A few years back, when my book club read the book “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant, we were all struck by the fellowship and sense of community of the women in the story. It was Diamant’s view of biblical women’s society. A society that, for one week every month, gathered together inside the “Red Tent.” Here the older women and young girls would care for, nurture and support the women going through their menstrual cycle. It was not considered “the curse,” but a wonderful part of womanhood that the entire community celebrated together as women.
My book club was a diverse group of women — all over the age of 40, who had raised children, had careers outside the home or had worked in the home. Some had grown up in rural America, and others in suburban New York. None of us had known this type of fellowship, but we all desired it! Our discussions that month completely centered around this sense of community, and we dreamed about how we could establish something like this in our own lives. The problem is that the world had changed so much from “the old days”; today’s pace is much faster, and people move around more frequently. People who you grew up with, including your own family, are now spread out all over the country. Many of us have not even met some of our neighbors on our own street. We have become too distant from our fellow women. And try as we may, we all seemed to have a hard enough time just getting together for one evening a month to discuss our current book choice!
Our group went on to other books and other discussions, but I never forgot how that book made me feel. I’ve kept the book and taken it out over the years and re-read certain chapters. I knew that if I really gave it some serious thought and attention, I would find a way to bring back that fellowship among women again. If so many of us dreamed of it, there had to be a way to replicate those bonds. I saw our world continue to grow and change faster and faster, at a pace that I personally find incomprehensible at times. But today’s technology will likely make this fellowship easier to achieve because we now see and speak with people all over the world – several of us at the same time! As a business woman, I’ve used tools like Skype, GoToWebinar, and now Maestro Teleconferencing, which essentially allows someone in New Zealand to raise their hand and ask a question of Deepak Chopra or Jack Canfield in California, myself in Massachusetts or Oprah Winfrey in Chicago – all from the comfort of their favorite living room chair, without having to travel 3,000 miles.
On a recent trip to Boston for a meeting of Jack Canfield’s Success Principles graduates, I met Lauren Teller, a wonderful artist and the creator of www.silverlininghandbags.com. She shared the story of how the idea for this line of handbags came about as a way for her to give something back to the community and that she was partnering with an organization called Women For Women International (WFW). I knew right then that this was a modern way of bringing together the greater global community of women. This is an organization where anyone can either nurture and care for other women in need or be supported and cared for. I was hooked! As soon as I got back from Boston, I went to the Women For Women International web site and found everything Lauren had talked about and more.