One of my dearest dear friends was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and has been dealing with that all summer long. She caught it in the early stage and was hopeful that diet, exercise and homeopathic treatments would help her avoid surgery. She worked hard for several months and ultimately decided to undergo a mastectomy. This decision was taken with great care and intention and was nonetheless disconcerting because she has been and is in incredible health – aside from these tumors in her breast. She maintains a healthy lifestyle with meditation, healthy diet and exercise being a part of her intentional being every day – and has been for all of the forty plus years she has been a seeker.
When she was grappling with the notion of having surgery she spent some time thinking about what she needed to get through this in the best way for her mind, spirit and body. In her wisdom she realized that she wanted the support and nurturing love of her sister friends to help her transition both into the surgery and also the recovery. She wanted our help and support -and she asked for it – clearly.
We (her sisters here in Boulder) had a pre-surgery healing circle for her. We included our close sisters from around the world to join us in real time and called them in. It was precious and so healing for all of us. I am sharing this with you so that maybe you too can call in your sisters when you need support. It doesn’t have to be something so dramatic or serious as cancer to call in our tribes of sisters – it can be anytime you are struggling with a life change or difficult relationship or pattern that needs letting go in a good way.
Ceremony and ritual are the bed rocks of what used to be our connection to each other and Mother Earth. We have been disconnected for too long and both ourselves and Pacha Mama are crying out in need. We need to feel the connection both to ourselves and our beloved Gaia for support, nurturing, and hope. Creating ceremonies and rituals from the heart can help.
Our healing circle was simple. I created an invitation and sent it out to a few close sisters who had already been in support of her process. I invited the women to dress up as the Goddesses they are. She wanted certain elements included in the evening and so the agenda was ready to go based on her intuition and wisdom. Here is a breakdown of how we created the intentional space.
1. In the invitation I asked each woman to bring one or two flowers so that we could make a bouquet for the healing altar with all of our love and individuality shining.
2. Each woman was invited to bring a small treasure from nature for the healing altar: rocks, crystals, shells, seeds, something from the heart and Pacha Mama.
3. We started with a small ritual of our dear sister walking into our sacred women’s temple (her living room cleared out a bit with an altar) carrying the flowers and placing them on the altar; then each of us in turn followed placing our offerings on the altar
4. After we were all seated (we created a circle with meditation cushions) our sister spoke about her process and why she was calling us in for support.
5. We listened to a short quote from our teacher on healing
6. We then had a sharing with each woman being given two minutes or so to share about healing and what it meant to them (I used my iPhone timer to cue the two minutes).
7. We then sang a song together about healing that our sister had chosen that she had been listening to and touched her heart (we printed the lyrics)
8. After a short break we had her sit in the middle of the circle and we each went up and offered her our love and support in our own unique way. Some sang songs or mantras, some blessed her with their prayers, some used essential oils, energy work, hugs, etc. We basically loved her up, one at a time, in honor of her journey and healing.
9. We then broke into a dance celebration starting with Let It Be, by the Beatles
10. Finally, we enjoyed a nice potluck dinner together – fun and festive and in a space of honoring each of us as sisters.
So you see how simple this was to create. We pulled it together in a few days. The most important idea to note about this beautiful evening that we sisters shared is that it would not have happened unless our sister asked us for it. She called it in herself for herself and the result was that not only did she feel supported and loved (and, she took that energy into surgery with her) but we all did as women and sisters. We felt and still feel more connected to each other and more connected to Mother Earth.
Next time you are struggling or feeling out of sync consider creating a circle such as this to help connect you to your loved ones and yourself. The intention of bringing ceremony and ritual back into our everyday world can only help make us more aware of how we all are connected to everything. You can use the steps above or create your own sacred ceremony using what is familiar to you – I recommend keeping it simple and heartfelt so that it’s easy to pull off. Also, men can gather in this way and how beautiful it would be if they do- and of course when you create your circle invite who you intuitively know will be a good fit - regardless of sex.