We’re welcoming you to this month’s newsletter with an invitation to pause, reflect, look within and consider what you need: here and now. Our month was busy with the excitement of buzz around the launch of ‘Red Tents: Unravelling our Past and Weaving a Shared Future’ – more on this below – and now as Spring has fully arrived in my part of the world (the UK) it feels a potent moment to reflect on our capacity to meet our own needs.
The power and defiance of nature have delighted me over the past couple of weeks. As our human world struggles with the implications of the ongoing pandemic, trees, tides, plants and planets continue their steady cycles to greet us time and again with their blossom and fruit. It seems miraculous to me, that each tree can contain all of the equipment and resources to develop thousands of tiny buds, petals, leaves, new branches.
As Sandhya reflects in this month’s Opening the Circle piece, it can be easy for women to subsume their own needs in favour of those of others. There are potent social and cultural forces that affect us all in our various locations and societies – the extent to which we endorse or resist those forces is ours to define. The space or ability we find to do this can differ hugely, so go gently but know that we are cheering you on as you make steps to say ‘no’ where needed and ‘yes’ to yourself.
I have been reflecting on the power of looking within a little more: like the cherry blossom in the park, trusting that I do have capacity to meet my own needs, that perhaps just blooming, following my inner need might open up a newly strengthened way of being. We’re feeling the growing momentum of holding a space for conversations around Red Tents. We welcome you to join the threads on social media. This month we share details of some new resources available to support your Red Tent, and also welcome new Tents from the UK, Peru and New Zealand. It is a great honour to have you with us.
Opening the Circle
This year I choose to challenge that voice inside me that says, “No, you can’t.” Challenge can seem rebellious, but does it have to be? Can I stay within the bounds of my world and be who I am?
Very often I have used a lens of rationality and expectation to overlook what felt uncomfortable to me. Making decisions that looked right for my family yet losing sight of my being. Because, in choosing a life partner, I had made choices that did not fit the expectations of the social construct around me, I felt that I lost my right to make assertions in being me. I made my family the centre of my existence. I think that family can be a limiting and safe space: vulnerable and dependent. My every action and thought were indebted to the wellbeing of my children and my husband. I made them an excuse for not doing, achieving or experiencing what I felt I wanted. When my daughter turned eighteen last year the prospect of her leaving home had me panic stricken. The sensation of losing my identity was numbing – I lost track of time and being. I felt the angst of a teenager looking for a purpose. I had lost the “me” in my famely.
II have instinctively known when things are in or out of balance in my life, but layers of personal, social, cultural and political desires, expectations and constructs have enveloped that instinct and often extinguished it. I am comfortable in being different in my life choices, yet I now discover how subtle the need to conform can be. To belong to someone, to something, to a purpose that describes my existence. Accepting and submitting to this inherent need I have discovered is revealing my purpose to me.
Attending a Red Tent was an act that has given me a wider perspective of who I am and who I can be and that I don’t need to be alone. The assurance that there are more like me is empowering. I am now discovering that the vulnerable and dependent place I chose to be in has given me the insight, knowledge and skills to face what is to come. To find the “me” in my famely all I have to do is challenge all the voices that say, “No, you can’t,” to evaluate and align decisions to my being within the bounds of my world and still be who I am: to be true to myself. Very often this might seem like rebellion, to which I courageously say, “so be it.” I choose to challenge “me.”
We are fortunate to have Sandhya as part of our Red Tent Directory team, as our Global Connections Lead. Sandhya looks forward to reaching out and widening the circle around the world in all its variety and diversity. To establish a Red Tent or to make connections with Red Tents in your country, state or area contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Box of tricks and resources
Thank you very much to those of you who joined us for the launch of ‘Red Tents: Unravelling our Past and Weaving a Shared Future,’ on 26th March. The event felt celebratory and exciting, opening up layers of new conversations that we are privileged to witness. We’re hoping to be able to share some moments from the launch in the near future, and continue to welcome opportunities to discuss it via podcast, interview or other media: do contact us if you would like to connect.
We are excited to announce that as well as our new book which is available somewhere near you we now have some new resources available through our website.
First, we have a new and updated Poster Design – these are downloadable posters to share for both online and in-person Red Tents. You can find the posters here. We invite you to make a donation of any amount you are able to when you download these.
Secondly, we have launched the first of a new series of resources to complement our ‘Red Tents: Unravelling our Past and Weaving a Shared Future’ book. The first – available now – is called ‘Sharing the Leadership of your Red Tent’. This practical resource takes you through a process to help build shared leadership for your Red Tent. We are asking for a one-off donation of £12 or £3 a month to download this and any future resources we release for as long as you continue to support us.
All funds raised will help support the direct costs we incur as a group of volunteers who manage the Red Tent Directory. We are so grateful for your support as it will help us to cover the costs of running this site which include hosting, email service provider, plug-ins and the expenses that each of us incurs as volunteers in supporting this work. We also want to consider the privilege gap, so if these pricings don’t translate for your country’s economy and/or your socio-economic background get in touch: email@example.com