• Catherine Hansen

Meet my new friends

This week's EWC circle was one for the books and I'm inspired to share a glimpse into our intimate experience with you as you cuddle into a blanket on this chilly November weekend. The EWC Team has been experimenting with sessions we call Conversations that Matter. As someone who lives by structure and agendas, taking off my teaching hat and setting aside content-focused talking points is a breath of fresh air. Our intention is to allow space for our EWC community to share what's coming up for them. As you pause this weekend, what's feeling important for you? Honestly, our session was awe-inspiring and I am convinced, more than ever, that women have always been ready and yearning for deep connection and conversation. This yearning seems to be part of how we are built and what we are born to do.

During the session, I shared a story about 3 new friends that I made in Doha, Qatar. With their approval, I am sharing a picture from a tear-streaked evening when all 3 of them turned to me with smiles and hugs and comfort that only women can provide to other women. Rasha, Esraa and Fatma are incredible women with a history of living in a conflict zone. My hope with sharing their story during our evening circle was to reflect on the ways that these women triumphed over the trauma and exemplify the attributes of FEMININE LEADERSHIP.


Throughout my time with them, they opened themselves to deep vulnerability by sharing their experiences from the war that ravaged their families and countries. They transformed my worldview and taught me so much! As our EWC members shared their thoughtful reflections, the theme that rose to the top was COURAGE. It’s hard to be ourselves in a world that continually imposes judgment, expectations and a structure of patriarchy that, for centuries, has made us feel “less than” or “not enough”. As we elevate and embody the feminine leadership traits that are innate to us, we expand space for other women to do the same.

Rasha, Esraa and Fatma did this for me on that evening and I will never forget their impact. When we do this for each other, over time, we develop a deeper appreciation for the parts of us that are authentic, real and transparent and we can stop pretending to be something we are not. We can be in integrity with the wholeness of our soul. When a woman (or anyone) presents herself in this way, unapologetic and aligned, she is leading others through her deep presence. Not only does she feel more in her integrity, but her family, community and colleagues can “feel”, trust and rely on her to do what’s right for the whole. Women (and men) who lead this way will always make decisions for the greatest good - and wouldn’t it be nice if all our leaders had our backs in this way? In Circle last week, we all felt an expansion from our own personal perspective and locale to a more GLOBAL MINDSET. Our members felt connected to the women in the story. Through them, and through each other, we sensed an interwoven network that binds us all together, regardless of faith, nationality or ethnicity. In fact, I received heartfelt emails from those courageous women that highlighted this exact sense of connection. We understand each other regardless of our differences and we can feel each other’s love and compassion all the way around the globe.


 

Individually, we are the mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. Collectively we become empowered to shine our light into shadows previously hidden away, revealing space for truth and love. Locally, we are a community in conversation and camaraderie but globally we are an unstoppable force for good. I am forever changed by my experience in Doha, Qatar and I look forward to sharing more stories as I continue to sift and settle all that I learned and the ways it has already fueled the expansion of my work, bringing women into Circle for our global rising.