Introducing the TreeSisters practice of Sistering into your Groves

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TSGrovesBrandThe Groves Inbreath Series Blog Three

Introducing the TreeSisters practice of Sistering into your Groves

In our first blog we explored the area of creating safety and containment in our Groves through practices such as having group agreements and clarity of purpose. In the second we dived into some of the more challenging aspects of circle work such as supporting people to bring consciousness to parts of their shadow or helping women when they feel triggered in a circle. In our third and final blog of this series, we are going to explore a core TreeSisters practice that creates safety and depth in a circle, and that can be used if difficulties arise.

It is our practice that we call Sistering - an invitation for the women in your Groves to drop deep into fully embodied listening and honouring of each other.

How does Sistering work?

Sistering can be done as a whole group, in pairs, threes or small groups. It can be done in silence, or with an invitation to share on a specific topic or a through a general sharing circle where women bring what is alive in them in the present moment.

roberto-nickson-430885-unsplashFor the woman/women offering Sistering

  • Coming into connection with your own heart and opening your energy field to feel for connection with the natural world around you.
  • Bringing your gaze to the woman being sistered and with eyes of love actively look for her wholeness, her radiance, her beauty, her strength and magnificence.
  • Then start to sense her through your whole body - again through the lens of love.
  • Honouring whatever she shares - the words, feelings, body language - really hearing and feeling her; AND at the same time holding a strong connection to her wholeness.
  • Acknowledge the importance of resisting any impulse to rescue anyone who experiences hard feelings, and instead, simply stay heartfully present to them.

eye-for-ebony-341531-unsplashFor the woman being Sistered

  • Whilst receiving the sistering, become as conscious as possible of what is rising up in you in response to being sistered.
  • Name your responses - thoughts, feelings, body sensations, layers as they arise letting them move through and out of you.
  • Staying in eye contact as much as possible with the women sistering you.

Through this practice it is possible to fully bear witness to what any of our sisters are experiencing as their current reality, whist at the same time staying deeply honouring of the truth and miracle of their glorious self.

Here is  a link to an introductory video  of Sistering by our founder Clare Dubois and a recording of a full moon call dedicated to Sistering.

 

Sistering might feel alien for some women in your circle


Many women will never have had the experience of being listened to through the full presence of other women. More typical are the experiences of being given advice, being directed into action, having emotions and feelings dismissed or ' fixed', having painful experiences overly identified with (wound-bonding), or being interrupted by someone else's similar story. As a result of this, it can feel hard for some women to fully take their space in a sharing circle and fear that they will lose connection with what is true for themselves.

gradikaa-702283-unsplashIf you have women that are new to circle in your Grove, bring Sistering in very gently. Break the group into pairs and offer the practice for a couple of minutes the first few times that you try it.
Ask for feedback and find ways of normalising feelings of awkwardness and shame that is experienced by anyone.

Over time you can build up to larger groups so that the energy field can be stronger and eventually you can practice as a whole circle where each woman takes a turn to be sistered by the rest.

 

'I love Sistering and I feel the incredible potential it has for healing and building our beautiful sisterhood'.
~ Jo Powell, Grove Tender UK

 

Being creative with the ways in which you incorporate Sistering in your Groves


Jenny with Stargazer groveThere are many ways that sistering can be used as the format for sharing. Below are some suggestions designed to move sharings toward a particular direction. Invite the creativity of your Grove to come through and explore different ways of working with this potent practice:

Simple sistering greeting: Each sister holds the talking stick and takes a turn to connect first to herself and greet herself aloud 'Hello Jenny'; then move around the circle making eye contact with each woman in turn, receiving them and saying their names 'Hello Kenya; Hello Clare; Hello Amrita; Hello Terra; Hello Sophie. Once done, she passes the stick to the woman on her right.


Paired sistering: Break into pairs and sister each other for five minutes each and then pair up with a different woman to repeat practice.


Sistering around the TreeSisters map: Make the TreeSisters map the centre of the sharing by inviting each woman to reflect on the area that she is most drawn to, most stretched by, would like help with, could offer help with and so on.


Silently sistering: The woman holding the stick remains silent while the other women gaze on her, witnessing her without any words or explanations, simply meeting in the space.


Themed sistering: Choose a question or a topic to share about during sistering - for example, 'how it feels for me to be in this group', 'my relationship with women', 'what I love about myself', 'gifts I can offer to this circle', 'what action or service can I/we take in the community to further the vision of TreeSisters?'


Body sistering: Each woman takes in turn to drop into her body,feel and share what wants to be communicated. This can be supported with an open sentence such as 'what my heart longs for you to know...' Please note that the deeper we drop into ourselves, the more time we will benefit from having to process what we connect with.

Appreciation sistering: A sharing with appreciation or gratitude as the theme - appreciation of ourselves, each other, our circle, our tree, etc.

 

"Being deeply seen and unconditionally received by another woman (through Sistering) is one of the most powerfully catalytic activating, revealing and comfortingly intimacy building experiences that I have ever had. I long for it within every relationship I have."
~ Clare Dubois, Founder of TreeSisters



By Jenny Smith

Most photos courtesy Unsplash
Bottom photo courtest Stargazer Grove with Jenny visiting




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