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Global Culture of Women – Nashville’s First Story Spiral

First of many to come I hope.

 (image from the GCW’s website)

First a little background on the Global Culture of Women. Essentially, my understanding is that it is a not-for-profit organization based in Colorado that collects womens stories across the globe and the story spiral is the process of disseminating those stories to other women. The purpose is the recognition of women’s voices and women’s wisdom and the connection of women. To break the barriers of age, race, religion, culture and the other barriers that hold women back and separate from each other.

Now, that is my brief explanation – for more information look to the side bar, and there is a GCW link that will provide more information.

Last Sunday (has it truly been a week?), I hosted a Story Spiral in my home. I wanted to start small, as this would be an experimental group where I get my feet wet and learn the process – and to determine whether or not this was something I want to do again. There were six of us total – ranging in ages from 29-55. The other women didn’t really know what to expect. I had given a brief synopsis of the GCW via a flyer and had encouraged them to come with an open mind. That they did.

We sat in a circle in my living room floor. In the center of the circle I, on encouragement from the GCW’s handbook, had placed a drum and two other type of drum instruments that I cannot recall the name of at the moment. I explained who the GCW are and what the night was to hold. Everyone sat in a state of eager anticipation (as it seemed to me) and as I opened the room with a prayer and a chant to bring our voices into the space, a calm presence seemed to descend. We pulled stories out of the bowl I had placed them in and randomly went around the room sharing. I felt so connected to each of these women and to women across the country and across the globe. I no longer felt separate as just Jennifer, but rather as a small yet important part of a larger collective that is Women. We must have read 40 or 50 stories, but time seemed slow and relaxed, as if we had all the time in the world to just be there and honor the wisdom of women.  What surprised me was the need to have sound – not words, but sound to honor the stories after they were read. The drums, (which I honestly thought no one would use) were often taken up in the spaces after the words to honor, to agree, to affirm.

Next, we passed around the GCW’s wisdom card and after each selecting two, we shared parts of our own stories based on the cards we chose. Once again I was amazed and the feeling of connection strengthened. Mind you, while I knew all the women in the room, they did not all know each other, but there was a feeling of trust and rightness in the room that allowed for the sharing of intimate personal details of our lives seemingly without reservation.

Lastly we spent some time sharing our perceptions and feelings of the experience, closed the circle in thanks and shared in a small repast. We all remarked on the calm and centered feeling in the room, and I for one, carried that feeling with me for several days afterwards.  It was also remarked (my interpreting here) how we as women too often shield ourselves from each other in fear and judgment and with petty grievances and how the process of the story broke down those barriers. We do have stories to tell, everyone of us. Not because we are famous, or highly educated or well travelled, but just because we are women. Each of our stories have common threads that we can use to build bridges of peace towards each other instead of shields of war and strife against each other.

The Story Spiral was an educational and enlightening process of the telling and sharing of those stories. Not stories of woundedness from a victim place, but truly stories of our Heroine Journey. And that perhaps, was one of the most amazing pieces of all.

I will do this again. It was as one woman shared “I just couldn’t get enough of the stories!”


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