by Donna Goodman
Part I: Finding the circle... or more appropriately...the circle finding me!
I was not a 'girl friend' person. Growing up more of my friends were boys than girls and for reasons to be learned later in my process of personal evolution, I never really had a 'best friend' or circle of friends.
At the age of 38, my life began to change. Circumstances caused the bottom to fall out of my 'black and white' reality, resulting in divorce from my 14 year marriage and leaving the science education company which I had co-founded. A single mother of three, scared and alone, I began to search for answers and found my way to a school called "Awakenings" based upon the teachings of Sharon Turner, a graduate of the Berkeley Psychic Institute and Jean Houston's Mystery School. After two years of these training programs, I had opened up to a new rich and colorful level of awareness and learned to love the feeling of being a part of a loving and learning community. Although, I no longer felt the need to enroll in a training program, my desire to be part of a loving and learning community continued... so, I set out to create just such a thing.
I designed a logo and prepared invitations for a conscious community where individuals called to global service would come together in a peer-led circle to share and learn and love. I found a mid-town Manhattan location and mailed invitations to friends and colleagues all over the world. In response to my invitation, Monica Willard, who at that time was representing Pathways to Peace at the United Nations phoned me to say that she would not be able to attend my gathering, but suggested that I take her place at a gathering that was happening upstate New York on the same weekend about "the hundredth monkey." Monica urged me to call Ann Smith at Global Education Associates (GEA) right away to learn more.
That call with Ann Smith changed my life forever! As we talked, Ann directed me to the Millionth Circle website and as the forces of synchronicity were at best, the Millionth Circle logo was nearly identical to the logo that I had designed for my conscious community! Ann suggested that I come to her home in Connecticut and that we would drive to Deer Hill together and we did.
In my first 'official circle' at Deer Hill, I often wondered why I was there, but somehow felt compelled to stay. By the end of the weekend, I was asked to represent the Millionth Circle at the UN and my 'Mother Earth and Me' workshops became 'The Earth Child Institute' as a division of GEA. Not only did I find my soul family for conscious loving community, but also a nurturing incubator for the work of my dreams!
The rest, as they say, is history. Over the years, the conveners of the Millionth Circle have been my mothers, grandmothers, sisters and best friends. At times of differences, many of us have realized that somehow this sisterhood does not offer the option for resignation!!! It is a karmic connection of universal proportion. I have learned and continue to learn how to give love and to accept the love of others. The support of the circle has made me a better mother, friend and global citizen and I am eternally grateful.
Part II: Circle support in difficult times
During a recent break between contracts in my career, fear, loneliness and despair overwhelmed my being. My fears were deep and very real to me. Although my work is very big and global, in many ways my daily life is very solitary and sometimes harsh. Living alone with three teen/pre-teenagers who are not always kind and are often quite demanding, combined with a number of years living on the edge financially as the sole support of our family brought me to a very scary breaking point.
The circle has most recently helped me to understand that I can reach out for holding and to be held, but I honestly cannot say that before this experience that I had any true comprehension of what this really meant. Even in cyberspace, our circle holds a tightly woven safety net for each woman which is so amazing.... and for me, truly a miracle!
One day, I remembered the words of Katherine Collis at our recent gathering at Omega. "You must let us know what you are doing so that we can support you... to receive help you need to ask for it." Many people say these things, it is written everywhere, but truly, the circle brings this truth to manifest. So, I wrote to the conveners of my fears and doubts and despair, knowing that many women would be kind, but honestly never understanding the truly universal power of prayer, holding and unconditional love.
Most every woman sent me at least one message of encouragement and love. My frozen spirit started to thaw... as I began to realize that I was not alone, I got the idea to print all the messages and tape them around the perimeter of my bedroom. I cut the messages into shapes and decorated them with colored pencils and markers and slept that night for the first time in weeks! The feelings of love and support were so tangible and real, noticing the profound effect, my son Elliot sent me an email so that he could join the circle on the wall.
Some time later, Justine Toms recommended that I cut out photographs of women with outstretched arms to support the words of the email messages and so I did, but not from magazines, I was able to find photos of many conveners from previous gatherings and taped each to her message.
The good news is that I was able to find peace within and to conquer some of my demons with the support of our circle. Even before circumstances relating to my career improved, my psyche and soul found deep healing in the loving hearts and arms of the Millionth Circle conveners. I did eventually go back to work and my career is doing very well, thank God, but my soul is keenly aware that this work in the world is a group effort.
The unity of the hearts and minds of women and children worldwide is the only pathway to peace. This unity is the place where darkness cannot exist... it is a place where the sacred space of holding each soul will ensure infinite possibility, good health and abundant natural resources... enabling us all to transcend scarcity and fear.
The miracle of the circle truly does and will prevail if only we allow it to perform its divine magic!