Women & Circles

tom hancock on design for mankind 3

I read a quote by Richard Rohr once, about women and the company they keep. I often come back to it time and again – bits and pieces of it creeping into the foreground every now and then – because it’s something I believe most women crave at the very depths of our souls:

“Most women prefer circles of sharing to pyramids and hierarchies,” he writes. “They prefer conversation to construction. They will usually choose nurturance and empathy over competition and climbing. They will normally choose connection over simple performance games.”

tom hancock on design for mankind 2

I had a long conversation about this with a trusted friend a few weeks ago. If this is true, we were asking ourselves, what are we doing to strengthen our circles?

In my life, the wrong things. We hide the dog food and filter the photo and layer the foundation, and then we mourn the absence of a true connection. I’ve been here, in multiple stages of life. I’ve been the friend that has fought hard to maintain a trustworthy facade. I’ve been the friend that has felt deeply resentful over something lame. I’ve been the liar and the lied-to, the performer and the audience, the sloppy and the intentional. I’ve felt too much and too little and just enough but at the wrong time.

tom hancock on design for mankind 4

I find it funny how different the majority of men and women I know use the Internet. Men, it seems, hop online to actively seeking information: news, tutorials, the name of that actor in Breaking Bad. Women, however, are often passively seeking inspiration: lifestyle tips, travel destination, parenting advice, outfit ideas. And if that’s not proof of our desire to circle up, I don’t know what is.

We want to learn. We want to grow. We want to listen to each other, to hear the truth from the chaos and the good from the complicated. We want to say, “Me too.” and “Yes.” and “I get it.” But sometimes, we get stuck along the way. It’s easier to climb a mountain solo than with a group, and if the goal is a picture-perfect view from the top, of course we’ll abandon each other in the trek.

tom hancock on design for mankind 5

So here’s a new goal: a circle. A foundation at the base of the mountain, the very bottom. Strong and steady, rooted in the ground. A group of women, passing our perspectives and experiences like a warm loaf of bread around the soul’s dinner table. A few moments of listening – of truly listening – without minced words or snap judgments. A few moments of rest over climbing. Of conversation over construction.

tom hancock on design for mankind

Of circle over pyramid. (I’m in.)

Image Credits: Tom Hancocks

p.s. The online performance.

  • I’m blessed to have a wonderful circle of women friends. For a while we had “Circle” on a monthly basis, where we literally sat together in a circle and shared our lives. Life is busy now, for all of us, but we try to get together several times a year at least. And we have NOT tried to recreate that circle as an online presence – nothing truly beats the face-to-face love and joy and comfort of being able to touch and hear and laugh together. Circle over pyramid, all the way!

    • OMG I totally agree re: not creating that circle online – it’s a good thing to see laugh lines and hug necks. :)

  • Connections are meaningful, and face to face encounters will always be unmatched by anything digital. I have the privilege of being in at least, well, 3 circles wherin I find myself very much at “home”: my husband & son; my dearest friends (just a handful), and my fellow mom friends. I am grateful for them each day.

  • “passing our perspectives and experiences”, you do this with your blog, no? Part of what I liked about reading blogs and starting one, is the honesty of all those strong inspiring women (like you). But of course that’s a wide circle. We need smaller ones in real life. And yes, we make too little time for them sometimes.
    The “picture-perfect” I let go of that since Aaron was born. Although, not so long ago a friend told me about how hard it was to start breastfeeding, because she saw me soon after Aaron was born and thought it went smoothly. I was ashamed I never told her how hard it was, for me too.

  • Good god, is that why I haven’t had a real conversation (in the truest sense – which means listening too!) with a man for years?

    Another thing, although I like a good chat once in a while, I love a bit of solitude. Blogs (slow ones) are a great place to contemplate, and it’s often where I come to a certain clarity about things in life.

    Thanks for sharing this:)

Comments are closed.