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Adventures of the Spirit

From Women's Empowerment Day, Acceptance Speech for Woman of the Year award, Blessings Magazine 2022

Why Women Gather

The Ripple Effectby Rev Heidi Kowalchyk
Women have gathered together for eons, probably since the beginning of time. You may be familiar with the red tent in Biblical times where women gathered during “that time of the month” or illness and supported each other. Then in Victorian times, women gathered together around a pot of tea in the late afternoon to chat about their day. Fast forward to the 1950’s or 60’s when women gathered over a pot of coffee during their “coffee klatches”. Today, we have women’s sororities where women hold each other up and inspire each other. But I don’t often see a regular opportunity for women to be together in these busy and complicated times.
Why do you think women gather with other women? This topic is near and dear to my heart because as a woman, I find there is no better way to relax, share my joys and sorrows, feel supported and be inspired than when I am in the company of other women. In fact, research shows my thoughts on this topic to be true! An article on Healthline website confirms there is science behind the importance of female friendships. In the article Dr. Ruby Bash referred to studies at Stanford and UCLA that showed in times of stress, women don’t just experience the drive toward fight or flight, they release oxytocin which compels women to “tend and befriend”. According to the article, that means during stressful times, women tend to their loved ones and befriend other women.  
I can relate to all of that especially as I age, get busier and have more responsibilities. Being with other women helps me feel nurtured and validated. During the most challenging times in my life, other women have cried with me, confided in me, held me and taught me how to come out the other side stronger and smarter. When I gather with other women, I get recharged and my light gets brighter. My world gets better and I believe it spreads to the world around me. I wanted to create an opportunity for women to gather.
So, the Women’s Grounding Retreat was born! My daughter Dana, encouraged me to invite some women to our new home/ retreat center. It was such a glorious experience being together that I was encouraged to do it again. The first Women’s Grounding Retreat was held in 2019 at Ripple Effect Spiritual Therapies retreat center. Women came from all walks of life with different backgrounds and experiences. But the thing we had in common was the longing to be together with other women to connect and share. The one thing I try to do at our retreats is help women get back to their true self and leave feeling balanced and recharged. Each retreat offers opportunities for women to share, connect, go within, express and challenge themselves. One comment from Sheri, a past participant- ”Was wonderful. So great to meet new people and get in touch with myself. Just what I needed but didn’t know I did.”
I hope you can join me at our next Women’s Grounding Retreat, Adventures of the Spirit, on June 25, 2022 either in person in East Nassau, NY or virtually.