Posted by: ginalazenby | December 6, 2011

reporting in from the women’s gathering San Francisco


Only this morning I met a woman at a tech-club coffee morning which she co-hosts in Leeds. She said she had always been the only woman in an office or in a minority. Recently she has found herself connecting with women’s networks and working with more women and she suddenly realised that she has been missing out on something for years!! She was discovering the nourishing companionship of women at work. We are different especially when we can be in a majority or better still … JUST women.  Every women’s gathering I have had the honour to co-host I get the feedback about how “nurturing” the experience is.  Once we have truly figured out why this is so, then we can bottle it and sell it to the men! They need it too.

the secret sauce of a women’s gathering … feeling at home
It is always a great start when we gather in someone’s kitchen unpacking the bags of food (mostly home-cooked or delicacies well-chosen from favourite suppliers) and search around in unfamiliar cupboards for appropriate serving dishes. It’s a great exercise in collaboration – we make do, we improvise, we show off our cooking skills and we share recipes. By the time we have eaten and marveled how little duplication we have had in the dishes and how tasty everything was, we are a solid community of friends. There are no strangers among us. We all feel very much at home. This is a fabulous atmosphere into which we can now bring our business conversations.  We all have something we are passionate about that we want to share. We want to grow our businesses and make connections but more than that, we absolutely LOVE learning from each other and hearing our stories. We feel so connected when we realise that we are not the only one treading this seemingly lonely path of life transition and we acknowledge the desire we all have to truly connect with our purpose and channel it into our business ventures.

A Women’s Gathering happens in London every month (next one December 14th, Wednesday), Gina hosts a Women’s Gathering in North England quarterly in Skipton at the Healthy Home (next one January 7th Saturday) and a gathering will now happen regularly in Marin County (next one Winter Solstice in Mill Valley).

During our gathering in Novato, Marin County in late November, 17 of us gathered for an evening of food, conversation and inspiration.  Here are a few highlights of our discussions.

1 We are shifting from DOING to BEING
many of us are well-versed in hard work and making things happen (by force of will). We’ve been learning to let go of an old way of doing things and notice that we are coming from a different place. One woman, now an artist, shared that finally she was learning to “be” after years of almost killing herself physically trying to go out into the world and make things happen. Now she spends more time in nature learning the natural way of unfolding. Instead of her being the “driver” that she used to be, she finds things are starting to come to her.

2 Doing business from a new way of being
Many of us have a proud history of being go-getters and working hard but we have been training ourselves not to work so hard. In doing this we are discovering a new way of working as we experience “allowing”, which is totally new to us. Whereas before we never allowed ourselves to do nothing, we now find that magic is indeed happening from being still, quiet and unengaged in usual activities. This new way of allowing business and opportunities to come to us requires a lot less effort but it is needing us to let go and trust.  Simple, powerful, difficult.

3 Healers in business
Now that we know we have to be our WHOLE self in business (we seem to have no choice here) we are starting to use our intuition more openly and even bring healing energy to our business dealings. Because our spiritual life is getting stronger we are finding ways to integrate this into business and do commerce more consciously.

4 Taking actions on our intuitions
We have feelings inside about who we need to become and we all cherished the opportunity to share highlights (and lowlights) from our personal journeys realising that our stories are actually part of a global story of women coming into their prime and moment in history. One woman felt the need to change her name … just a letter at the end, an E to an  A. Subtle but she felt this change was important to reflect the vibrational changes happening in her life.

5 We no longer KNOW
It has been helpful to let go of the need for certainty and to hold on to the knowing we have within, even where we can barely articulate what it holds for our futures … we just seem to know that we will be OK.  We are trying to live more in the moment without anxiety about who we will be in the future. Having to know exactly no longer serves us and we are now starting to embrace NOT KNOWING. This is initially a scary place since many of us have been paid as business consultants for everything we KNOW. We have discovered the power of NOT knowing and letting information and answers unfold in a more magical way.

6 Business can be lonely and we are reaching out more
Those of us who have moved on from corporate life and starting out on our own and those long-established in their own enterprises can find it lonely sometimes. We really need community.  We said we needed something beyond networking … we need a sisterhood! An evening such we were experiencing has been enriching for all.  Several women said that networking with other women was new for them .. in fact they had avoided it before. What on earth did these business women talk about? But now they were finding themselves drawn to the company of women and appreciating it.  Others shared how they have actively been seeking collaborative business partners to bring in new skills to their business as they recognise they no longer want to struggle in areas where they do not excel. Finding the right person with the right skills is making work much more rewarding and the shared experience is joyful.

7 Purpose has been a big driver
Many in the group have been going through life transitions … some for many years. The quest to find our purpose and establish what our new roles might be has often been more important than the financial considerations. As much as we have needed money, the need  to be in the enquiry of where our life is going has been paramount. Some of us have learned how to let go of busyness and discovered the art of doing nothing …. at least seemingly doing nothing because we are now beginning to realise the creative power of just being and not engaging in the frenetic and constant activity we did before. We ALL seem to be going through major shifts of some kind.

8 Business in a more feminine way
Some of us are exploring sensuality and how we can reconnect with our femininity and bring it to our business endeavours. As we are connecting with and valuing our inner wisdom we are feeling moved to bring this to the way we work. One woman shared her desire to enhance the role of women in finance, an industry where only 15% of professionals are women. Another shared how she was suddenly this last year finding her value as an older woman – her years of experience, maturity and wisdom was being valued by departments full of young technology workers:  hurrah!  … it makes a change from feeling invisible 🙂

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