Lessons learned: the 2009 Seattle GTW Annual Gathering

February 2nd, 2016 | Posted by Barbara Belknap in Gather the Women

August 2009 Seattle

Today’s blog about Circle Practice is dedicated to “questions that matter” for Gather the Women. We (the Conveners) came up with these questions and comments after we met in August 2009 at the University of Washington in Seattle. I feel that they are still relevant and interesting questions today. Any one of the major topics could evoke juicy circle conversations.

I also want to comment on “Group Energetics” as described by Cheryl Conklin and Ann Linnea in the PeerSpirit booklet “Understanding Energetics in Circles and Groups”. As I was going over this gathering in my mind and looking at the Program, I remembered an experience we had there that I didn’t how to handle. Here’s the story: One evening we had a Native American woman from the Seattle area as our guest speaker. She is a consultant on ceremonial healing principles, group energetics, and much more. We had allotted an hour in the agenda, but she spoke for much longer. Much longer. Logistically, (if my memory is right) we were sitting in an amphitheater. Everyone was exhausted from a full day, and the women began to look to me for some kind of intervention. Nobody wanted to just get up and leave. Finally, I think I stood up, gently interrupted, and thanked her. We closed the circle and retired to our rooms. Why didn’t we ring the bells? We were not literally sitting in circle.

I want to share the list of “questions that matter” the Conveners created after our 2009 gathering that are still intriguing and relevant today:

DIVERSITY
1. What evokes more interest in various groups in order to encourage cultural and age diversity?
2. What impact do you see the upcoming generation (Gen-Y) having on the world and the international women’s movement and how can we ensure effective inter-generational collaboration?”
3. What would attract a non-dominant culture? Perhaps they have different goals? Perhaps the groups that attract white middle aged and older women want to find out what younger women or women of color, etc., want out of a group.
4. What are we doing to bring diversity of age and racial ethnicity to our gatherings?
5. How can US women be in better relationship with women from cultures far outside of their own, such that both sides benefit from the relationship in ways that are truly meaningful in their lives? Or: What would a mutually beneficial cross-cultural relationship/friendship look like?
6. What impact do you see the upcoming generation (Gen-Y) having on the world and the international women’s movement, and how can we ensure effective inter-generational collaboration?
7. What would attract a non-dominant culture?

THE PERSONAL
1. How do we keep balance between serving others and serving ourselves during this critical time of planetary survival? Or as a suggested “what question”: What keeps us balanced?
What is living in me at this moment?’
2. What piece do I carry for the Circle?
3. What can we do to maintain balance during these uncertain times?
4. What do we bring to life in circle?
5. What connections are we being invited to make, personally and collectively?
6. What can we do to shift the energy within and around us in order to live in harmony with the Divine Feminine?
7. What is sacred in life and what do we need to honor? (this could increase diversity)

BEING AND DOING
1. What does Gather the Women “do”?
2. What does it mean to be doing something?
3. What is the intersection/balance between being and doing?
4. What are we doing to change the world? If the answer is nothing, what, if anything, should we be doing differently?

MEN AND WOMEN
1. What do we need to do to bring about balance and true partnership with men?
2. What do men need to do as well to bring about balance and true partnership?

COOPERATION AMONGST WOMEN
1. What are concrete models and methods that women can apply for working together?
2. How do women work together rather than sabotaging one another consciously or unconsciously? Or as a suggested What question: “What women-to-women behavior do we need to release?

PLANETARY/EVOLUTIONARY
1. What do you know about the “big picture” of human evolution right now?
2. What patterns of newness do you see emerging through the breakdown of our old paradigm institutions?

WOMEN AND THE PATRIARCHY
1. What is the best way to approach and inform women who are still very much allied with patriarchy?

I hope this stirs something in you. As Gather the Women Global Matrix continues to evolve around the world, these questions are relevant for us anywhere and any time.

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