A few weeks ago, 40 women (most of them from Unity of Wimberley) gathered at the Well Spring Retreat Center in Blanco, Texas for the 3rd annual Women's Retreat. I had the honor of facilitating this year's event, "Women of Power" with our own Rev. Jill Carey.
This past week, Rev. Jill and I brought the 8-week book study class of Carolyn Myss' "Anatomy of the Spirit" to a close. During the class that met right after the retreat, one of our Unity men -- Larry Epp -- (yes, he gave his permission to share this) wanted to know what the overall purpose of the women's retreat was.
I described the objective as this: to spend time connecting and relaxing with like-minded, spiritually-focused women in an empowering environment. I expressed the importance of being in a place where it's safe to share our deepest fears, our biggest dreams and goals and our joys and sorrows knowing each woman would be lifted up and honored for her experience.
With the "Me-too" movement and so many other current world events putting a spotlight on centuries of gender inequality, I shared how important it is that women are discovering just how powerful they can be when they stand in the truth of who they are and say, "No more!" to the old ways of being. Larry's reply was something to the effect of, "I think that's all very great and necessary and I support it. I just want to know how I -- as a man -- can support the empowering take-aways the women had from this retreat. How can we (as men) keep this energy going?" The other men present nodded in agreement.
My answer was simple: You just did.
How empowering we are for each other when we simply listen and really hear what someone is sharing - without a need to "fix" or give advice or (God forbid!) do that "my-story-is-far-more-important-than-yours" thing! Active, open-hearted listening is a skill we (and I include myself in this) can all benefit from by practicing more regularly. Asking how we can best support someone is tremendously honoring for everyone involved.
We are blessed to have so many men at Unity of Wimberley who authentically love, support and honor the talents, strengths, intelligence and skills (and yes, beauty...) of the women of our community and beyond. I think you'll agree that together we continue to grow a brilliantly loving spiritual family!
Now, just in case you're wondering, I also shared with the men present in class that evening that Unity of Wimberley is on a waiting list at Well Spring for the next available opening so that the men of Unity can have their own retreat. Those openings don't happen very often, so gentlemen, I invite you to start planning! You have our support!
Seeing your highest and best,
Associate Spiritual Leader