Much of our knowledge about creating a menopause goddess group, we gained in retrospect. Looking backward and marveling at our unfolding over the past five years, we pondered what had made the Venuses so successful. Maybe we were just lucky;” we thought. Or maybe the right women simply came together at the right time through kismet. Is is possible that our Venus group is so special that it can’t be duplicated? We honestly don’t think so.
Time and again, we’ve bonded on the same menopause and midlife issues with women we barely know: on planes, in restrooms, and in grocery store checkout lines. The raw material of women in community is powerful magic indeed. The willingness to open up and share is a part of our essential female makeup. All we need is a structural framework, tight enough for focus and loose enough for the alchemy that results when women come together. With that in mind, we offer a few more thoughts designed to help you create your own Venus group. Remember that these are not rules, simply guidelines.
1. Meet No More Than Once Each Year
Perhaps every six months would also work. We are not sure, since we began our group with annual meetings. However, it seems that it takes us a full year to realize and integrate changes from the insights proffered at each meeting. We didn’t start out knowing this; we initially met once a year because the Venus’s schedules are busy (read crazy). In hindsight, we see how valuable it was to have a full twelve months to embody what we learned at our previous gathering.
2. Meet No Less Than Once Each Year
We feel that we can indeed create and enjoy virtual community via the Internet. After all, we started the Menopause Goddess Blog, not only to expand our community but also to help nurture and connect us when we aren’t physically together. But we don’t think there is any substitute for meeting face to fact with open hearts and arms. Not to be too woo-woo about it, but the energy we create together fuels our transformation into the goddesses we want to become. And it just plain fills us up to bursting to be with one another. We honestly look forward to it all year.
3. Nobody Can Know Everybody
In retrospect, we realized that it was incredibly important that we didn’t all know one another from the start. Every goddess knew some of the women at our initial gathering, yet not one of us knew everyone. Because we had no shared history or patterns as a group, it made it easier to focus on our intentions and what we hoped to accomplish. Too often a group who know one another well can slip and slide into bitch sessions that may be fun but make no forward progress. In addition, we had no preset roles that we enacted within group. For example, Sandy-Venus is the strong peacemaker in her group of close friends at home, and to be vulnerable and open is just not her role. In the Venus group, she is able to allow and even celebrate sharing her deepest feelings and fears.
4. Begin Before The First Gathering
Again, looking back, we see how important it was to start working before we came together initially. We sent out the questionnaire in Chapter One to all our potential attendees, as well as to some women who were interested in the questions for themselves once they heard about what we’d planned. (These women were satellite Venuses and contributed their thoughts and feelings in the spirit of helping us all.)
We thought that the questionnaire might serve as a focusing tool and general icebreaker when we did come together. Little did we suspect that it would serve as much more. The process of looking at our attitudes and feelings, past and present, fostered a level of self-awareness that propelled our Meeting One forward. Our questions and answers also helped inform our group as a whole. Personal information gleaned was as new to each individual goddess as it was to our sisters. Yet universal themes emerged and we knew we were on the right track. Feel free to use all or part of our questionnaire. Download the pdf here: Questionnaire for Goddess Group.
That’s a big enough chunk for now. Stay tuned for Part III of Creating A Menopause Goddess Group. (Material adapted from our book Becoming a Menopause Goddess.)