Spirituality Circle members participated in the Viasaki Day celebration at the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple last April.

Spirituality Circle members participated in the Viasaki Day celebration at the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple last April.

Planting seeds of peace in a climate of war

We live in a beautiful world. Here in the Cariboo, spring has arrived.

Margaret-Anne Enders

Special to the Tribune/Advisor

We live in a beautiful world. Here in the Cariboo, spring has arrived. The robins have returned, the leaves are budding on the trees, and the tulips and garlic are eight inches high.

However, alongside the beauty of the world comes also the pain of the world.

It is a delicate balancing act to both appreciate the beauty and to remain present and compassionate in the midst of the pain and struggles.

The struggles are becoming more apparent.

With the extension and expansion of the Canadian military mission against ISIS in the Middle East and the introduction and fast-tracking of Bill C51 through parliament, the culture of fear is on the rise.

Once fear takes hold, it starts to spread: fear of the future, fear of change, fear of “the other.”

Even here in Williams Lake, far from Parliament Hill, far from the hustle and bustle of a cosmopolitan metropolis, even here there is fear.

It is this climate of fear that is challenged and changed by the women involved with the Women’s Spirituality Circle (WSC).

The Women’s Spirituality Circle, a program of the Canadian Mental Health Association Cariboo Chilcotin Branch, is comprised of women throughout the Cariboo who hail from many different religious and spiritual traditions: – Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, First Nations, Messianic Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, and Yogic – as well as many women whose spiritual lives and beliefs are less-defined.

For the past year and a half, the WSC has been meeting to plan inter-faith bridging events and to increase opportunities for women of diverse spiritual traditions to meet and grow in relationship.

Each month, we attend at least one ceremony or spiritual event celebrated by one of the faith groups or spiritual leaders in the area.  We’ve gone to Sikh celebrations, experienced connection with horses and in nature, walked the labyrinth at the United Church, paraded with lanterns on Winter Solstice, and joined with the Buddhist community for the Dalai Lama’s birthday celebration.

We in the Women’s Spirituality Circle are choosing not to live in fear.  We are choosing to experience the excitement of learning and the joy of building relationships with our neighbours.

On April 17 and 18, the WSC is hosting our second annual gathering in Williams Lake. The theme is Making Peace. Women have a long and strong tradition as peace-makers.

In historical conflicts, in nurturing and raising families, in the women’s and environmental movements, women have stood up to injustice, calmed ruffled feathers, kissed tears from skinned knees, and invoked their strong spirits in an effort to bring peace to our world and to their own lives.

We extend an invitation to all women to join us for “Making Peace.”

We will share stories and experiences regarding spiritual practices that promote peace, women’s roles in peace-making efforts, forgiveness, compassion, peace during dark times, and peace and environmental sustainability.

Creative workshops will enliven your spirit.

The gathering is open to all women – those who have a strong faith in an organized religion, those who would call themselves “spiritual, but not religious,” those who are seeking, and those who have no spiritual path at all.

In the current climate of fear and uncertainty, we aim to support and inspire women with rich conversations, nourishing food, a good dose of laughter, and strong connections.

Tickets can be purchased at CMHA, Smashin’ Smoothies, and Dollar Dollar and are only available until April 10.