Your first open circle (by Judy Rudin)
Updated: May 21
I really wish I could bottle the essence of what women say after attending their first Open Circle. I’ve been holding Open Circles (in person and online) for many years, and women usually show up with some apprehension and anxiety their first time. That’s understandable. It’s quite a leap of faith to go into a room/zoom with people we’ve never met, without much of an idea of what’s going to happen or whether we will feel comfortable or not. It takes bravery, curiosity, plus the willingness to step into the unknown.
Once women realize that they are welcome exactly as they are, and are never required to share, I see them relax into enjoying the experience. Many will hold back and stay quiet the first time, while others jump right in. Whether they speak or not, the compassion and support they give and receive opens and expands their hearts.
When it’s time to go, this is what I often hear:
This was amazing.
I’ve never done anything like this before. When’s the next one?
I had no idea what to expect. This was beyond what I could have imagined.
I can’t believe I shared that with a bunch of strangers. I’ve never told anyone about this issue/problem/concern before.
I thought I was all alone with how I was feeling. Now I see I’m not.
I felt so safe from the very beginning.
I can’t believe there was no judgment here. I've never experienced zero judgment from women before.
Thank you so much for creating this space for us.
I have to bring my friend next time.
So I guess, if I could bottle the essence it would be a blend of companionship, safety, openness, joy and curiosity. What has an online circle been like for you? I’d love to see your answers in the comments below.
Judy Rudin is an experienced Woman Within Facilitator and current Director of Engagement for Woman Within International