ARTICLES & STORIES
Gather the Women, Circle and Act
By Ann Smith
The women kept coming in numbers that for a while created chaos in the parking lot and a long line to get into Gather The Women of South Florida, held November 11-12th in Naples. Order was quickly restored as women in their twenties to 90s filled the entire sanctuary of St. Monica's church, and frustrations and fears quickly dissipated as they were greeted by festive music and loving welcomes.
They came from many cities and towns within and outside Florida. The opening ceremony led by four Native Americans from four different tribes grounded the energy by honoring Mother Earth. Music, ceremony, speakers and each woman experiencing being in a sacred circle of six created a magical setting where all were filled with love and hope. We became a loving community with great expectations for contributing to an event that would change South Florida. International, national and local speakers provided words to inspire both local and global actions. The planning and the carrying out of the event used circle principles throughout.
We built a field of dreams where on-going Action Circles related to the environment, domestic and global peace, economic justice for farm workers, and women's health, healing and empowerment were started. The circle process with an Open Space design enabled the co-creation of Action Circles. Open Space principles provide a creative process that is guided by passion plus accountability. They are: w homever comes is the right person; whatever happens is the only thing that could have; whenever it starts is the right time, when it is over, it is over . The law of two feet allows everyone to find an Action Circle of interest and to have their gifts, talents and resources utilized in more than one action without wasting time or energy.
Last week, December 7th , Gather The Women of South Florida met for two hours in a large circle of the whole, in small circles of six, and in Action Circles. There was time for individual reflections and dreams, new ideas and energy that infused existing Action Circles, and ones newly formed. February 4-5, 2006, Jean Bolen will be with us in Naples. Her book, Urgent Message from Mother, and her presence will continue to inspire and strengthen us as we gather, circle and act. All proceeds from this event go to the women in Immokalee, a town where farm workers live and work. The money will help create a women's space of their own, a place to read, to hold sacred circles, and to have adult "time outs".
Plans are being made for many more gatherings and actions. What was once a theory in my head and a Rockefeller grant for community organizing is now a living model for South Florida. Namaste!!! Ann Smith