by Nancy Grandfield
We call our circle Dancing Hearts, ten women of widely, wildly varying personalities, cultures, faiths. Our uniqueness is like glue bonding six generations, the maiden at 32 years of age, the crone at 82 years of youth. We spend a weekend together every two months, meeting in one another's homes, spread in geography and design.
Two of our MC convenors were our foremothers, Ronita Johnson and Mary Corrigan, both of whom invited individuals to a weekend retreat at Pajara Dunes, a community of bountiful condos on the Monterey Bay in California. Both women had developed a leadership program, and were giving us the opportunity to respond to our skills, gifts, and creative expressions. None of us knew one another except through our affiliations with Ronita and Mary. Dancing Hearts developed from that gathering when we danced on a sandy beach by the light of a full January moon four years ago.
Always the sacred center is in place when we arrive. In winter we circle around glowing fireplaces, and in summer on a sunny patio or in a garden. The 'hostess" designates who is to bring food for what meals (we usually eat at an ethnic neighborhood restaurant the first night). And, oh! how well we eat...breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Our check- in's take awhile. So much has happened in each of our lives over two months. Sometimes, as in the new year, we talked about our 'intentions' (not our resolutions) or our fears, or forgiveness. This month we evolved into a two-day discussion of the word, 'passion'.....hours of deep introspection, longing, joy, pain, tears, laughter.....everything from thongs to Jesus on the Cross. Someone had brought modeling clay, and during an hour of silence, we each formed a symbol of our own passion. We carried them back to our homes as reminders of our needs, our goals, what we were doing, what we wanted to do.
Dancing Hearts is a circle of love and loyalty. I can't wait to see and be with those nine women without whom my life would be severely diminished.