WOT Responds to COVID-19 with Resilience and Connection
by Mary Campbell
At the start of 2020 Walking Our Talk circles were gaining traction with new groups set to start in Great Barrington, Pittsfield, Lenox, Connecticut, and Columbia County, NY. Seeing our work take hold in our community filled me with gratitude, excitement and satisfaction. So many hours spent manifesting a vision was coming to fruition. And then, well we all know what happened...then.
Our model of in-person connection, meant to guide women into the fullest expression of themselves, was turned upside down, as was the rest of the country and world. What would we do? How could we possibly sustain a business model built on contact, communication and connection if we couldn’t even be within 6 feet of another person? For a moment, it seemed impossible. And then, well let me tell you what happened...then.
Then, women miraculously found a way to come together. And in ways that we could not have imagined before. The Zoom online platform allowed WOT to reach beyond the Berkshires with sisters now joining from Colorado and North Carolina. We welcomed more elders than ever into our circles now that they did not have to contend with snowy, late-night drives. Our facilitators learned how to create a loving, online “we space” for our new and returning sisters to share strength, vulnerability, and insight, honoring each other through the most challenging time that any of us could remember.
Then, our online platform allowed us to react in real time as the nation was stunned, and subsequently spurred into action by the murder of George Floyd. WOT held an online circle for sisters to come together, share resources, and begin to understand more fully the history of racial violence in our nation, oft times overlooked or misunderstood by our caucasian sisters.
If you had asked me in December 2019 what I was most excited for, I would have talked about expansion, new enrollment, new members, and our new non-profit business model. Now, looking back over the last six months, I am floored at how strong, how resilient, how connected women truly are. And, while I and the rest of the nation mourn what has been lost, I find that I do not have words to express the awe at learning, more deeply, more powerfully and more joyfully than ever, that which I already knew: Connection is the key to our health and happiness. When we choose to provide a safe and solid structure, our desire for connection can and will overcome whatever monumental challenges might face us.
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Be well, dear Sister!