Welcome to Gather the Women Global Matrix

Gather the Women Global Matrix™ (GTW) is a global sisterhood that connects women through circles. We create a safe place to share our true selves. Meeting in circle, we find our voices, claim our power, and celebrate our self-worth, leading to personal and planetary transformation.

 

Translations by GTW sisters around the world:

SPANISH
Somos una hermandad global que conecta a las mujeres a través de círculos. Creamos un lugar seguro en el que compartir nuestra verdadera esencia, nuestro verdadero “Yo Soy”. Al reunirnos en círculo, encontramos nuestras voces, reclamamos nuestro poder y celebramos nuestro propio valor, en pos de una transformación personal y planetaria.

 

GERMAN
Wir sind eine globale Schwesternschaft, die Frauen durch Kreise verbindet. Wir erschaffen einen sicheren Platz, um unser wahres Selbst zu teilen. Indem wir uns in Kreisen treffen finden wir unsere Stimme, behaupten unsere Macht, feiern unseren Selbstwert und führen wir persönliche und planetarische Transformation an.

 

DUTCH
De visie van Gather the Women.
Wij zijn een mondiale vrouwengroep dat vrouwen verbindt door middel van cirkels. We creëren een veilige plek waarin we kunnen delen wie we werkelijk zijn. In de ontmoeting in de cirkel ervaren we onze eigen stem, recht en kracht, en vieren we onze eigen-waarde hetgeen ons leidt naar persoonlijke en planetaire transformatie.

 

LUGANDA
Tuli entabilo y’obwaseluganda ebuna ensi yonna nga egetta abakazi okuyita mu buboondo bw’enkulungo. Tutondawo ekifo ekitebenkevu okugabana ekitufu kyetuli mu buntu. Okukunganira mu kaboondo k’enkulungo, tuzuula amaloboozi gaffe, okwediza obuyinza bwaffe, era n’okujaguzza ekyo ekisanira era kyetuli, okututusa kukukyusibwa kw’embeera eyasekinoomu era n’ensi yonna.

 

HEBREW

הצהרת חזון: 

אנו אחוות נשים עולמית המחברת בנות חווה דרך מעגלי נשים היוצרים מקום בטוח לשיתוף כנה ואמיתי. 

הפגישה במעגל מאפשרת לנו למצוא את הקול האותנטי שלנו, את כוחות הנפש הייחודיים, ולחגוג את ערכנו העצמי לכדי טרנספורמציה אישית וכלל עולמית.

 

We invite you to download our Guidelines in How to Form a Circle
Be inspired to create your own circle!

Oh, Canada!

barbara-belknap

Before I found Gather the Women Global Matrix, I knew a grand total of three Canadians. All three of them lived in Port Angeles, Washington, when we were stationed there with the Coast Guard in the mid-1980′s. Gail and Lyle were from Victoria directly across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Angeles. Lea was from somewhere in Ontario, I think, and married to Jay, a Lieutenant in the Coast Guard.

Ten years later, in 2004, I was retired and yearning for something meaningful to do. A friend used the phrase, “community building”, and that was the beginning of a new direction for me. Come summer, I was at Marsh House on Whidbey Island with Ann Linnea and Christina Baldwin of PeerSpirit learning about Circle Practice. Anne Fitzgerald was there and mentioned “Gather the Women” and I was hooked.

My first GTW event was in downtown Los Angeles and that was where I met Kathe Schaaf and Clare Peterson from Vancouver Island. The conversation at that time was about having six conferences on six continents, a Big Vision that ran up against financial and logistical issues. My memory is of me sitting there with a little thought bubble over my head, “How can these women put on an international conference in Brazil or Australia with no money?” But in 2006, I was in Victoria, B.C. for the second Gather the Women International Women’s Conference. Hundreds of women came and it was thrilling to see the dream for a North American Gather the Women Conference come to fruition.

In 2008, I went back to Vancouver Island for a seminar on “Building Capacity for a Changing Future”, and I (the only American there) was with Clare. I also went to “The Art of Hosting” on Vancouver Island with all Canadians. My sense was that, being from Juneau, my American-ness was tempered with my sharing of the same waterway.

(Several times as I wrote this, I thought about checking on Facebook to see if I had the dates right, but the Facebook River has gone too many miles to row against that current.)

As one of the organizers of the Seattle GTW gathering, the memory of watching the Canadian women start to say something and be interrupted while in circle is still painfully fresh in my mind. We needed to ring the bell to pry open the space for them, and then extend ourselves to continue our attentiveness until they were complete. The Gather The Women gathering in Peterborough, Canada, was a catalyst for our organization’s growth, and the beginning of a invigorated Canadian GTW.

I am an uber-extrovert and it is a constant challenge for me to just stop talking and listen. This is a generalization, but after several years now of gathering with Canadian women, I have found that I need to slow down and “listen with intention”, as Circle Principles dictate. The humor is often subtle. The conversation in circle is thoughtful. The singing and movement is joyful, especially when Diane Jung is involved. My life is so much richer for knowing these women.

There is a tension and dynamism between our two countries that can increase exponentially the closer the border is, but when we gather in circle, we are women first and foremost. Ideally, the stereotypes disappear while our strengths complement each other.

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Virtues, Strengths, and Values

barbara-belknap

By Barbara Belknap

Note: In my past blogs, I have felt that I needed to write about circles, women’s circles, circling circles – you get the idea. As a result, I have spent way too much time thinking about the blog as opposed to actually writing it. On June 26, I was in Heather Plett’s “Openhearted Writing Circle” and today I thought, “What would Heather say?” I know it would be: Write what is in your heart. From now on, I’m going to write what moves me to write. I hope you will comment when moved to do so!
Barb Belknap

Virtues, Strengths, and Values

My husband Doug and I had an interesting conversation this morning that brought up a whole host of moral questions for me. We have been married almost 45 years and share the same core values, but that doesn’t mean we have morphed into mirrors of each other.

Yesterday morning, Doug met with John, Larry and Bob for breakfast at Donna’s Cafe. All four are retired from the Coast Guard so they have that in common. Larry and Bob are both marine pilots for the cruise ships that ply these waters every summer.

John lives in Washington now and is here visiting his kids and grandkids, but he and his first wife Cyndy lived here in the 1970s when we did, and our families became friends. John always made me uncomfortable when he belittled Cyndy’s Native American heritage. They had four children who all have Cyndy’s raven black hair and stunning cheekbones, and those kids grew up in that atmosphere until their parents divorced.

Cyndy’s divorce from John was one divorce I celebrated wholeheartedly, and I rejoiced when Cyndy remarried a man who adores and values her. They live in Kentucky now where Roy’s roots are, and where the cost of living is a fraction of what it is in Alaska. When we visited them a few years ago, Cyndy joked to me that a customer at the Sam’s Club where she works called her “that white Chinese lady”. The day after I got back to Juneau, I mailed her a Walela CD to listen to on her long commute. Rita Coolidge, Priscilla Coolidge and Laura Satterfield now serenade my beautiful Ojibwa friend in the cocoon of her car. There was a catch in her voice when she called to thank me. Cyndy shared that her sister is now the first female Chief of her tribe in Minnesota. For the hundredth time, I asked her why on earth she didn’t move “back to the rez” as she called it. I knew full well the answer. Roy’s roots had won so Kentucky was home.

Circling back to this morning’s conversation at Donna’s Cafe, Doug told me that John started talking about Cyndy in racist terms just as he had in front of us over thirty years ago. What John does not know is that Larry is half Native American from a northeastern tribe. Doug and Bob knew that, but neither said anything. Larry said nothing.

Why not? I believe I would have said something. Why would I speak up when three men did not?

Nuking my coffee to warm it up a tad, I went into my office and started looking through the file folders of our Juneau Gather the Women events. Buried way in the back, I found the June 2004 file on “Signature Virtues and Strengths”. Clearing my desk, I set up my iPad with the keyboard for some serious (and faster) typing. I went online to Martin Seligman’s Authentic Happiness website*, and I took the test again almost ten years ago to the day when I took in 2004. I was looking for Moral Outrage, but that isn’t on the Virtues/Strengths list.

Instead, Humor and Playfulness was my number one strength in 2004. Number 2 was Forgiveness and Mercy. Today, on July 3, 2014, my number one strength is Forgiveness and Mercy. My number 2 strength ten years later is Honesty and Authenticity. Humor and Playfulness come in at Number 6. After all these years, I still have the same core strengths. They have just rearranged themselves.

What is the moral of the story? We can only be responsible for ourselves, but we are all a piece of the whole and our collective virtues and strengths matter a great deal in this world.

*http://www.authentichappiness.org. or Google Martin Seligman

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P.S. To Sacred Activism

barbara-belknap

“Is Gather the Women an Activist Organization?” That is the subject of a June 8th post on Gather the Women’s Facebook page, and it is beautifully written.

I am 66 years old. My memories of American activism center on the Women’s Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, Black Power, the Americans with Disabilities Act. All of these laws passed in the 1960s were about basic fairness for human beings and society did change in most parts of the United States. I don’t recall ever hearing about “sacred activism”. As a Catholic, I was surrounded by talk of “sacred” objects. When I left the church at 21, “sacred” disappeared from my vocabulary for decades. It had a narrow definition to me until I found Gather the Women and a new lexicon around women, sacredness, circle, center, and activism. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sacred as “highly valued and important; deserving great respect.” That fits.

Sit next to a woman you do not know in a small Gather the Women circle and, by the end of the circle time, you will know her. You will know all the women in the circle because their daily face to the world as career woman, mother, gay woman, gay mother, solitary by choice woman, grandmother, will fade and her authentic self will show up. Rarely have I sat in circle with women who were NOT activists in some way or other.

Jean Shinoda Bolen’s famous quote, “Gather the women, save the world.”, is not hyperbole. She means it. On the inside of her latest book jacket for “Moving Toward the Millionth Circle”, it says the book is “about heart-centered activism and women’s circles with a sacred center”. What we do when we bring women together as Gather the Women is give them the moral, spiritual, and sometimes physical support to do what they are called to do. That is enough. For a start.

Jean Shinoda Bolen in a joyous dance after a long day of serious discourse.

Jean Shinoda Bolen in a joyous dance after a long day of serious discourse.

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