When writer and mama to two year old Grace, Clare Reid, was invited into her first Happy Mama Meditation Circle, she found a place of connection and insight she didn’t realise she was needing in her busy mama life.
This is a story about my first meditation group.
Sure, I have laid in savasana after a strenuous yoga class that was peppered with spiritual messages and felt my muscles fall into the ground, thrumming after the pulling and panting of the 90-minute class, being guided through a relaxation. I’ve always found this deeply peaceful, even if it was often done in collaboration with a to-do list repetition that I was never really able to escape.
But to be in a circle with women and set intentions and meditate together under a full moon surrounded by crystals and candlelight– this was a first for me.
It instantly felt unlike the usual adult-new-friendship gathering. There wasn’t that feeling of trying to find common ground, to see if you have children the same age, schedules that might fit in a playdate next week, or jobs that carry similar burdens or stresses. There was none of the usual playground checklist we mamas seem to go through: “Oh, your child doesn’t sleep either? Great, let’s complain together and catch up every week to do it again.”
This meeting was different. This meeting already had a feeling of intention. We were all women – mostly mothers – there to meditate together. We knew the agenda and, mostly, we were entirely new to the experience. We’d gathered in a mama’s home, and the energy around us quite calm and anticipatory and ready; ready to start a new conversation, to start to tackle some of our life experiences with a new energy. Something I was very ready for it.
As we took our seats on the floor, I noticed a plate with delicate grey ash in the centre along with candles, pencils, and paper. And the silence – for a change, I didn’t feel the need to fill it. The space just didn’t ask for it. We were all happy to be with each other and find a place in ourselves that was ready to take in the guide. Looking back now, I think it’s quite impressive – or rather, intuitive – that a group of meditation-novices settled into their seats with patience, openness and readiness, without any need to look for the usual social conventions we would reach for when in a group of new acquaintances.
And then, the meditation. As the full moon splashed light on our space and the candles danced in the ethereal light, we were gently guided through the process. The full moon, we were told, is a masculine energy (did I mention I was a novice to all of this?) and therefore we needed to complement that with our divine feminine attributes of intuition, nurturing, mindfulness, creativeness, and patience. It triggered something in me and my life: this need for yin and yang, for complementing both energies and using them in their positive expressions.I had recently been journaling about a disconnect to the word ‘woman’ when it is attached to my name. Could this by why? Am I working with a masculine energy and not balancing that mindfully?
Let’s be honest here – even with the insights into my feminine energy, my mind still struggled with those endless thoughts. How was Grace sleeping? Did I remember to tell Brendon I had a meeting on Thursday? Was there enough flour to make banana bread before the bruised fruit turned from playfully punched to out-right mutilated? The chatter was still there, but with the guiding, I could come back to the focus again.
After the meditation, the silence amongst the women returned again. No-one felt the need to fill the space with our thoughts, or bond over the same struggles and successes. I just sat and let it be, along with the other women. Just letting the whole experience settle in.
Then, it was time to move forward. We each took two squares of paper and were asked to write something we wanted to let go of on one square and something we wanted to invite in on the other. Our meditation guide, Mette, also reiterated the continuing theme of the evening: trust. That this circle was a place of trust and safety and that if another woman decided to share her intentions, we wouldn’t comment or discuss or share insight or opinion – we would just send quiet acknowledgement with our minds and our hearts. While seemingly a small ask, this, for me, was quite a big challenge. When I hear a friend, or colleague, or family member, or fellow park-mother tell me their story, I have a tendency to jump in with advice or a shared experience, or, at times, an inappropriate joke. But to be quiet and just let the intention ‘be’ … this was new.
Once we started to share our little squares of insight into our lives, our small group may as well have joined to become one fused being. We were so similar and so instantaneously connected; our fears, our anxieties, our vulnerabilities, our hopes, our loves. The little squares of paper that were no bigger than a toddler’s sticky palm read with messages of loneliness, feelings of imposter syndrome, holding onto pain that had rationally passed, doubt in a creative passion, questioning worth and the strength of relationships. Burning these words with the pale fire from a tea-light candle and letting go of them while inviting in confidence, peace, learning, stability, and peace with the same ritual, was unseemingly powerful.
I asked to let go of a part of me that was no longer serving me and my path. She is brash, and loud at times, a bit obnoxious, and lead with an ego that really just drains me. She was rife in my 20’s and it is now time for me to let go of her, or at least temper her with a bit of subtly and awareness. She has the power to replace my deep thinking with surface-level issues or complaints. I let go of her in that group.
And then, in the light of the full moon, I asked to invite in a deeper articulation of my craft, nuanced expression, a succinct method to share this human experience. I invited in continued learning and a depth of creative expression. I burnt that too and it went up a lot faster than the ego square. I guess some things are just a slower burn.
Five out of six of the women in the circle were mothers to children of varying ages, but that is not what brought us together. We didn’t need that attachment to form relationships or find commonality or even define our own identity. We are all women, and we are all carrying things that fracture our happiness. And we are all ready to let go of them and fill the space with light and love.
And there, in the background of our circle, was the constant sound of frogs. Like a soundtrack to our gathering, the frogs kept calling us all night. Since then, I’ve learnt more about the significance of the frog, and have discovered that it is a reminder of the transient nature of our lives. As Elena Harris, from Spirit Animal, describes: “As a symbol of transition and transformation, this spirit animal supports us in times of change,” she continues. “Strongly associated with the water element, it connects us with the world of emotions and feminine energies, as well as the process of cleansing, whether it’s physical, emotional, or more spiritual or energetic.”
How divinely perfect.
In that circle, I did have a deeper awareness of my surroundings and began to tune into a life beyond my own rush and impatience. My wish to sit and be with whatever is offered in that moment; whether it is cousins giggling in the sand, hot nights spent eating outside, a cuddle, a drawing, the smell of onion and garlic cooking, or a melodic frog symphony.
Want to be a part of your own Happy Mama Meditation Circle? Starting in March, you can join an online membership based on the cycles of the moon which will include a chance to join together with the other Happy Mamas in your area each month in a meditation circle!
Clare Reid is a writer and mama. You can read more of her work over at She says, She says.