big crowds, because the buzz of energy may feel overwhelming and make an HSP want to withdraw or shut down. This may be caused by the heightened and intensified sensory stimulation that comes with being in a crowd, along with absorbing emotional or mental energy from others.
  1. You Are Overwhelmed by Too Many Tasks
    A long to-do list can be overwhelming for HSPs, especially when they feel as though there is not enough time to complete the tasks. This may be since HSPs don’t like to juggle too many things at once because the like to avoid making mistakes and don’t want to upset or let others down.
  1. You Are Attuned to Nuances
    HSPs are adept at picking up subtleties: in the environment, in projects or art, and even in the emotional display or reactions of those around them. They often notice things that others may miss like a change in tone, a colour mismatch, or a slight temperature shift.

Do you relate to some of these above examples?

More people feel like this than we realize, and they wind up closing off their sensitivities in order to function more easily in the world.

Thankfully, with awareness and useful strategies, such as regular self care, meditation, and spending time in positive and nurturing environments like nature and our Women’s Wellness Circles, eventually, what may have seemed like a hindrance, will become strengths.

HSPs are known to be compassionate, intuitive, artistic, highly perceptive, and conscientious individuals with a depth of understanding that goes beyond the surface level.  These are indeed qualities that our world can not only benefit from, but it is also craving right now.


Founder & Mentor Women’s Wellness Circles



Photo of a ceremonial pot with smoke

We have a choice in living each day.  We can have the perspective and belief that nothing is a miracle or that everything is a miracle.

‘Having long chosen the latter, this perspective is part of who I am (though being human, I can get derailed sometimes). I believe I was born with a little pixie dust in my heart, because little things can get me quite excited.  I love to spread joy, because it roots that feeling deeper into my experience and lifts me up – a bit of a win-win for sure.

So where does “ceremony” come into this?  And what is the difference between “ceremony” and “celebration”?  Let’s look at the dictionary definitions first.

Ceremony: a formal act or set of formal acts established by custom or authority as proper to a special occasion such as wedding, religious rite, etc.

Celebration: to keep, observe, commemorate, or means to notice or to honour a day, an occasion, or deed.

These definitions are very closely related; so, I’d like to share how I experience the difference between these two wonderful acts in life.

With ceremony, I am bringing an “intention” first and foremost. “Intention” is the focus that I honour and uphold, as I proceed into the ceremony with my whole being.

This adds a different awareness and presence to the act or event and allows space for divine guidance to enter. There is a heightened sense of presence when I am more aware of both my inner guidance and how the environment shows up to support us. In essence, it creates space for magic and mystery to be present. For example, my girlfriend was sharing a story about her father who had passed; and just then, a blue jay landed on a tree branch right beside us and started squawking. Her father’s favourite bird was a blue jay.  What a special gift!

For me, ceremony carries a message of deep gratitude and honour. Over the past couple of years, slowing down has allowed me to become more present and intentional in how I live each day. One of the activities that has had a huge shift for me is walking in nature. I have always enjoyed doing this. However, unless I was away on holidays, the daily walks with my dog were sometimes just an item to check off my list of to-dos for the day.

In 2020, my daily walks morphed into a true act of ceremony. There were weeks that my girlfriend and I would stop in special places and hold space. We sometimes offered prayers to the land, our community, our families, or we sang and danced. Almost always we offered tobacco, dried flowers, crystals, or seeds to the land and our ancestors. During these times we were very present to the animals and birds showing up at specific moments of our conversation, and we knew they were bringing their message and medicine. The gratitude that this brought to our hearts was palpable, and we would be in awe with the miracles that presented themselves.

In early 2023, I completed my list of “Intention Words” which capture my vision and focus for the year ahead. This is another area where I bring ceremony into my life. I set aside sacred space for myself, light a candle, get my crystals, pour myself a cup of tea and then choose one or more of my oracle/tarot card decks to pull messages from.  Then I place them around me, settle into a meditation, and allow these meaningful words to bubble up to the surface. Once they are clear, I proceed to journal and record my thoughts which provide inspiration and a guiding light for the year ahead. It’s become a lovely ceremony to bring forth these annual “Intentions”.

I have added this ceremonial practice to many areas of my life: in my healing and coaching practice, as I prepare for clients, as I set up my space, as I sign the Reiki certificates for my students, or even when writing a special card.

This also shows up in a big way at our Women’s Wellness Circles. The time I spend setting up our space and welcoming everyone and right through to the closing of the Circle is special and held with intention. I am filled with huge gratitude for every unique, precious month’s gathering. It’s almost like adding another layer of love and gratitude into each action. There is a feeling of fulfilment that has accompanied these shifts.

Of course, I love to celebrate, too. To me, celebration means acknowledging the great things in life whether they be big or small – to express our joy around life milestones and just because.

It’s almost like the presence and intention of Ceremony has brought even more awareness to all that I have to celebrate. Just like life, everything is interwoven into the experience.

I encourage you to welcome more ceremony into your life, and just watch and enjoy as the miracles show up!


Circles of Ceremony & Celebration,

Karen Armstrong

WWC Host, Newmarket/EG
Reiki Master, Biophoton Light Therapist & Enneagram Coach

Jill in the water with a horse, face to face

“Never compare your insides with someone else’s outsides.” 

I don’t know where I first heard this quote, but it was long before social media began and long after I had become the steward of my soul’s journey.

The first time I read it, it literally stopped me in my tracks.  Since then, I return to it often, especially when I find myself caught in a place of personal judgment or comparison thinking.

Isn’t it interesting how easy it can be to be influenced by external appearances and to not realize there is more going on than meets the eye?

I am powerfully reminded of this every time a public figure commits suicide, such as Robin Williams, Naomi Judd, and Stephen Twitch Boss, just to name a few. It’s so shocking when we realize that amidst their fame and success, they had struggles, too.

We can never assume that someone’s outside reality reflects what is truly going on inside of them. However, as humans we rely heavily on our visual senses. In the busyness of life, we forget to look closer and go deeper. Thus, we get caught up in, and sometimes lost in, images and facades.

As well, in order to fit in, most humans become highly adept at pretending, conforming, and hiding flaws. Unfortunately, by hiding our full selves, it minimizes our gifts and talents and keeps us distracted from living our most authentic path.

Life is a paradigm of duality:

  • Inside and outside
  • Yin and yang
  • Light and darkness

We can’t have one without the other; each exists by the very nature of the other. And interestingly, one’s level of joy is typically equal and opposite to the level of one’s suffering.  This goes hand in hand with the fact that we can’t experience ‘wins’ without having any ‘losses’ along the way.

Ask a top athlete, Nobel prize winner, or millionaire if they had any challenges, setbacks, or self doubt along the way. They will say they had plenty!

What if instead of deflecting and projecting onto others, we spent more time reflecting on and introspecting our own internal lives?

My years of working closely with horses has taught me that they are masters at ignoring what humans are showing on the outside and simply responding to what’s going on inside. To find a true connection with a horse, your outward actions and image need to match your inside reality. Congruency is equal to authenticity, and they can sense it.

This horse wisdom has encouraged me to keep developing the freedom, confidence, and transparency to reflect on the outside the truth of who I am inwardly at any given moment.

The better I become at doing that, the healthier I feel, the easier my life gets, and the deeper my connections with other humans and horses grow.

If I have learned anything over my half century plus years on Earth, it is that we all need connection: a safe, reliable, and congruent place where we can sit with our own thoughts and listen to the stories and wisdom of those who have walked a similar path and come out the other side.

Sometimes it takes a while for people to ‘warm up’ and to expose what’s really going on for them. Once we feel safe, and find the courage to share our own struggles, we’ll be amazed by the impact our story can have on someone else. Even a brief, off-the-cuff remark can make a profound difference.

Whether that circle of trust is with our family of origin or a chosen family that we have sought out, among a herd of horses, or in a room full of strangers coming together for a common interest, we all need to find belonging.  This was a motivating factor behind my hosting a Women’s Wellness Circle on my horse farm in the London, Ontario, area.

I was motivated to write about this topic thanks to a young woman who started attending our Circle this past summer.  She always showed up with a smile on her face, eager to participate, and so grateful for each event.  Then I came to learn that she struggles with paralyzing anxiety and lacks any support or resources.  This makes her life very challenging.  I had no clue.  She hid it well.

Finally, she came to a point where she could reach out to me and speak her truth.  I am so grateful. I was able to connect her with resources to ease her burden a bit and hopefully impact a positive shift in her life’s trajectory.

It’s okay if you are struggling.  It’s okay to not have all the answers. It’s okay to hold it all inside until you find your safe place to share.  Just keep showing up, trying, reaching out, even if you never say a word.  No matter what’s going on in your life, I see you.  And when you’re ready, bring your inside, out.


Circles of Authenticity,

Tricia Rudy


Women’s Wellness Circle Host, London ON area

Certified FEEL Facilitator

Statue of Gandhi

Years ago, when I was living and travelling throughout India for six months, I ate incredible food, saw amazing sites, and met wonderful locals and fellow travellers.

The highlight of it all was the memorable experiences of being invited to take part in various special events, including local festivals, a traditional Hindu wedding, a lecture with his Holiness, the Dalai Lama in Bodh Gaya, and a series of Spiritual Teachings offered through the Gandhi Memorial Museum in Madurai, South India.

If you have been to India before or have celebrated a holiday or special event with eastern Indians, you know this is a culture that takes festivity to a whole new level! Their lively music, bedazzled garments, tasty and spicy foods, and intricate, finely planned rituals are truly something to experience.

As I travelled from north to south, and east to west, I continued to grow fonder of this country which many refer to as the ‘Heart Chakra of Mother Earth’. I enjoyed the warmth and colour of their inspired architecture, the beautiful landscape, the spiritual energy, and its kind and curious people.

An extra special memory of my travels includes visiting Kanyakumari at the most southern tip of India. This is where the three bodies of water merge: the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal. According to many, it is one of nature’s most awe-inspiring sights and an ideal place to observe the breathtaking array of colours with sunrise and sunset.

Kanyakumari is also home to one of Mahatma Gandhi’s most important memorials. After he was assassinated in 1948 in New Delhi, his remains were cremated and sent to different regions of India. Before being placed in the sea, a portion of his ashes were put on display in Kanyakumari.

Gandhi Ji is referred to as Mahatma which means “Highly Respected Person” or “Great Soul.” The spirit of Gandhi Ji is truly woven throughout the fabric of India.


I was especially honoured to have the unique and special opportunity to attend a gathering hosted by the Gandhian Society in Madurai. The organization was honouring one of their esteemed members who had recently passed away and who happened to be a fellow Canadian.

During the ceremony, I was invited to share a prayer that I had learned years prior. It is officially called Gandhi’s Prayer for Peace.  However, for many years I have referred to it as The Gandhi Prayer.

I’d like to share it with you, along with the hand gestures that I learned as well.


I offer you peace  (hands in prayer position)
I offer you love  (hands over heart)
I offer you friendship  (hands held out, palms up)
I see your beauty  (one hand held above eye brows looking outward)
I hear your needs  (hand cupped behind ear, listening)
I feel your feelings  (both hands in front of body with fists clenched)
My wisdom flows from the highest Source  (raise arms upwards over head)
I salute that Source in you  (hands in prayer position with forward bow)
Let us work together  (one hand shakes the other)
For unity and peace  (hands in prayer position)


  • Start by noticing how you are feeling towards yourself and others.
  • Incorporating hand gestures is optional. If you do want to incorporate them, you’ll notice that one gesture flows into the next. You can use the ones I shared or make up your own.
  • You can recite this prayer on your own and simply imagine the person or people to whom you are saying it.
  • Sit or stand with another person or group, face to face, and look into each other’s eyes as you each recite the prayer to each other, with or without hand gestures. If you say the poem slowly and intentionally, you will find that others typically catch on easily. You can repeat it several times so everyone gets to look at one another, and the prayer becomes more familiar.
  • We are often in conflict within ourselves. One part of us may be at odds with another part of ourselves. Read the prayer allowing the parts of you in conflict to speak to each other.
  • Once you have gone through the process, notice how you are feeling and take note of what has changed.

Many people report feeling better afterwards, but there is no specific outcome that is meant to be achieved. Each time your experience may be different; that is okay. With practise, however, you will become more familiar with the prayer; and the words will take on more meaning. If you do incorporate hand gestures, those will become second nature; and the whole experience will continue to feel more natural and embodied.

While there is tremendous power in incorporating daily prayers and rituals into our own lives, there is also great benefit in sharing in these heartfelt practises and good intentions with others.

By reciting poems such as this, that engage others, and by joining in our Women’s Wellness Circles, you are investing in your growth and evolution and that of the collective consciousness as well.

Circles of Connection,


Founder & Mentor Women’s Wellness Circles