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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Circles of Love

Nov 30, 2021 03:19PM ● By Sharon Bruckman

Since the beginning of time, our ancestors have been deeply rooted in the tradition of sitting in circles for peacemaking, healing or storytelling. Connecting in community is not only built into our DNA, but also integral to our survival and happiness as a species. When it comes to celebrating the holidays or any other important event, it is no surprise that something deep within us longs to be supported in a loving circle of friends and family. 

Growing up, my sisters and girlfriends created what we called the “Truth Hour” circle—a secret, invitation-only game where we asked each other probing questions and you had to answer truthfully. Only the brave showed up, but the rewards were worth it, bringing light and support to our deepest, darkest fears and secrets. I don’t think we realized back then what a universal longing it is to feel connected, heard, understood and accepted for who we are. 

Before COVID, I regularly hosted New Year’s Eve parties so that I could say farewell to the old and embrace the new in the company of my closest friends. Since the pandemic, I’ve lost touch with some of these people, and I find myself longing to reunite with them and to gather in a circle sharing intimate conversations about what’s important to us deep in our hearts. 

That yearning prompted me to create this month’s feature story, “Circles of Healing: The Power of Gathering in Community,” beautifully written by editor Linda Sechrist on page 28. So many people have been feeling isolated and feel the need to foster opportunities to come together for healing and wholeness. From wisdom, story and prayer circles to support and dialogue groups, these community gatherings invite people to share their personal experiences, find creative solutions to societal issues and mentor each other’s growth.

Over the years, these types of intentional circles and personal connections have enriched and supported my life. I’ve benefitted from grief support groups for bereaved parents, environmental action meetings, The Artist’s Way creativity sessions and oodles of transformational workshops where everyone fell in love with each other. Finding a supportive community—whether it’s large, small or a cyber-circle—can empower us to create positive change we never could have achieved alone. 

This holiday, I invite you to look for ways to bring purposeful ceremony and meaning to your connections. Something as simple as lighting a candle and inviting others to share what’s in their heart can create a safe opening for more intimate conversations. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to form your own unique circle in the new year, gathering together those special individuals that you’d like to get to know better and grow with. You’ll find lots of tips for starting a circle on page 30.

Our holiday issue is packed with other ways to enrich your life during this holy season and into the new year. All of us here at Natural Awakenings wish you and your loved ones a very special holiday and Happy New Year. Make it so! 

Holiday Blessings, 

Sharon Bruckman