What are we passing on? This is the heart of my inquiry. Most in our community take it as understood that our civilization is not running in a sustainable way; we have created a large interdependent system that exists at the expense of the future. When we talk about sustainability we talk about creating new systems that don’t borrow from the future, that realistically and metaphorically source their energy at a pace that can be continued forever from what can be grown right now.
In applying this question humbly to all that I do I have come regretfully to understand in my mind and feel in my heart and body that the ongoing incarnations of “Women’s Wisdom Circles,” “Women Empowering Women,” “Women’s Prosperity Circles,” and other such pyramid structures that are called circles, are unsustainable and likely quite undermining to the communities who would most strongly find themselves identified with the intention of sustainability.
This blog is an opportunity for me to share my thoughts, and invite open discussion, about this movement.
I expect that the thoughts contained herein will be challenging to some, angering to others, and may even feel like a betrayal to women, and now men, who find themselves committed to their circles and to the community they have gained from it. After all, who wouldn’t feel threatened if their community, a community that has also given them a pathway to some valuable relationships, was basically said to be a pyramid scheme? I expect it will be especially challenging to women and men who got in early, have received, and have benefitted otherwise. I expect that those who have received will feel that receiving themselves proves that it works.
For the women, and men, that got in a little later and are sitting in circles that aren’t moving, or have been in circles that dispersed because either there weren’t other women to invite or those other women weren’t joining, I expect those folks will be a little more open to understanding why it doesn’t seem to be working, and indeed why it is inevitable that systems structured like this will always work very well for those that get in early and will always fall apart for the majority of those that get in a round or two or three before the saturation point.
Again, I hope that this experience can ultimately be a blessing to all of us, even to the great number of people who may find themselves left holding the bag. An opportunity to learn about ourselves, each other, and what beautiful intentions were supported by this structure and what shadow has been revealed by its dysfunctional underlying structure. My hope is that we can create alternate circles that are really circles and that truly empower women. My hope is that we can treat this like a rite of passage and an opportunity; an opportunity to say no to what is not in our deepest prayer for the world and to say yes to what is most deeply in alignment.