Creative Soul Seasonal Women’s Circles
with Carolyn Scarborough
The book inspiring us this season is
“Reclaiming the Wild Soul” by Mary Reynolds Thompson
Twice a month from January through April, 2021
Gatherings via Zoom
There is a lot going on right now. One thing I know for sure is that in the midst of times like this, what is essential is connection with our creativity and deepest wisdom. I know when I get too focused “out there” without tending to the feelings and needs “in here,” I get grumpy, fatigued and pessimistic. But when I take some time to reconnect with myself, accepting all that’s there, then inspiration, energy and possibilities bloom.
These women’s circles are retreats for the spirit – a place to renew our creative spirit in the midst of whatever is happening. Let’s find a space just for us. From there, we can step back into the world refreshed and ready…
This season, you will experience:
- A place to show up as our lovable, messy selves without pressure to impress or produce.
- Using journaling as a tool to get below the surface and uncover inner wisdom.
- Intimate conversations about what really matters to us.
- Reclaiming our inner wild soul
- Healing through poetry, breathing, stories, imagination and nature.
- Laughter, because of course!
- Reconnecting with our strength, our courage and our compass.
- Inspiration for the creative soul within a safe, supportive community of conscious women.
In the Creative Soul Seasonal Women’s Circles, we are not “improved upon.” We are already wise, amazing women. Instead, this is a space for renewal and re-invention. A place to dive inward and return with gifts that light our way moving forward.
It’s also a place where deep connections are made – 90 percent(ish) of the women return to the Circles year after year because they are so deeply nourished and bond with other women. New women are welcomed like old friends.
To enrich the experience even more, each “season” we choose a different book to charge up our inner and outer explorations. This spring, we’ll be inspired by “Reclaiming the Wild Soul” by Mary Reynolds Thompson.
As author Lorraine Anderson says “Let the ‘great rewilding of our world’ begin with you, with your pen and your journal and your willingness to slow down, step outside, and let yourself be ‘absorbed into something larger and less tame’ than your small and isolated self.” What better tonic for these times than to connect with the Earth and her generous wisdom.
Using five archetypal landscapes, Thompson takes us on a journey into our own deeper, wilder selves. As she says, “We come to the desert to transform, see our shadows in the forests, follow the flow of our longings in the oceans and rivers, tap into our power in the mountains, and settle down in the grasslands.”
So join us to reconnect with our inner landscapes as we navigate what’s ahead.
What are Creative Soul Women’s Circles?
This isn’t really a book group, a journaling group, or a women’s group – it’s a synergy of all this and more.
We choose a book to inspire the journey (reading is encouraged but optional, because I capture and convey what is needed). The material is simply the jumping off point for our own inner exploration. Instead of a book being something we read and forget, I use my skills as a professional coach, writer and women’s group facilitator to enhance personal transformation and integration.
What Happens Here?
These Circles have a mix that consistently creates magic. This includes a safe space to be yourself, beautiful poetry to drop deeper, quiet journaling time (no experience needed), small group conversation and powerful questions that invite us to more clearly hear our own wisdom. While we may begin the gatherings frazzled, exhausted or off-center, women often leave feeling grounded, inspired and refreshed.
How will we connect?
Put on those comfy sweats, brew up a cup of tea, and join us on Zoom. I will hold the sacred space for all of us to meet in a way that feels intimate and calming.
How do you make this Zoom gathering intimate and inspiring? I’ve been on too many Zoom calls that are the opposite.
I agree! My commitment, on Zoom or in-person, is to create an environment where everyone can feel relaxed and fully themselves. There’s no need to sit like a zombie in front of our screens – everyone is encouraged to stretch, have a snack or make faces. Anything goes! Add to that mixing things up with several small group breakouts and retreat time, and it creates a delightful spaciousness.
Created ease and flow, warmth and connection
I really enjoyed the Creative Soul Circle on Zoom. You do a better job than anyone I’ve zoomed with so far, especially in creating ease and flow, warmth and connection. Your charisma shines through the technology. I’m very grateful and it felt good to write and be with you again. So glad I joined!
How will the time be spent?
We will begin with a centering meditation, followed by some brief check-in journaling and maybe a poem.
Then I introduce the topic and offer prompts to deepen your experience during quiet “retreat time” away from the computer. Head to a favorite spot outside or comfy chair and ponder/write to the prompts.
After that, we gather in small groups of two or three for optional sharing (available through Zoom magic!).
The Circle ends with everyone gathering again in the larger group for final thoughts, synthesis and a closing.
What’s extra cool about this for women outside Austin, Texas?
Typically we meet in person, but the gift of these times is that you can now join us if you live outside the Austin area. So if you’ve wanted to attend but have privately been cursing the location – this is your chance!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I am not a “writer” – will this work for me?
A: The journaling part of the Circle is about 30 minutes, and if you can write an email, you can do this writing. This isn’t about craft or striving. This is a precious period of time for YOU. You are given self-discovery prompts and then time to explore them on your own. There literally is no way to do it “wrong.” No one will read it. And we are not bound by strict rules here (women our age won’t put up with that!). So if you’d rather sit and meditate on the questions, that’s fine too.
Q: I am introverted and feeling ambivalent about joining a group where I don’t know anyone.
A: I understand! I am highly sensitive and slightly introverted, which means creating a safe space is a priority. What this looks like is lots of spacious, private time for inner listening and writing. Small groups and never any pressure to share. The whole focus of these gatherings is creating a space for you to hear YOUR wisdom, not ours. (We have plenty of those other voices on the internet and elsewhere in our lives.) And we practice radical acceptance and non-judgment here.
Q: Quite honestly, as I’ve gotten older I’ve found I’m more particular about the people I hang out with. My time is precious and I don’t want superficial friendships. Who will I find here?
A: The women in these Circles are pretty cool, and the reason we do a 4-month series is so friendships can deepen. And they do. There are a wide variety of women here, including entrepreneurs, therapists, yogis, coaches, spirited retirees, photographers, writers, teachers, professionals and more. What they all have in common is a desire for inner exploration and open hearts. One of the most common comments I get is about how quickly people feel welcomed and at home.
Q: I already know I can’t make several of the gatherings. Will that work?
A: Yes. The reasonable pricing and structure of these Circles supports everyone. On days you can’t make it, you receive the handouts and prompts via email the next day so you can explore on your own if you choose. We also have a private Facebook group for questions, inspiring resources and conversation. (Note: Gatherings are not recorded to safeguard confidentiality)
Q: What is the difference between the Creative Soul Seasonal Women's Circles and the Writing Circles or the monthly Mini-Writing Retreats?
A: Good question! Both have writing. The difference is in the focus. In the women's circles, we write in response to prompts (based on the topic each gathering). Writing is the tool for self-discovery, and is just one aspect of the whole Circle. In the Writing Circles, women join with specific desires, such as writing a book, re-igniting a poetry writing practice, starting a memoir, etc. My role is to keep you joyfully moving forward on that writing path. If you are interested in the monthly mini-writing retreats, go HERE for more information. If you are interested in the small group writing circles, email me for details.
Morning Light Circle – (FULL: Waiting list available) Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST
January 14 and 28, February 11 and 25, March 11 and 25, April 8 and 22, 2021
Daylight Circle – Thursdays from 2:30 to 4:30 CST
January 14 and 28, February 11 and 25, March 11 and 25, April 8 and 22, 2021
Interested? Register here
Tremendous impact on my life choices and future
When I started the Creative Soul Circle, I had no idea it would have such a tremendous impact on my life choices and my future. I had just left a very stressful corporate job and was exhausted, lacking inspiration and just plain blah. Yet I found something powerful about the way Carolyn creates meaning through community, writing and soul searching. This led me to re-examine my priorities and desires in a way I had not done before.
As a result of the Circle, not only did I find like-minded women, I found myself. I am currently in graduate school full time, pursuing a Masters in Marital and Family Therapy. I also have begun painting after a very long hiatus. This experience has been a window opener for me and a refreshing new way to be in this “age” of life. Highly recommended!
Carolyn is masterful at providing the wisdom to allow your own insights
Joining Carolyn’s Creative Soul Women’s Circle has been transformative for me. I was stewing in creative angst – not knowing which direction to take and which of the many projects that were calling to me to focus on. Each meeting served up a huge helping of “a-has” and “oh yeahs” for me. The messages I walked away with – from the material we read, from Carolyn’s wise words, from the shared insights of the other women in the circle, or from my own journaling – were strikingly spot-on for what I needed in the moment. Each week, I became more and more clear on the direction I needed to head and what my heart was really calling me to do.
Taking time to listen deeply to your own spirit is critical in any woman’s journey, but especially so if she feels she’s in middle of one of life’s transitions. Carolyn is masterful at facilitating the space and providing the wisdom to allow your own insights, dreams, and desires to bubble up. And then the Circle provides the context and the structure for you to use that wisdom and insight to move forward in your life with confidence.
It feels good to remember who I am
During the Creative Soul Women’s Circles, I have reflected on what is important to me and have shifted my default thinking and actions back to what makes my heart sing and tickles my joy chord. For those few hours on a Wednesday night, I give myself permission to deviate from the “expected” mode of being and operating by igniting what is true and key to my core. I am not always able to sustain these moments – life draws me back to what I think is expected of me. But finding a reprieve to nurture and feed my soul is a God send. It serves to remind me of my true self and allows me to feel empowered. It feels good to remember who I am at my center and to selflessly applaud, acknowledge and honor the beautiful, powerful and loving being that I am.
Carolyn has a talent for taking a topic to explore it all in a deeper way
It may sound strange to say, but although there’s a short reading for each Circle, it’s not really about the book. Carolyn has a talent for taking a topic, widening it with poetry and other resources, and developing questions for us to explore it all in a deeper way. On my own I might superficially read a passage; but in these Circles, I gain insights that often lead to transformation.
I love your soft, tender, wise, open heart
Carolyn, I love your soft, tender, wise, open heart. You have a quiet power – steeped in wisdom and openness – and a bounty of kindness. I feel safe and warm in your presence, like I can be real, authentic and vulnerable because you are that way with yourself. I feel grateful for this gift!
Really appreciate the safe, calm and relaxed space that you create
I’m so very happy to have met you and joined the Women’s Circle. You do such a lovely job of facilitating, guiding and teaching us – I really appreciate the safe, calm and relaxed space that you create and hold for us. Thank you for a fun, fascinating and expansive year. I’m looking forward to seeing you again at the next Circle, and the one after that, and after that!
There were so many parts I really loved!
The pandemic and Zoom finally brought me the opportunity to be in one of your groups. There were so many parts I really loved!
1) Your leadership with great prompts, resources, discussions, and contemporary use of Zoom. (I had not been in Zoom break-out groups before.)
2) The other women with their wisdom and sincere kindness to each other.
3) Mostly, though, the opportunity to pause in the middle of the day, slow down my racing mind and connect with my heart. I am at the threshold of a major life change and I don’t want to miss any parts of it. Thank you!
Carolyn founded and hosts the Creative Soul Community, where women in the second half of life gather to create lives of greater purpose, vitality and creative expression. She is an award-winning author, coach and mentor. Her style is intuitive, lighthearted and nurturing as she leads popular writing retreats, weekly writing circles, telecourses and private coaching. She is the author of “Backyard Pearls: Cultivating Wisdom and Joy in Everyday Life,” has worked with national and international magazines and has studied various creative/spiritual practices for more than 30 years. Among the places she has presented are Story Circle Women’s Writing Conference, International Coach Federation, Esalen, Seton Cove, Eremos, Unity Church and the National Speaker’s Association.