What happens in Red Tent?
CELEBRATIONS, SHARING CIRCLES, EDUCATION… AND A WHOLE LOT MORE!
The evening comprises of an opening circle to welcome and set the intention or topic followed by a sharing circle where each individual gets a chance to express based on the theme or question introduced at that circle. The evening then ends off with a closing circle to gift gratitude to oneself for arriving and to the other women for their presence and participation in the group.
Education around varying topics regarding womanhood are always included and often followed up by discussions. These topics can range from menstrual cycle education to various ways of dealing with the chall
enges women face through their lives from a physical and emotional stand point.
The Sharing Circle
While other activities happen in the Red Tent, the central practice is the sharing circle. This is what catalyzes deep transformation for everyone who gathers with the intent of acknowledging their ‘less favorable side’ – their inner most secrets, self-criticism, vulnerabilities, and shame. While its easy to love the parts of ourselves that feel socially acceptable, its much harder to love those parts we feel deeply ashamed of.
“One by one each of the seven of us present, a mixture of high-flying professionals and stay-at-home mothers, most of whom have never met before, take it in turns to sum up how we feel. In the past three hours we have shared food and secrets, laughter and tears as if we have known each other our entire lives. When it’s my turn to speak, all that comes out is simply ‘I feel at home.’
-Why women are gathering in ‘Red Tents’ across the UK?
Sharing circles enable us to practice attuning to our hearts truth and express our authentic feelings. This helps us to remain receptive, with an open heart, instead of becoming hard in an effort to protect our vulnerability. When we are centered and secure we find it easier to respond to life’s challenges intuitively from our own inner wisdom – like being calm in the eye of the storm.
If women don’t have a safe space in which to connect with and express their feelings, they tend to retell their latest drama from the perspective of the insecure “mind” in a social setting – such as complaining over coffee and cake. This can heighten the drama and induce greater levels of stress. This is because ‘social space’ evokes the ego (personality) whereas ‘sacred space’ evokes the authentic self – the part of us that is transparent and vulnerable but wise.
Benefits of a sharing circle include:
An opportunity to be seen and heard.
Gives space for true authentic expression.
The chance to be held, energetically and emotionally.
Insight and wisdom received through the witnessing of shared stories and experiences from woman of all ages.
Time to reflect on the past’s experiences and emotions.
Encouragement to resolve past experiences and emotions.
Development of empathy and compassion.
I believe women’s circles can change the way we show up in the world. We share the collective feminine perspective much further than we think, when we set the intention to sit in circle with each other. No longer competing, stepping on each other’s toes, we find our compassion and understanding. We challenge each other to rise out of old patterns, victimhood, limiting beliefs and co-create a new way.
-Ailsa Keppie, Red Tent facilitator