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Soul Searching? Let the New Book “Circlework” Be Your Guide

Soul Searching? Let the New Book "Circlework" Be Your Guide | NextTribe

Mind? Body? I’m well acquainted with those. But my spirit? Not so much. And apparently I’m not alone. “In youth, many women are so busy with careers and families we haven’t time to contemplate: ‘What is my soul, and what does it yearn for?’’” says Jalaja Bonheim, Ph.D., founder of Circlework, a practice for empowering feminine spirituality. “In mid-life, this question can emerge with urgency — we want our later years to feel truly meaningful.”

Bonheim developed Circlework on the symbolism of the circle as “a structure for connecting to sacred wisdom,” noting its significance in nature (i.e., birds’ nests, spider webs) and ancient cultures (think: mandalas). Ideally, Circlework is practiced in a group. Imagine a girls’ trip, but instead of partying, you gather in the round with other soul searching sisters and, through movement, touch, verbal sharing and other exercises gain spiritual nourishment.

But Circlework is also an individual practice, and Bonheim’s book The Magic of Circlework: The Practice Women from Around the World Are Using to Heal and Empower Themselves is an excellent introduction to this kind of soul searching. Here’s what I — a non-New Age-y person — took from it to achieve a greater sense of centeredness and peace. First, instead of the old, bearded guy-in-the-sky God (I wasn’t sure I believed in anyway), I now embrace an inner divinity, which provides a greater sense of worth from within and makes me less hungry for external ego strokes. And, as I remind myself of the interconnectedness between all creatures, all things, I understand that my happiness is everyone’s happiness.

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of this soul searching has been learning to shift from analytic “head thinking” to intuitive “heart thinking” (I simply placing my hand over my heart helps me focus on this), which allows for a kinder, gentler perspective on situations and relationships. And if my snarky side balks when I greet my goddess within? I kindly, gently ask it to STFU!

Nina Malkin


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