A few years ago, I started a women’s group. I chose six women who I knew were all on a spiritual path; that was an important consideration to me. They range in age from 60 to 82 and most of us are single. One of my intentions was to connect deeply to women whom I resonated with so that we could build a tribe together, a sacred sisterhood. After fracturing my shoulder in 2015 I began to realize how much I needed other people. Not just to caretake, although I certainly needed that for a while, but also as a support system so that we could be there for one another as we age, and the inevitable passage of time made us more dependent on others for help. I didn’t want my children to be the only resource for me as my body slowed down.
We started by calling ourselves a book club and we began reading, Aging as a Spiritual Practice by Lewis Richmond. We have now gone through, Awakening Joy, by James Baraz, click here and two of Tosha Silver’s wonderful books, Outrageous Openness, and Change Me Prayers. Here It soon became obvious that however intriguing the books were, we spent most of our time just sharing our lives and our stories. We would meet once a month at each other’s houses. (Since the pandemic it’s become once a week on zoom.) We begin with a brief ceremony that includes lighting candles, sharing our altars, and smudging. Then the facilitator for the week does a brief alignment, connecting each of us heart to heart, Soul to Soul. We end the alignment by silently repeating, “I am one with my group sisters, and all that I have is theirs. May the love, which Is in my Soul, pour forth to them. May the strength which is in me lift and aid them. May the thoughts which my Soul creates reach and encourage them.” (Alice Bailey, DINA 11) After we share our stories we end with jokes, poems, sometimes dancing and singing.
One week, a few years ago, when it was my turn to facilitate, I decided to do something different. I had been struggling with overwhelm…too many decisions to make, too many demands on my time, (before Covid) too many expectations for myself, too much perfectionism operating…. leaving me feeling stuck and helpless. Often when that happens, I run across just what I need to move me forward. So, this time I happened upon an offering online, by a company called Conscious Ink. Click here They create tattoos that are ink based. Easy to apply, they last for several weeks and they provide wonderful affirmations. I took them to my sisters, and we sat around the table and picked the ones that most resonated with us. Here were some of the offerings: I am enough, Actually I can, Courage, dear heart, Be free, Be gentle, Gratitude. Each of us in the circle took the tattoo that most resonated with us and we applied them to our bodies. I took, “Actually I Can,” because at that moment I needed the confidence to know I could handle whatever came my way. I was completely amazed at how powerful it was. I would look at it whenever I began to feel fear or lack, or trepidation and it lifted me up. I can do this. I’m not helpless. I am strong. My sisters also reported beneficial results.
Of course, there are many ways to work with affirmations, but I found that having that written right on my body I could look at it at any time and be reminded of my strength. It helped me through that challenging time. Here’s the logo for Conscious Ink…. “Temporary on the skin, Indelible on the Soul.” Amen to that!!
And of course, the requisite poem.
The You-Shaped Hole, by Tara Mohr
Sometimes the world feels inhospitable.
You feel all the ways that you and it don’t fit.
You see what’s missing, how it all could be different.
You feel as if you weren’t meant for the world, or the world wasn’t
meant for you.
As if the world is “the way it is” and your discomfort with it a problem.
So, you get timid. You get quiet about what you see.
But what if this? What if you are meant
to feel the world is inhospitable, unfriendly, off-track
in just the particular ways that you do?
The world has a you-shaped hole in it.
It is missing what you see.
It lacks what you know.
And so you were called into being.
To see the gap, to feel the pain of it, and to fill it.
Filling it is speaking what is missing.
Filling it is stepping into the center of the crowd, into a clearing, and
saying, here, my friends, is the future.
Filling it is being what is missing, becoming it.
You don’t have to do it all, but you do have to speak it.
You have to tell your slice of the truth.
You do have to walk toward it with your choices, with your own being.
Then allies and energies will come to you like fireflies swirling around
The roughness of the world, the off-track-ness, the folly that you see,
these are the most precious gifts you will receive in this lifetime.
They are not here to distance you from the world, but to guide you
into your contribution to it.
The world was made with a you-shaped hole in it.
In that way you are important.
In that way you are here to make the world.
In that way you are called.