Swan Mothers

Discovering Ourselves through Parenting

Groups Do It Faster

on August 31, 2014

When I was 19, I was an instructor to aspiring camp counselors. One of my tasks was to lead the young women on a hike in the Catskill Mountains of New York.

I carefully selected a trail and hiked it myself to verify the time required for this activity. I reported to the senior instructors, “It took me three hours. But I hiked straight through and went really fast. I’m sure it will take a lot longer with a group of 20 girls.”

The women in charge laughed. “It will go much faster with a group of 20 girls.” I did not believe them.

On the day of the group hike, as I had suspected, there was much laughter, much talk, and many stops for complicated photo arrangements. The girls in the lead took a wrong turn at one point and we had to back-track for a while. It felt more like ambling than hiking. And yet, we were back at the trail head in two and a half hours.

I have since learned: progress and learning are faster and easier in a group. (If you don’t have a group to support you, join mine.)

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

A Rainbow of Emotions

Before children, I was even-tempered, reasonably calm, and uber-logical. I never screeched or hollered as a little girl. I did not pout or throw fits as a teen. I was a quiet and content wife.

I was astounded then at the emotions my children could elicit in me:

  • Explosive anger
  • Exuberant joy
  • Intense fear

I had not known these emotions dwelt within me, yet my children could provoke them with a word, a seemingly innocuous action, or by leaning on me.

I Join a Group

The first formal woman’s circle I joined wasn’t for mothers on the verge of losing it. It was a simple meditation group.  Mostly, we sat together with our eyes closed. At that time, I wasn’t even interested in (or aware of) meditation. I joined because the opportunity showed up for me when my children were small and I needed something – anything – to get away from home one evening per month.

The act of sitting in that circle began a transformative journey that continues to this day.  One of the greatest benefits has been that I am no longer a slave to my emotions.

Just from sitting in a circle?  Yes and no.  It all started there and it has been quite a journey.  (You can read all about it in my book, Swan Mothers: Discovering Our True Selves by Parenting Uniquely Magnificent Children.)

Support for Stressed-Out Mothers

I have been sitting in women’s circles for over a decade. Some circles lasted an hour. Others have been ongoing for years. Each has enriched my life.

I encourage you to find support for your own journey by coming together with other mothers of surprising children. Learn to listen to one another without judging. Being heard is in itself a healing experience. If you prefer anonymity or can’t find a local group, consider an on-line group.

A More Structured Group

If you need a place to start, please consider joining the Swan Mothers Circle. Our next session starts September 25 and is conducted by phone and on-line, so you can participate from anywhere. Recordings are also available in case you are not able to listen at the scheduled times.

My most recent group reported that they felt the support of the circle even when they listened to the recording.  All felt the group we highly useful.
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