Why Hanging Out With Wiser Women Has Been Good for My Soul

Nearly two years ago, I apprehensively joined a women’s writing group. The group, actually part of a faith-based ministry, was meant to be an outlet for women to explore soul-conscious topics together. I was invited by a friend and mentor who knew my love for writing and deep thinking; and also knew it wasn’t being fulfilled. At first, I was the youngest member by nearly two decades, the eldest member being 45 years my senior. I feared we might have little in common. I wondered if they would take me seriously, that I would have trouble being vulnerable and writing from my heart. The truth is, I've always been an old soul, so the Universe could not have brought me into a better group of wise, caring women.

I committed to spending one evening each month with these women: writing, sharing, laughing, crying. At first, I was slightly intimidated by their wisdom and life experience - many had seen a world of love, pain, happiness, and growth I hadn’t yet begun to imagine. But I sensed that I, too, had something to contribute - an energy, a knowing, a zeal for learning, a passion for understanding the human experience, and the hunger for deep personal growth. I truly had no idea of the journey I was about to embark on.

 The tree-lined path on my contemplative walk at the country house. 

The tree-lined path on my contemplative walk at the country house. 

This weekend, for the second time, we gathered together in a cabin nestled in the woods - far from the noise, bustle, and distraction of the city. We sat together, we walked through the woods with nothing but our thoughts and the sound of pine needles cracking beneath our feet. We held hands, we hugged, we shared our deepest thoughts and contemplations. We laughed, listened, and often held space for sadness and tears. As I sat in the gathering room of the quaint country cabin, filled with women who I would have never picked at random to be my contemporaries, I felt tremendous appreciation; I felt at home. I was part of a tribe of women who have formed friendships that span the boundaries of age and personal experience. Women who truly honor what one another think, feel, and say. A group of sage advisers who are deeply invested in one another's development and personal experiences. I have grown so much as, not only a writer, but also a human being because of the important work we have done together.

As I sat listening to each of their work this weekend, I stopped often to take notes on words that struck me as profound. I asked questions, asked them to repeat. But quite often, in fact, they did the same for me. What a concept, that I was not only the student - the absorber of their vast wisdom, but also the teacher. Today, as I reluctantly packed my bags into my car, preparing to part ways with my dear friends and leave the country house, I sat and looked at our experiences with pure gratitude. Though I once questioned how I might mesh into this diverse group of women; I was glad I had taken the leap of faith to show up - flower-printed notebook and felt tipped pen in hand - and share a very special journey with them. Our time together is full of growth and curiosity and has been nothing but good for my soul.