124 Transcript: A Circle of Sisterhood (with Jalaja Bonheim)

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JR: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 124. We're talking about creating a circle of sisterhood; stay tuned.

Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.

JR: Hey, friends, welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women. I'm your host, Jen Riday, and I am so glad you're here, learning to take better care of yourself, getting kind of a collective permission to put yourself first so that your family feels the benefit of your energy, of your positivity, of your vibrant happiness. Thank you so much for listening. Last week, I spoke with my friend Lisa Corduff, all about the idea of being 100% responsible for our own happiness. Now, I've heard from many of you and many of you said, “That line shocked me, yet I knew it was true and I'm glad to be more empowered in that area.” So if you want to hear about what Lisa was talking, being about being 100% in charge of your happiness, go back and listen at jenriday.com/123.

Today, I'm talking with the amazing and beautiful Jalaja Bonheim, all about the importance of being allowed to speak our truth in a circle of sisterhood. Many of you talk about feeling lonely, not having that friendship and connection you crave. If you have it, great; hang on tight to it. If you're looking for it, you're going to love this episode because she talks about all the things we can do to connect and kind of to achieve that feeling of connection and friendship. So without further ado, let's go ahead and dive right in to this episode.

My guest today is Jalaja Bonheim and she's an internationally acclaimed speaker and an award-winning author and one of the world's foremost experts in the use of circle gatherings as a tool for healing and empowering women. She's the founder of the Institute for Circlework and has trained hundreds of Circlework leaders from around the world, including the Middle East, where her circles unite Jewish and Palestinian women. Her new book, ‘The Magic of Circlework: The Practice Women Around the World Are Using to Heal and Empower Themselves’, reveals the concepts and tools that make Circlework such a magical experience. Alright, welcome to the show Jalaja.

JB: Thank you so much; thank you, Jen.

JR: So let's just dive right into your favorite quote and then hear more about Circlework; I love this and I'm so excited.

JB: Oh, my favorite quote. Well, I had so many, but one of my favorites is definitely the Dalai Lama saying, “My religion is kindness.” You know, those 4 words, if everyone were to hold that, what a world we would live in.

JR: Mm.

JB: It's just such a beautiful, simple, yet profound statement.

JR: So let's go ahead and dive into how Circlework would help us to live that religious of kindness because I'm pretty sure that it would be related.

JB: It is so related; it is so related. Really, you know, one of the ways when people ask me, “What do you do in the circle?” and one of the things I say is, “We co-create fields of love.”

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: “And in that field of love, people begin to heal, they begin to fall in love with each other, but also with themselves; because so often, we're so hard on ourselves.” And so this healing then ripples out from the circle and people go home, their relationships begin to change, women begin to really have their voice and speak out, which is something I think in this day and age, you know, you see it happen; women everywhere are rising up.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: And yet, to really be empowered, I believe that we need the support of other women. And the circle is such a great place from women to step into their power and really discover, “What are my unique gifts? What do I have to do in the world?” it's beautiful to see it happening; it always gives me a lot of hope.

JR: I can almost imagine or even feel as I picture this, the energy of a circle, just women holding each other in a space of love; I… I just love this concept. So where does the idea of the Circlework or the sacred circle kind of come from and how did you learn about it and start to be an expert on this topic?

JB: Well, circles themselves are universal. It's probably… you know, when you think about our ancestors discovering fire, and no question, they gathered in a circle around the fire. So wherever you look, in every culture, the circle is the basic way of gathering in community.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: And so it's something very ancient, and at the same time, I feel like it is so appropriate to addressing the specific concerns that we have today in the 21st century. For example, that sense of isolation that so many people feel…

JR: Yes.

JB: … it just… in the circle, there is such a sense of community and connection and people feeling really seen and really heard and accepted for who they are. And so many people these days do not have that in their daily life. I think a recent study showed that something like 40% of Americans say that they are lonely.

JR: Mm.

JB: It's a huge number. Now, circles are… you know, my… Circlework is the specific way of working with circles that I developed over the years, and it is rather different from many other forms of circles. There's a lot of overlap, but there are also significant differences. Circlework is a spiritual practice; it's a non-religious practice, but it is very, very… that sense of sacred presence in the circle is just so, so palpable.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: And another unique facet of Circlework is that we're working a lot with the body, so there is a lot of movement, there is touch, there is immersion in nature. We're trying to counteract what I call ‘thought addiction’…

JR: Ah, oh yeah.

JB: … in our society.

JR: (Laughs). Yes.

JB: You know, we’re all so hooked into the mind and really tyrannized by the mind. The mind is a wonderful tool, but it's… you know, it's meant to be our servant and it's like become this tyrant. So in the circle, there's a lot of spaciousness, there's a lot of really slowing down and coming out of the mind and then into the heart and into the body. And from that place, when we connect, that connection is really at the level of the soul; there's no small talk or anything like that.

JR: Mm-hmm. So take us back in time before you developed the magic of Circlework, what kind of circles did you experience and where did you learn about the benefits of just being in that sense of community and love and then to take what you learned and create what you've done so far?

JB: Well, you know, I mentioned before when we were talking before this interview that I spent some years in India studying Indian temple dance. And then I came to the United States and I just wanted to transmit to women this sense of, “What is it like to be in sacred space together?” and, “What is it like to really inhabit our bodies from the inside out?” So I started offering these movement circles and it wasn't like I had studied circles anywhere, I didn't really… it all came out of my intuition.

JR: Yeah.

JB: It was really only later that I began to understand, “Oh, this is something that Native Americans did. This is something that is being done on every continent.”

JR: Right.

JB: But in the moment, there was just this clarity that the circle could evoke the kind of energy field that I wanted us to co-create. And then the more I worked with circles, the more I really fell in love with that power.

JR: Mm. So if someone is intrigued and they want to experience this sense of love and community and that energy field, where would they start? Of course, start with your book, ‘The Magic of Circlework’, but what would be the first steps they'd be walking through along with reading your book?

JB: Well, one thing I would very much recommend is, if women sign up for my mailing list, they will get a weekly guided meditation.

JR: Mm.

JB: And these guided meditations come directly out of the circle. So they're very short, they’re 4 or 5 minutes, but they are a great way to get a sense of this energy field that we create and it really is very magical. The other thing I would say is to understand that the circle isn't just this format for group gatherings. I think of the circle as a kind of medicine.

JR: Mm.

JB: And it's a medicine that we all have access to. It's interesting now when you go to bookstores, you see these stacks of mandala coloring books because people are realizing that there is something in the circle, in the mandala, that is healing for us. And so in the book I describe many quite simple practices that anyone can use, even if they don't ever have a circle. And really, when you come to think of it, we all have a circle. You know, so you could sit down and just think about the people who love you or the people you feel deeply connected to, imagine them in a circle around you, and I guarantee you will start to feel that sense of an energy field of love.

JR: Ooh. So imagining them in a circle around ourselves? Mm.

JB: Yes. Imagine they are sitting in a circle around you and they love you and they're just holding you in that heart space.

JR: I love that.

JB: And you're just allowing yourself to sink into it, to absorb it, to breathe it; the breath is really helpful in absorbing that.

JR: So if we were to get your guided meditations on, you know, getting on your email list (it would help us to get a sense of this), where do we go to sign up for those?

JB: The first place to start is probably to go to magicofcirclework.com. And from there, you can link to my email list, you can link to the website of, The Institute for Circlework, which is a nonprofit organization that I founded, and it provides scholarships for women who want to come to the Circlework training and they want to get these skills on how to facilitate circles and they might not be able to afford it. So that is where the Institute for Circlework will support women.

JR: That's wonderful.

JB: And these trainings are amazing. Yeah, because we have women coming from all around the world. We've had women from Africa and Afghanistan and India and Norway and you name it; all over the place. And it's that sense of this global women's community is very precious.

JR: Oh, that sounds really great. We'll have a link to your website on our show notes page at jenriday.com/124. And so, Jalaja, if someone is imagining this circle, what kind of things would you have happening in one of the more formal circles where you train people? Are… are people sharing thoughts and feelings or is it really just a group meditation of sorts?

JB: Oh, no, there is a lot of very deep sharing, but it is structured; you know, there's like… there's a talking object, so only the person who is holding that speaks. And that means that, people who might otherwise not really have a voice so they might hold back or be shy, they really get to experience what it feels like to speak for as long as they want and to be really, deeply heard by everyone. So that in itself is a really profound experience. And there's just this very gentle interweaving of exercises and processes that take us deeper and deeper into ourselves, but also into sacred space.

JR: Ooh, that sounds amazing. And can people sign up just to join a circle without doing the Circlework training?

JB: Oh, absolutely. The training is specifically for facilitators, for people who want to learn more about how to facilitate circles. But, you know, you can come to a retreat and just bask in that beautiful experience without coming to the training, of course.

JR: Ah! And would the retreats be on your website as well?

JB: Yes, it's all there, yes.

JR: Mm, ah, that’s great.

JB: Yes, there’s one coming up in June, mm-hmm.

JR: Uh-huh.

JB: Mm-hmm.

JR: And tell us more about your story, any struggles you may have experienced in life that led you to this and how you found this to be one of the healing pieces in your journey?

JB: Oh, yes. Well, you know, I am German and I'm also Jewish, and I grew up shortly after the war in post-war Germany, which had been bombed to the ground. So I grew up, I'd say, with a great distrust of the human race. You know, there was just a sense that human beings are violent and they're not really safe to be around. You know, at a very young age, I was looking at the concentration camps; and so I think that there was this deep trauma. And when I look back, I can really say that the circle is what healed it because in the circle, all over and over and over, I get to see this incredible beauty that is in us…

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: … and this wisdom and this courage and his kindness and compassion. And also, these days when you look at the news, you get such a negative image of what it means to be a human being.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: And it's such an antidote when you come to a circle and you get to see the best in us.

JR: Right.

JB: So, you know, I really give thanks to every woman who has been in my circles because, without these circles, I think I would probably be pretty cynical.

JR: Ah. Well, you mentioned getting out of the mind, out of that addiction of the mind or the tyranny of the mind…

JB: Mm-hmm.

JR: … how can we add more elements of that in our lives just at home and not necessarily with the physical group of women, but, you know, you mentioned…

JB: JR:.

JR: … imagining, but do you have other tips for that?

JB: Oh, yes, yes. Well, you know, a lot of people feel like, “Well, meditation, I can't do it,” or, “It takes too much time.” And so I often suggest that you get rid of that word ‘meditation’ and you think of ‘listening’ and you say, “I'm going to take 60 seconds to just sit here and listen.” And when I say ‘listening’, you're listening, not just with your ears, it's like there's this attitude of just paying attention; receptivity. So to listen, when you're really listening, you're not thinking.

JR: Mm.

JB: You know, you can't really think and listen at the same time. So that's simple practice of just every now and then stopping, it doesn't have to be for a long time, but just to say, “I'm taking a little break from my mind and I'm just going to sit here and I'm going to listen.”

JR: Mm.

JB: It's so simple and it really does take you out of that thought addiction.

JR: So I've heard it said that the brain has different brain states and brainwave frequencies, is there any truth to that or can you speak to that?

JB: Oh, yes. Oh, that's absolutely true. I would love scientists to come in and measure our brainwave patterns at the beginning of a circle and at the end, because I know that they are completely different. And, you know, there is just this sense of profound inner peace, tranquility, the thoughts that are rising are arising much slower, and at the same time, they have greater clarity.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: You know, I think that, as we slow down our mind, there can be this fear that, “Well, maybe I'm not going to be so productive,” but the fact is that, as we come to our center, we become more productive; because what we say and what we do is really coming from that place of centeredness, and so it's going to be more effective in the world.

JR: Wow, I love that. And I'm thinking of some of the more meditative things I do like yoga or actual meditation/listening. But yoga, for me (or meditation), is more powerful in a group, so I can see why this circle of sisterhood would evoke even a greater clarity and a greater slowing of thought, just by being in that group and sharing energy with each other. Does that seem accurate for how you experience it?

JB: That's totally, totally accurate. You know, there is just this field… sometimes, for example, in the circle, we do these writing exercises and women are blown away by what they write.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: And they say (and I think it's quite true) that they would never have written this on their own. It's like, as we come together, we gain access to these resources that we can't access on our own.

JR: Yeah, ooh, beautiful.

JB: That is part of that what I call the magic of Circlework is that, there is a collective wisdom that together we can access. And personally, I believe that, especially in these times, we need to access it. You know, our indigenous ancestors, when there was a crisis, that was the first thing they would do, they would come together in circle.

JR: Ah, it just sounds so healing. And I think about what happens currently when you gather in a group, everyone is head down on their phone, they might kind of try to put it away in order to be polite, but there's so little deep emotional meditative connection…

JB: Mm-hmm.

JR: … like you're talking about; I long for something like that. So how would someone go about creating a circle if they want to do that just in their own little family, for example?

JB: Well, I did also write another book called ‘The Circlework Training Manual’, and that's a great resource if you're interested in facilitating circles because there's tons of exercises and troubleshooting and instructions in there. I think the most important thing to start with is a structure that makes sure that everyone gets equal time and no one… because, in every group, there are people who are more talkative and people who are less so, and you don't want the talkative ones to take over.

JR: Mm.

JB: So there needs to be a structure (whether it's a timekeeping or that process I mentioned before with having a talking stone) to make sure that people get to speak and that they are not interrupted and that everyone has equal time and no one is hogging the time.

JR: Yeah, yeah, maybe that object like you said, passing around the object, yeah.

JB: Yeah passing… and also I think, even if it's not an official Circlework session to build in silence in some way.

JR: Ooh.

JB: You know, because that's part of what gets us out of that thought addiction into the heart is simply times where there's quiet.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: It could just be a minute of silence, it doesn't have to be complicated, or it could be 5 minutes where you turn on wild music and you dance, you know? All those things are great tools.

JR: Oh, I love it; I love it. I can totally see this for my family. I have 6 children so we'll have more loud dancing. (Laughs)

JB: Oh yes, yeah.

JR: And tell us, you know, you have a beautiful name, I think people might want to know where you got your name, where it comes from.

JB: Yeah, well, you know, when I was… I think I was 28 years old and I was teaching at a university in England and I felt very out of place; I was not… you know, not cut out to be an academic. And one day I went to this performance of a young Indian dancer and she was doing the authentic ancient Indian temple dances, and I was like struck with lightning. I had no idea what it was, but I went home and I said, “Whatever that is, I need to learn that.” And within a few months, I had given up my job, I was in India, I had found a teacher, and I was everyday learning this form of temple dance. And what I didn't know initially, but I discovered over time was that these dancers, in old times, had been priestesses.

JR: Ooh.

JB: You know, and that this was a tradition where sexuality and spirituality were not seen as separate.

JR: Ooh!

JB: And where women were really held sacred. And a lot of these women they were healers, they were herbalist, they were midwives, but they were also spiritual teachers, dancers, poets. So it was really… looking back, I can see that I was being initiated into this path of the priestess.

JR: Hmm.

JB: And then, of course the real challenge was, “Well, how do you live that in the modern world?”

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: You know, “What do you do with it here…”

JR: Right, right.

JB: “… where we don't have temples and we don't have places where women come together in sacred space…

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: “… and where there is such a disconnection from the body…

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: “… and where women are really not held sacred?” So that was really the task that I faced when I came to the United States which was 35 years ago. And it was really out of that that all circle gatherings and all the work I do now with women around the world evolved. And even though it looks completely different than it must have looked, you know, 500 years ago in India, in some ways, there is a lineage here…

JR: Ah.

JB: … you know, of women coming together, saying, “We want to co-create sacred space. And in this space, we want to honor the feminine, we want to honor our bodies, we want to honor the earth, and we want to honor who we are,” so that's what we're doing.

JR: It makes me feel such a connection historically with our ancestors, especially our female ancestors, to imagine almost this timeless circle of a big circle of women. It’s… it just feels so connective…

JB: Mm-hmm.

JR: … to think of it as this, you know, ageless thing that we might have lost for a bit, but I love that you're bringing that back.

JB: Yeah, and I think it's coming back around the world; you know, women everywhere are rising up. And wherever I go, wherever I meet with women, I'm seeing the same realization that the feminine spirit is essential for the healing of our communities and the healing of our world. And it really is a global circle; there's no question in my mind.

JR: Yeah. So you said 500 years ago, these women in India were priestesses and had a space, what happened to that space? Did our world just shift too far into the masculine? Obviously, the pendulum is switching back and we're recognizing, “Hey, we need this feminine yin energy,” but what do you feel like happened to that?

JB: Well, in India specifically, a number of things happened. One was what you have mentioned, patriarchy coming in and the women gradually losing their power. But the other thing in India that happened was that the British came, and the British took one look at these priestesses and said, “Oh, they’re prostitutes.”

JR: (Gasps) Oh! (Laughs)

JB: Because in the English mentality, there was no space for a priestess; you know, you were either a nun or a married woman.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: But these women were, on the one hand, they considered themselves married to spirit.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: On the other hand, they had sexual relationships with men. So the British had no way of grasping this and they outlawed it. And actually, Indian dance was illegal until 1947.

JR: Oh my goodness! And so they had enough carried forward that they could start it again; it wasn't all lost then?

JB: Yes. The first dancers who tried were pelted with rotten eggs.

JR: (Gasps) Ugh!

JB: They really had a hard time. It has come back, but it's come back more as a performance art.

JR: Uh-huh.

JB: Because the social structures, the temples, all that no longer exists.

JR: Hmm.

JB: So you can see beautiful Indian temple dancers, but they are no longer priestesses in the way that they used to be. So my sense is that, in some way, it has shifted to the West.

JR: Hmm.

JB: Because here, we have that freedom, that opportunity to find new ways of expressing ourselves and new ways of bringing our spirituality out.

JR: Hmm.

JB: So even though the temple dancers in the way they used to exist no longer do exist, that spirit, that awareness, I feel it very strongly in the circles I lead here.

JR: Ah. And how does a circle help with body image? You know, you said it's kind of a… in India, it was a meshing of spirituality and sexuality, how have you seen women shift in their feelings about their body image; as you mentioned, being in touch with their bodies again?

JB: Yeah. Of course, in this culture, every woman is given the message that she isn't good enough, that she doesn't look the way she's supposed to look. And so one of the things we come with a lot of times is comparison.

JR: Hmm.

JB: You know, “Oh, this woman is more beautiful than I am,” or all this comparison. And that in this circle just starts to fall away and we begin to really see that absolutely unique and incomparable kind of beauty that each woman has.

JR: Hmm.

JB: So especially in the more long-term circles that I've done, I've seen women totally turn around their body image. I think, for example, of one woman whose story I tell in the book who was fat and she came to the circle with the belief that she should only wear navy blue and black…

JR: (Laughs)

JB: … and she should sort of hide… to hide herself.

JR: Aww.

JB: And, you know, she tells the story about how the love she experienced in the circle began to crack her open and she began to think, “Well, if I'm fat, I might as well be fat in red or pink.”


JB: And she started completely transforming her wardrobe. But it's clear it was not about the wardrobe, it was about her coming out of hiding and feeling that, “Oh my goodness, I can show up for who I really am and these women are really going to appreciate and love and support me.” And today, she's such a powerful leader in her own community.

JR: Ah!

JB: And she credits that to the circle.

JR: Wow.

JB: So you can see how body image is never only body image, you know, it links into that sense of, “Well, am I good enough? Am I worthy?”

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: So as that sense of self love grows, our body image naturally begins to transform as well.

JR: Ah, yes, I couldn't agree more; that's beautiful. Well, Jalaja, tell us more about your morning routine; how you start your day kind of returning to that sacred energy that you generate so often in your circles.

JB: Thank you. Well, you know, I've never been someone who's really great with rigid routine.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: And I sometimes talk about something I called a serpentine way.

JR: Ah.

JB: And we use it a lot in the movement where you're just sort of listening to, “Where does the flow of energy want to go in this moment?” So there are days when I just start with that simple question, “Where does my energy want to flow?” and it might want to flow into some movement or into some meditation, it might want to flow into some journaling. So I'm listening to where that serpentine energy wants to go, rather than saying, “Well, when you get up, you have to meditate.”

JR: Yes.

JB: You know, and because I really feel that our spiritual practice needs to be alive.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: It needs to be vibrant. So we can't just go into, “Well, this is what I do every morning.”

JR: Righ, right.

JB: Because then it will… it becomes stale.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: And, for me personally, I feel that I am in a love relationship with the divine.

JR: Ah, I like that.

JB: And, you know, like any relationship, it needs to be nurtured.

JR: And it can't be routine; too routine at least. (Laughs)

JB: No.

JR: Ah.

JB: Otherwise it's like this marriage where people just have their routines and they're not really connecting in a fresh, open way.

JR: Yeah; oh, that's great. What about those days when you wake up… (maybe this doesn't happen for you, but it does for many of us) where you wake up feeling very low-energy and just not excited to face the day? (Laughs)

JB: Yeah, yeah; oh, that absolutely happens to me. You know, that's where I sort of switch from the divine lover to the divine mother.

JR: Oh!

JB: Because that's where I feel like I need some mothering. You know, I need to feel that I'm just being held and cradled and accepted for who I am.

JR: Aww. (Laughs)

JB: So that’s when I’m like… you know, a mother meditation or… or just ask the mother in me, “What… what would be good for me in this moment?” and she might say, “Eh, just go to the local coffee shop and have a very slow cup of coffee.” (Laughs)

JR: Yes, aww.

JB: But the one thing you know is that, that voice of the Divine Mother is always the voice of love.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: And I think when we're feeling sort of low and sometimes we start beating ourselves up it, and what we need is the very opposite; we need that very loving voice. Which is not saying, “Just slack off and…” you know, it's a loving nudge in the right direction.

JR: Mm-hmm. Just that image of being cradled and held; aww, that's so good, I love it.

JB: Mm-hmm.

JR: I love it; I love it.

JB: Mm-hmm.

JR: And what is your favorite way to connect with your closest friends or your closest loved ones?

JB: Oh, what a great question. Well, one thing I love a lot is drumming.

JR: Oh.

JB: So I get together with friends and we… to me, rhythm is something very magical, and… and there's something very beautiful about holding a rhythm together. And, in the beginning, maybe it falls apart, but then there are these magical moments where the rhythm really comes together; so that's something I… I like a lot. But I also just really enjoy hanging out with friends in a way that's very relaxed, very low-key, nothing that needs to be said. And I just wrote a actually a Facebook post about this that, there's something so wonderful about being silent together.

JR: Mm.

JB: And having that trust with your friends that you don't have to talk.

JR: Yeah.

JB: You know, you can be together and know that you love each other and there's no pressure to do or say anything; that's wonderful too.

JR: Ah, that's true; and rare nowadays sometimes. (Laughs)

JB: It’s rare. Yeah, I mean, it's something I really learned in the circle that these moments of this velvety silence are just so exquisite!

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: Why don't we create more of that in our daily life?

JR: Right, right. Jalaja, what's your favorite book?

JB: Oh my god.

JR: I know, it's not even fair, but a favorite book.


JB: I mean, there's so many amazing spiritual teachers alive today, but Eckhart Tolle is one who's had a big impact on me.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: I really love his teachings, and especially his second book, ‘A New World’… Or ‘A New Earth’, I think it's called.

JR: Mm-hmm.

JB: Just such useful concepts, so simple and so profound. So that's the first book I'd say that comes to mind. There are so many though; my god.

JR: (Laughs)

JB: We're so blessed.


JR: Yes, it’s true.

JB: to have access to all this wisdom.

JR: Right. We will have a link to Eckhart’s book and your books and your meditation on our show notes page at jenriday.com/124. And as we close up today, Jalaja, what does it mean for you to be a vibrant happy woman, if you had to narrow it down to a formula?

JB: Such great questions, Jen.

JR: (Laughs)

JB: I think, for me, it's a very, very crucial that I feel myself part of a web of light, that is encircling our planet, and that I feel that sense of connection with people everywhere who love the earth and who are working together. So that even if what I do is just this tiny, tiny drop of water, it's joining with the love and the offerings in the service of millions of other people. And that, that awareness, gives me so much inspiration and so much energy and love, you know, to know that we are not doing this alone. And despite all the bad news on the radio, there's this whole other reality where millions, maybe even billions, of people are waking up and saying, “We want to create a peaceful beautiful world for our children.” So that connect… sense of connectedness gives me tremendous joy.

JR: Mm, that's so beautiful; I… I'm loving everything you've shared. I can't wait, I'm joining you for a circle by the way; I've already committed in my thoughts.

JB: Oh, good!


JB: Wonderful.

JR: Let's have a challenge from you to our listeners and then we'll say goodbye.

JB: Ah, a challenge; wonderful! Well, one thing I would challenge women to do (not only women, men too; perhaps) is to take just a few minutes, maybe 5 or 10 minutes, and sit down and write a love letter to yourself.

JR: Mm!

JB: You know, so often, we express the things, you know, “This is a problem. This is an issue,” but imagine you are speaking with that voice, whether it's the divine mother or however you imagine it, this voice of love that really sees you for who you are at your deepest level and write a little love letter to yourself. Just give yourself that gift of, again, creating… it's another way to create a field of love and bask in it for just a few minutes.

JR: Ah, so amazing. And taking that positivity just for yourself and then transferring that energy to each of our children and our spouses and our friends; it's just so expansive. Like you said, that tiny drop of water joining with the love…

JB: Mm-hmm.

JR: … and service of millions or even billions of other people; hmm. Everyone, be sure to get Jalaja’s book, ‘The Magic of Circlework: The Practice Women Around the World Are Using to Heal and Empower Themselves’. I think it's a great way to heal our homes and to heal our moods and energy and world, like you said. So this was fantastic; thank you so much for being on the show, Jalaja.

JB: Thank you, Jen, it was a pleasure.

JR: Take care.

I love the concept of this circle of sisterhood and I was thinking about all the places in our modern day life (if you're not around a fire, for example, in a formal setting) where we do have these circles of sisterhood. For example, maybe you go out for a girls night out to eat with several friends and you're sitting kind of in a circle around that table or eating at your home having people around your table or maybe you're in the boardroom in a circle or an oval or you're cooking with friends in the kitchen (oh, I love that) or sewing circles or a playgroup where you're sitting in a circle with the kids playing in the middle. Or maybe you're an athlete and you sit in the circle when you talk about your team strategy. Or maybe you go camping with friends and you actually get to sit around that fire. Well, one of my favorites, a book club, where you get to sit in a circle and discuss a book, but it kind of morphs deeper into talking about feelings. All of these are amazing circles of sisterhood. Also, of course, you've heard me talk about the Vibrant Happy Women club as well; that is the opportunity to have a virtual circle of sisterhood. And I think it's no less important or no less effective because we really connect and have true emotional sharing through these virtual video chats. You can be with women from around the country, talking about each of these podcast episodes and how it applies to your life, what it means for you to establish healthier boundaries or to take care of yourself. So I love all of these ways you can have a circle of sisterhood. So I want to challenge you to think about that in your own life. Where is your circle of friendship, that community, that bonding where you share deep emotional intimacy, where you trust yourself and them enough to be vulnerable, to be authentic, to be yourself in an attitude and an energy of growth and personal development and self-transformation, lifting each other up, inspiring each other? I hope you can find that. And if you have any trouble finding that, definitely be aware that the Vibrant Happy Women Club will open again and it's a fantastic opportunity to form those deep emotional connections. Thank you so much for listening today. I will be back later this week with a happy bit. I will also be back next week with a full episode talking with Carolina Castaños about how attachment styles affect our marital and love relationships; crazy, right? What happened to us in childhood affects how we interact today in our relationship; so we'll be talking about that. I will see you next time, and until then, take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.