Creating Connection through Community
A first step in the battle against female isolation
By Olivia Beardsmore
Isolation, loneliness, a sense of exclusion. Mental health charities tell us that these are three significant contributors to recent massive increase in instances of depression. More than ever, people develop a feeling of ‘overwhelm’ – the feeling that the world is piling on top of them; that – here’s the key – they are left to cope … alone.
The Blitz Spirit
“That’s the difference these days. We’ve lost the ‘Blitz spirit’. Back in the day, you could leave your front door open. As kids, we’d be in and out of each other’s living rooms or kicking a ball about in the street”. You’ve heard this kind of talk before. Depending on your age, it could be your mother, your grandmother or great-grandmother, reminiscing about the old days.
Let’s go further afield – not back in time, but across the continents. You’ve seen the images or film footage. Maybe you’ve even witnessed it for yourself. I have trekked across the Great Rift Valley desert with a group of Maasai women herding donkeys. I’ve had the joyous pleasure of seeing them laugh, chat and sing as they bathed, washed their clothes and collected water.
The Blitz spirit, the sense of mutual support in communities. That’s what this article is about – and specifically, how these factors affect women.
Female connection – a non-negotiable necessity
Brene Brown wrote a remarkable book – ‘Braving the Wilderness’. Brene writes about the devastating impact of loneliness – how it can affect our life expectancy to the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. For we women, friendship and connection with others of our sex is a non-negotiable necessity. We’ve become isolated from our own community of women.
I’m not anti-men. Far from it. I was raised by my Dad throughout my teenage years. I have one daughter and three sons, many of my best friends are men and I’ve almost always worked in a male-dominated environment. However, experience tells me that many of the challenges women face today are best resolved by their fellow humankind – (note word ‘kind’ so neatly tucked in there) – other women.
The collective wound
A deep collective wound has been epigenetically programmed into our DNA as a consequence of the burning times – the European witch hunt. Our disconnection is a result of women being forced to betray each other for their survival. Women began to distrust one another over a two-hundred-year period of time when the witch hunt resulted in broken female interconnectedness. Knowledge of the land, wild medicine, traditions and wisdoms were no longer handed down the generations as women feared that their sacred skills, intuition and knowledge could lead to their death. They were afraid and hid their power.
Woman from around the world are re-igniting their feminine power from within and burning in a new, fearless, powerful radiance. Women are feeling the resonance to connect as an essential part of their life, growth and healing. As women begin to gather, they may not fully understand or be able to articulate their reasoning, but their intuition and instincts are guiding their way. This collective connectedness is healing and empowering. A woman’s power comes from within and as she radiates, the world illuminates.
Society gets in the way
By our very nature, we women are perfectly placed to understand our issues and challenges. We’re great at empathy and mutual support. But occasionally (and increasingly) the very fabric of society seems to get in the way – preventing us from coming together and doing what we do best – supporting each other. It could be high-rise housing, financial or time constraints, child-rearing pressures – any number of factors. And this is why I’d like to introduce you to …
… Burning Woman – creating connection through community
Burning Woman is a festival for women by women to propel this heartfelt necessity to connect. It’s a festival of respect, support, love and … connection. It’s a festival which provides the space and opportunity for women to connect on a mutually supportive level. At Burning Woman, women will gather together, share one another’s company, heal, practice skills, try new crafts, dance, sing and hear motivational talks by inspirational women leaders.
This event will give us the space and time to be together, to support one another, sharing talents and experiences – uplifting and edifying each and every one of us as we travel life’s road. And, as we move on beyond the Burning Woman Festival, we’ll carry that torch of community. With what we’ve learned about connecting, about resilience and mutual support, we’ll all become proud burning beacons of female empowerment.
Join us at the Burning Woman Festival and ignite a global flame for all women.