My name is Shirley Razbully. For love I write, read and listen to people. People and their stories fascinate me. For fun I read, write, cook, visit art exhibitions, travel and walk my gorgeous dogs. For money I teach in a further education college or more specifically I am part of the pastoral team there who supports students to realize their potential.
I’ve been part of GTW Liverpool for 14 months. It’s a place where I feel like I belong. I have consciously been on my own spiritual journey since I was about 16 years old, so for 23 years I travelled searching for pockets of communities of kindred spirits who would understand the path my intuition was urging me to take. I was so delighted to find a community of conscious, awakened, interesting, inspirational and glorious women in my own city! I am passionate about and committed to the power of sisterhood and this thrives within GTW circles. On a personal basis our circle is an oasis in which I feel I can truly be myself without the need to apologise for my human failings or edit myself.
Well, before the circle begins you are absolutely guaranteed to receive an amazing heart felt hug from someone, which is such a precious gift. Our circle ebbs and flows. We have quite a few familiar faces who attend circles often but equally there are new participants who contribute their energy to the space when they feel moved to. Attendance is very much flexible and never feels like an obligation. Sistas will be attracted to a theme or moved to attend a particular circle from inner guidance. I am always so touched by the honesty with which women share experiences and wisdom within the circle. We share tough life experiences by creating a safe space in which we can give voice to our wounds, or blessings and our wisdom. We share joys and sorrows. Every circle is common in ritual or structure but no two circles are ever energetically the same. There are often tears shed, belly laughs, realisations made, inspirations struck and moments of deep contemplation within the same circle. It’s amazing how we all interpret the same theme in such different ways. There is a feeling of security, nurturing, acceptance and connection. We are a frank group of women who share the most intimate details and have the courage to be vulnerable in one another’s presence. We have established a true sense of community and often attend events to support one anothers paths outside of circle e.g. art exhibitions, birthdays, house warmings and we are in the process of working on an event to celebrate women which will have to stay under wraps for now! Our wonderful Co-ordinator, Deb Zaher, does an amazing job between circles to keep us updated through social media. The magical space Deb has created through bringing circle to Liverpool is something I will be eternally grateful for!
Being part of the GTW Liverpool circle means so many things: acceptance, connection, belonging, sisterhood, kindness, hope, inspiration, activism. Overall I attend because I enjoy being surrounded by such amazing, beautiful and inspirational women. They remind me who I am and encourage me to evolve into the greatest manifestation of who I am able to become so that I can be of most service to the world. Attending circle is such a nurturing experience. It is essential to me to keep on an authentic life path but I gain so much strength from being connected to my circle sistas. I show up when things are good in my life. I show up when I am struggling and dealing with shadows. Circle embraces me entirely so it has encouraged me to show up even when I’m not feeling strong because it has taught me that it’s ok to be vulnerable. Attending circle has literally changed the course of my life which I will tell you more about below!
I have had many realisations in circle. To respect our confidentiality agreement I will not disclose specific details here but I have found myself revealing parts of myself that were not healed when speaking and been moved to tears. I often recognize myself in the stories of other women and I learn to look at things from a different perspective also when I feel resistance to a statement another makes which challenges my value system.
The most significant circle moment I have had which has had a profound effect on me was when I was facilitating a circle on characters from fiction which have had an impact on you as a woman. I was in the final stages of an MA in Writing and I realized that I wanted to share the magic of circles through a novel entitled, A Circle of Women, which would allow women everywhere to experience fictional circle stories of different characters in the novel and then hopefully inspire the reader to create circles in their own communities. In 2000 I completed an undergraduate degree in Literature and Cultural History, specialising in feminist theory. As a result of researching for the novel I am writing I realised that I wanted to take this even further and devote myself to a PhD on women’s circles and sisterhood in the hope of sparking knowledge of circles in academic arenas and beyond. So you see, circles have literally altered the course of my life and I intend to add my voice and my pen to spreading the word far and wide about the magical impact that women’s circles can have on women both personally and politically. Germaine Greer was right when she stated, ‘The personal is still political’. You can find out more about my writing at: http://srazbully.wordpress.com/