We gathered there, 20 women, from all around the world on the night of the eclipse. Indian, Chinese, American, it didn’t matter. We sat there silently in the circle of a dimly lit room, touched only by the soft glimmer of candle light.
“Creativity”, the circle leader whispered. “This is the topic today… you will introduce yourself and what it means to you”. As if it were a self subscribed AA meeting, she started talking as a thinking energy filled the silent room.
“We do not judge, we do not question and we do not discuss”, she finished speaking, passing a white flower to the woman on her left, close to where I sat. A magical microphone giving the power of voice to only the holder whilst the others listened.
If only these rules always governed conversation, I thought. Meanwhile, a lump formed in my throat. I had such depth of thought lost in this subject of creativity. How to express it? This feeling? This sacred spirit?
I looked up. I could see the women on the other side of the circle, quickly searching inward, grateful for the extra time. We were strangers.
Soon, my turn came. Too soon.
“Hi, my name is Henika and I think creativity comes as some kind of external being, one that comes and goes as a moment of inspiration. Giving you only a moment to capture it before it moves through you onto the next person” I said, my heart pounding in my chest. I passed the flower on to the next woman.
I listened carefully to the other women, describing the subject like a drug to which we all had varying degrees of experience with. And we did.
Some expressed never having a single dose, others tapped in and out of its hands, a few concluded that every living moment is a creation and therefore creativity. How beautiful.
But what was this women’s circle? Why had we come there on the eve of the eclipse? What were we searching for?
I had wandered into the compound looking up at the tall buildings for the circle that evening, staring up at the building kissed by the bright black Beijing sky.
That’s when she found me, a small Chinese lady making motion from afar “Hello – are you looking for the circle? You look lost, follow me.”
I smiled, as kindness led me under the moonlight to where I needed to go.
Creativity introductions finished.
We practiced Qi gong, the moving meditation of China. Then we practiced a gentle moon flow yoga, the moving meditation of India. The energy was calm, beautiful, sombre. A sweet feminine aura swept the room as it became warmer.
The small Chinese lady from earlier, had changed into a flowing patterned skirt, a matching flow of material wrapped around her short pixie hair. She suddenly put on a loud beat of thudding music. Moving any stillness from the room, she stood us up and shouted at a room of surprise.
Followed by movements from her entire body, “Shake off your stagnant energy, shake off your worries, shake off your doubts, be free!” she exclaimed.
The same starting awkwardness from the creativity circle arrived for a short second, before being shaken off with the rest of it. The whole room erupted with movement.
Next song, she followed with sharp and strong movements, even louder this time, like a goddess preparing for war. We followed. I could see some women still uncomfortable, but they followed anyway.
Next song, contrasted. 3 counts of dynamic movement, followed by 3 counts of stillness in wherever that moment took you. A true expression took over my body and form, with the stillness to capture and observe it.
Next song, free movement. I came alive. When I dance, I feel an explosion. I always have. A conversation of emotions burst from the seams of my heart. The ones that I so tenderly keep hidden. Truth spills out of my body, through my limbs, around my torso, to my fingertips and toes.
In those few short minutes, I’ve said everything I needed to.
“Form a circle and shout what it is that you want, then go into the middle and dance, we’ll celebrate you” she screamed out for a last time over the music as the circle closed in.
40 holding hands.
The first woman spoke with courage, followed by the others:
“I want us to be brave”
“I want us to embrace change”
“I want us to always have a voice”
“I want us to treat ourselves with respect”
“I want us to be happy”
“I want us to have great sex!”
The room erupted for a last time, joy and celebration flowered through our joining hands into the circle.
We had done it.
And so it ended, each woman embracing in hugs and well wishes. Thanking each other for their honesty, for their time, for having truly listened to one another.
Beauty in the spirit of feminine communion existed amongst the circle that evening.
We had all renewed, we had all created, we had all expressed, that which was hidden deep in our hearts.
I looked up.
We were no longer strangers, as we danced there, in the moonlight.