Hello! Part 3! And the last instalment of the “Yaya Fundamentals” series.
So, the ‘sisterhood thread’; what is it? And why is it so important to the workshop? And why is it a Yaya Sisterhood ‘non-negotiable’?
A few years ago, pregnant with my third baby, my birth support, friend and doula introduced me to the idea of celebrating the upcoming birth with a “Mother Blessing” [ in lieu of a ‘baby shower’]. I was open minded and excited to be honouring not only the baby, but myself in a ‘sacred ceremony’ type of setting.
During the Mother Blessing, while sitting in circle, my doula handed me a ball of beautiful red wool and tied it around my wrists. I was then asked to pass it to the next person and watched as 20 of my closest women friends and family each took turns wrapping the red thread around their wrists before passing onto the woman next to them. Once the ball of red wool made it’s way back to me, we were asked to quieten our minds for a moment to remember and honour all the women who had birthed before us, and to send our best wishes to me, the birthing mama, and to the baby who would be making their way Earthside soon [Sunny, my third daughter, arrived exactly ONE week later!].
We then cut the strings that bound us, and tied knots to keep the wool wrapped around our wrists. This ‘red thread’ had now become symbolic of the connection and cocoon of support that had been created that beautiful afternoon and we were to remember this each time we looked down at the thread.
For me, each time I glanced at the red thread around my wrist, I was reminded of the phenomenal women, my ‘sister’s, who were there to offer love & celebrate me, my pregnancy and the next rite of passage I was about to take as a birthing mama for the third time.
This thread was the anchor point for all my wonderful friends to ‘hold space’ – and they were asked to keep it on until the baby was born.
The very essence that weaves its way through each and every workshop [or each and every womens circle around the World!] is the essence of connection.
With Yaya Sisterhood; the sitting in circle creates awareness to connect with ourselves and others, the talking bowl embodies equilibrium and open communication – and the thread? The thread is the anchor that binds it [us!] all together.
The thread is introduced in the workshop during the ‘icebreaker’ in opening circle. Each workshop varies in content, theme and topic- but the ball of wool always begins in my hands as I say a statement.
Example: ‘I love reading fiction novels!” …and the girls are encouraged to yell out ‘ME TOO!’ if this applies to them.
I then choose a young girl to throw the wool to, they wrap the thread around their wrist or ankle and the game continues! Over and over again until everyone has declared their ‘ME TOO!’.
What is left is a gigantic web of wool, and a room full of young girls connected; bound and BONDED through the wool and the notion that they are not alone. There are others JUST LIKE US!
This activity also allows us to spot differences in one another. A chance to highlight our unique qualities and interests. There have been instances where only ONE girl has a particular interest, talent or hobby and it gives a moment to pause, reflect on it and celebrate that! And often times I have heard statements such as, “WOW! That’s pretty cool, I never would have thought of that/guessed that!”.
I then encourage the girls to raise their arms and legs and observe what they can see around the room. We’re connected! […we’re STUCK!]. I share with them stories of times I have had similar threads wrapped around my wrists, what it meant to me and how these threads of SISTERHOOD exist [always!] – even when the thread is no longer there.
Next we cut the wool between us. Some choose to keep it on their wrists or ankles. Others have taken theirs home to adorn their bedrooms. And I have been told another young girl had glued it in her journal.
Throughout the rest of the workshop, I often say “Lift your hands up!” and remind them that even though they can’t see the big, gigantic web of woolly mess anymore, that it’s still there, it still exists- the SISTERHOOD thread of connection.
The thread joins all the girls and myself in circle. And when separated, each young girl stands alone in her own power and sovereignty, yet she knows and is reminded of the support [ and safe space] of her sisters.
Tiny keepsake, BIG impact.
Love Kim Darby.
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