I’m a tribal person, an extrovert who likes being around people I like, many of whom are women.
For the last eight years, I’ve lived with my husband and two other couples in a co-housing situation. This means that I am blessed to have two other women at my fingertips, who offer female fun, understanding and life skills.
Over 34 years of directing yoga schools, teaching classes, and training teachers, women have formed the majority of my students. That’s yoga for you. I asked a male swami one time why he thought yoga attracted more women than men. He said with a smile it was because they were more intelligent.
Another area where women show up in my life is my community choir. Most of the membership is women, and so is our choir director.
One of my dearest tribes, though, is my Deep Creek women’s group. The name Deep Creek comes from the South Australian park on the Fleurieu Peninsula where the group met for the first time – 14 years ago. As we’ve grown older, we sometimes refer to ourselves (lovingly) as the Creeky women. Some of us are slightly stiffer and slower these days, but the truth is we are all beautiful in that way of burnished timber.
It’s vital to us in the women’s group that we meet annually. Each year we reserve a date for a reunion at the end of summer. What do we do? We share meals, stories and our life journeys. We drink bubbly and wines from the Barossa Valley, share tips about movies and books, and play parlour games in the evening. We are on our various spiritual journeys and share yoga and meditation practices early in the morning.
Over the years, we’ve experienced major life changes. Some of these are midlife crises, menopause, medical conditions and even one of our tribe dying suddenly. Her presence is still felt in the group and serves to remind us of the preciousness of life.
On the other hand, there have also been births of grandchildren, sales of businesses, new enterprises, and moves across Australia and even out of the country.
Sometimes we can’t wait a whole year to see each other, so there have been extracurricular visits. These include yacht voyages, stays at deluxe Balinese villas and holidays in the Kimberley. Because the husband of one us has advanced Alzheimer’s, we’ve made impromptu visits to Canberra to offer support and say our good-byes. Next month one of us will turn 60 in Melbourne, and I will turn 70 in December. These are occasions that need celebrating (and perhaps moral support). The women’s group will show up if at all possible.
One of the things we do is act as committed listeners to each other’s life stories. We’re not big on giving advice, but sometimes alternate perspectives can make a difference in times of depression, health issues and financial difficulty. We are loving witnesses to our ageing process, sometimes resisting, sometimes accepting it. No matter what, life is better because we’re in it together.
I feel blessed to belong to these women and them to me.