Sondous Attar,

The Circle

The Muslim Women Empowerment Circle is a group of women who get together to help support and empower each other. Psychotherapist and Spiritual Care Provider Selda Sezen, who is completing her PhD in Human Relationships at Wilfrid Laurier University, led this wonderful circle at the Delton Glebe Counselling Centre. This circle took place every Monday afternoon for many months. I first heard about the circle from my mother who was asked to join by a friend of hers. I was both excited to join and uncertain in what lies ahead for me in this circle. Nevertheless, I mustered the courage and decided to explore with my mother by my side. I would have never imagined myself joining such an activity, as it was something out of the ordinary for me to go to. Going to this circle turned out to be the best decision I have made in the year of 2017.

I felt liked this circle did what women typically do for everyone else around them: the circle supported, nurtured, restored and built resilience within me. This particular circle felt like a safe space for every woman to express herself and explore new ideas. For every session as a seasoned group therapist,  Selda prepares interesting and timely topics for us to explore. The topics ranges from getting to know all sorts of personalities an individual can have to what it means to be an emotionally intelligent.

The women’s empowerment circle starts with everyone introducing herself and followed by building rapport with one another. Then, Selda starts the group by introducing the topic and inviting everyone to contribute their thoughts about the topic brought to the table. It is a very welcoming atmosphere with Selda fostering a very comfortable talking circle for everyone to share her stories, beliefs, and perspectives. Every participant is encouraged to give friendly feedback to one another and to respect boundaries as well. Also, the circles have loads of savory delicious treats and tea & coffee!

In the circle, there is no hierarchy. No one person is more important than another. The circle invites deeper listening, reflection, and honoring each person. If you have a deep curiosity about a topic, a concern about a community problem, or an idea for a new project, empowerment circles are a spectacular way to meet with like-minded women for an in-depth conversation. Lately, a major topic that had been a big concern for many of the women in the circle was Muslim women who feel targeted by Islamophobia. Thus, this circle was a good place to share their ideas on how best to deal with such issues.

As some who has a degree in psychology, this circle got me thinking about the idea of women getting together and conversing with one another. Women have been circling since the beginning of time, sharing stories, hopes, fears and dreams and supporting one another in their journey. I realized that through circling, wisdom is gathered and secrets to life can be explored. All of the issues we face as a global community require cooperation, collaboration, and connecting. This women’s circle is a great idea because it is more like an intentional expression of what women do naturally. It is a purposeful opportunity for women to gather and talk about topics that are meaningful to them.

This Muslim Women Empowerment Circle will be running again starting September 2017. If you are looking for a culturally sensitive and spiritually uplifting space where women can challenge and support one another, I encourage you to join! It is a lovely way to amplify the positive power of women’s leadership. So, come sit with other spirited women who are interested in empowering themselves through sacred sharing and supportive sisterhood and enjoy the art of women circling.