One step at a time, one conversation at a time, one relationship at a time, we have a voice. A voice so powerful that we can create change and that we can be heard.
What a crazy, intellectually stimulating, powerfully resonating day I had yesterday. Like most of my days, the day was about women, but it wasn’t about directly ‘helping’ women or facilitating workshops or running events or using Holistic Therapies for healing. It was about standing still, taking a deep breath and being part of the bigger picture.
I was lucky enough to be asked for my opinions on women, relationships and intellectual compatibility by BBC Radio 4, so the day commenced with an interview conducted by a very lovely woman, the producer, a woman divorced for three years with two children, who shared her journey and her thoughts with me. I love the fact that even though we had never met before, we shared stories like old friends who hadn’t seen each other for years. We compared experiences from University right through to post divorce dating and something shifted for both of us.
When women come together, there is a need to share one of our stories and part of what I feel passionate about, is ensuring that women have the space to do that and are not judged, but supported, that it is normalised and not something that is considered as unnecessary or ‘gossip’ or unproductive. This may go some way to explaining the absence of women in The Boardroom as is currently being discussed in Government as we speak.
The day ended in the Examinations Building in Oxford where every student who belongs to Oxford University will sit and take an exam at some point or another, so the walls rang with learning, silence, tradition and more stories. I went to listen to a talk called Conversations with Extraordinary Women and the room was filled with extraordinariness. Hosted by the Global Retreat Centre, the underlying theme was about using your voice, telling our stories, working in collaboration, building our communities…..shaping the future from a feminine perspective. Lynne Franks, a hugely successful business women with a background in PR, sat at the top table in awe of the founder, a ‘Revolutionary’, of The Global Retreat Centre, a connection which Lynne clearly found ‘grounding’ in the heady sometimes, self-obsessed world of business. So much of what Lynne talked about resonated with me and the philosophy behind Networking Women that I felt compelled to go up to her afterwards excitedly trying to explain that we do this….we collaborate, we support each other, we have built communities, we tell our stories. Graciously, she took my card as I said you must remember me…think of Cherry, Cherry the fruit and please come and visit us. (I’m sure she thought ‘bonkers, bonkers the fruit!’)
The theme for the evening was about change and making a difference and being open about the fact that the ‘old’ order hasn’t really worked and that it is time for change. Change is such a big word, but it needn’t be. We can create change one person at a time…ourselves. We can work together in our communities supporting each other to work in our own rhythms, to be supported in ways that we need as women through relationships and by having a space to tell our stories.
We are all revolutionaries, sometimes in small ways, sometimes by making a big difference like the founder of The Global Retreat Centre. We all have voice and, it was said last night, that when we find it, we will create the most change through patience, tolerance and contentment. I shall definitely have to give patience a lot of work (not a strong point) and in keeping with that, I absolutely cannot wait until our Conference when we will have around 100 women in one room all telling stories, all supporting each other and having a voice creating change….one step at a time, one conversation at a time, one relationship at a time.