The newly formed CSL women’s group had its inaugural launch on Thursday night, March 20th. And surprisingly, the event left me with thoughts of Sigmund Freud. Strange I know, but hang with me for a bit—I’ll get back to Sigmund.
Sitting around the table with a group of women of various ages and situations that opening night, I was struck with the power of this gathering of females.
The evening at CSL was a picture of who we can be for one another when we are open and vulnerable and allow ourselves to connect—the delicious experience of oneness. Being a part of that out-picturing of love and acceptance generated my own snapshot of “selfie”-awareness.
Connection is a biggie for me—and my need for it goes way back. My mother saved everything—but money—and part of my legacy from her is that I’m in possession of all my school report cards—all the way back to kindergarten! The teachers comments were telling: “Jeanne loves the other children in class and is extremely social. She makes friends easily.” So, right out of the chute, I’m all about relationships.
Apparently that need for connection wasn’t passed down to me, along with the report cards, from my mother, because she could be solitary and guarded—and probably lonely. She certainly hadn’t cultivated the friendship of other women through the years—and I always found that incredibly sad, especially now that I know there’s a chemical basis for women’s need for closeness and bonding.
Ok, now back to Sigmund Freud. Throughout his career he seemed baffled by the question “What do women want?” (Besides, according to him, a desire to sport some of his anatomical equipment!) However, a landmark UCLA study has cleared up his career-long concern and confirmed that what we want and need is the friendship and support of other women. The fact that friendships between women are special may be a blinding flash of the obvious, but the study suggests that women respond to stress with cascades of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women—something that’s been hardwired-in since the days of saber-tooth tigers.
Apparently the hormone oxytocin, released in frazzled females, causes women to gather with other women instead of the “fight or flight” response that stress triggers in men. When our “girlfriend gatherings” takes place, even more oxytocin is released, countering and calming stress. So, yes, from that standpoint, women are hormonal and that’s a darn good thing.
All right, I think I’ve demonstrated that when females gather it’s quite the happening—a bit like Woodstock for women—but without the mud. Pretty groovy, huh? Last week’s CSL women’s group was the perfect setting for marinating in this chemical soup of connection that we generate when we get together. And, I so wish my mother could have experienced some of that oneness.
The oneness that CSL describes as being connected to every living being through an intricate web of Divine Life isn’t exclusive to women, by the way—it’s in our spiritual DNA as human beings. But for the women of CSL, an opportunity to connect deeply and soothe and calm one another in the process, hit the target last Thursday night. One of the women who was part of the group said later, “You know, I felt that I had found new friends there with whom I could be real and vulnerable. It was such a safe spot to land.”
Maybe, Sigmund, we’ve got something you could have envied!