Sukhvinder Sircar engages in life to joyously unfold and surrender to the great mystery. She has been in the world of training and facilitation for over two decades. Her Joyous Woman workshops are a unique expression of her experience and insight that come from years of deep work with women. Her life is deeply enriched with her sadhana. Studying and practising as a yogini, she embodies and teaches the Divine Feminine Principle through bodywork, womb work, and ancestral healing.
I facilitated the first Joyous Woman workshop in 2009 in a quaint bungalow outside Kolkata. Eleven of us women gathered to find ourselves in a group setting. The offering was new and the anticipation was high. We delved into what it means to be a woman. What does the feminine look like, feel like? As we danced to the setting sun and the fireflies in the lawns, each of us felt the gift of the Feminine, leaving us charged and enlivened. She still remained a mystery, yet she felt close by and excitingly familiar. I knew she was calling us closer.
Our link to the Divine Feminine is tenuous. We have allowed ourselves to forget her. The journey of offering the Joyous Woman gatherings has been a deep and juicy one of finding ourselves back through her. The Joyous Woman journey is a result of my longing to see women exercise their power and presence to bring balance and peace in our world. It is a platform for women to come and blossom into the fullness of their beings, a springboard for the leadership role they are called to play in the world today.
Touching inner intelligence
Inside a woman’s body lies a knowing and wisdom so ancient, that when she remembers it, it immediately opens up a whole new world of freedom, love, and power. She begins a journey of deep recognition and reclamation. Once she knows, she cannot unknow. She’s been separated far too long from her own body, heart, and soul wisdom. She’s lived on borrowed intelligence, alienated from her original longing. All that was required was a reminder, and she’s ready to take apart the synthetic and artificial patriarchal structure that is cramping her life. She realises that the life she’s living is just the opposite of who she truly is. And thus begins a woman’s journey to claim back her life, her freedom, her voice.
The results of the women circles that happened in different cities were explosive! The spontaneous joy of women gathering in the safety of circles to discover the feminine proved to be very rewarding. The women came, in dribbles in the beginning, and through word of mouth, the work spread. We were touching something deeply meaningful to us.
A very important aspect of this work is the realisation that awakening need not be an individual journey. When a woman sits in a circle, the whole community present witnesses her return to wholeness. The resonance of her story in the others breaks her myth of isolation and separation. The hive mind together accesses the feminine wisdom from the field that is created. Together, we reboot the nervous system.
Yamini Nagakanya, an international OD (Organisational Development) consultant and yoga teacher, shares her experience: “Have you ever felt that you were only a giant head rolling around clueless in a football field, being kicked around by anybody and everybody? That’s how I lived my whole life till Joyous Woman workshops connected me to the whole of my own body. It was like I got new nerve endings, sensations buzzing around in them like electricity, alive like never before. From not being able to feel even what’s going on in me, I have become a person who can pick up other’s experiences through sensations in my body. How closely we are connected—one body, one womb. We pulsate together. Such is the magic of sisterhood that I have now in my life. What a journey this has been.”
Through the body
The biggest gift of running the Joyous Woman circles was the great gush of vitality that came back into our bodies and lives. In this work of reclaiming the Divine Feminine, our body is central. The unrelenting abuse and trauma that we have endured have frozen and shut down our bodies. The only way we knew how to deal with traumatic and difficult situations was to numb ourselves so that we don’t feel too much.
As we began to take our seats in the woman circles and understand the extent of our injuries and the forces that kept us small, life slowly began to come back to all those deadened places. It felt like pins and needles when the blood comes back to a part of the body that has gone numb. And then life began to pulse.
In bringing the sacred feminine back into our lives, our body is the important gateway. It is alarming how disconnected we are from our body today. We live in our minds and thoughts, forgetting our body’s infinite intelligence. Coming back into our bodies is coming home. The journey from ‘I have a body’ to ‘I am my body’ is one of shedding prejudices, misconceptions, and exploitative expectations of the body. We practised many processes to connect with our body, and healing took place. Complete health and awakening are really the same.
Wisdom of the womb
The reclaiming of our Shakti happens when we access our womb wisdom. Women access an entirely new dimension of sacred power. Shakti is not just power; it is power connected to wisdom and love. In her womb, the woman accesses her Inner Authority. She can now let go of the life prescribed for her. She now chooses the life of her dream. This is a journey to integrity.
Says Dr Evelet Sequeira of the Sacred Lotus Womb Academy:
“One of the biggest gifts I received from the Joyous Woman community and workshops is the wisdom of the womb. The very first time when Sukhi [Sukhvinder] played the Tibetan bowls with the intention of clearing the womb space of all limiting energies, the vows and contracts that my ancestors made and were embedded deep in my womb, I felt energy move out of me. Womb-breathing is another practice that brought me closer to my womb space.
“As I practised this connection to my womb, the womb spoke. She set me on a journey within. I delved deeper into my womb, and gently through dreams, through a knowing, feminine wounds of shame and abuse started healing in the presence of sacred sisterhood. I am grateful to have been initiated into the path of the womb and serve many other women to realise this deep truth that the womb is not a place to store pain and fear but a place to create and give birth to new life.
“I am truly blessed that my purpose was uncovered as the Womb Keeper while doing the sadhana with joyous women. I am grateful and deeply bow to the sacred circle and the feminine energy that births, heals, loves, and nurtures. Years of deeply entrenched patterns of abuse are healed, babies are born to couples who couldn’t conceive, menstrual cycles have become regular, a deeper connect between the mother and the baby in utero, and much more; books and creative projects have been birthed. The womb is dark, moist, and fertile just like the forest, and she brings us back to our wild nature. The womb is the symbol of the life-death-life cycle.
“I cannot emphasise enough the importance of community in this work. Breaking the isolation and finding a common language of awakening is very healing and revitalising. Finally, women were finding a sisterhood and breaking the patriarchal set-up where women were pitted against each other.”
Peeling off the layers
As Bilge Inal, Feminine Leadership Coach and Somatic Trauma Therapist, Turkey, says:
“Joyous Woman retreats with Sukhvinder Sircar had a deep influence on me over the years, helping me find my true self and connecting with Shakti inside and outside. JW has opened up in so many women’s lives, connecting them with the ancient knowledge of the Goddess in Turkey, and she has taught us, Turkish women, the real meaning of a sisterhood circle, connecting with our bodies our unseen patriarchal wounds, and limitlessly encouraging us to bring the Divine Feminine to the planet in our lives. To be honest, the effects and support of JW retreats and community support are countless. This kind of space and nurturing centre is what we women desperately need in this patriarchal culture.”
As the women deepened their connection to their body and soul, heavy layers of shame and guilt that clung to their bodies began to melt away. They learnt to mother themselves in nourishing, loving ways that they missed in their own growing up. They were learning to recognise the gaslighting and claim their inviolable boundaries. They were also creating more integrity in their relationships with others, with themselves, and with their dreams.
Isheeta Chakravarty, a Hindustani classical and jazz singer and TEDx speaker, has this to share:
“It is difficult to truly put into words the impact that JW has had on me and my life. It has put me on a journey of discovery, self-awareness, and peeling off of layers of conditioning and trauma. Through JW, I have found a safe space to constantly access deeper layers of myself and my body. Coming face to face with oneself is not easy, and being part of a sacred circle of incredibly powerful women holding that space and container is most supportive for the journey. Sisterhood, for me, is more than a mere feeling of community. It is a space for experiencing the very essence of not just being a woman but being human. Each gathering is a container for wisdom and newer learning, and a whole lot of unlearning, guided by the Spirit.
Personally, I no longer know of any other way of being and living that has the capacity to ground me in myself than the one that Sukhi and the sacred sisterhood of Joyous Women have weaved together.”
A potpourri of self-sustainers
As the work deepens and grows, the community has also grown into a powerful self-sustaining container. We have healers, coaches, OD consultants, doctors, architects, teachers, artists, corporate professionals, shamans, service sector professionals, yoga teachers, scientists, writers, fashion designers, peacekeepers, earth mothers, and environmentalists, among others in our community. These are vibrant, passionate, feisty women. Any woman who has a query or needs help just has to dip into this container, and resources come flying. We have created a world I always dreamt of.
Anuradha Prasad, a Human Processes and Institutional Development Consultant and Dream Therapist based in Bangalore, says:
“First and foremost, being a member of the JW sangha (community) meant ‘belonging.’ Belonging to a group of women who are passionate about their self and the other, connecting to one’s (often) unrecognised passion, integrating different parts of oneself, the emergence of new skills, practising sacred union in one’s thoughts and action, and becoming fearless about who one is. It is fascinating how true emergence of the Divine Feminine in oneself means connecting to nature and community. It is in one’s practice with the external world that the Divine Feminine emerges. Obviously, this means one requires a lot of support and encouragement but also someone to hold a mirror to confront oneself. The JW sangha of women provides all this to me and has helped me in numerous ways. Most of all this means having deep connections with women across the country and outside, who think alike and are available for me at all times. And this is reciprocal. It was through Sukhi’s encouragement and belief in me and active support of my sangha members that I am today recognised as a dream worker and facilitator of working with unconscious processes. Further, my active participation in all spaces of JW has helped me develop contentment about myself and, at the same time, recognise the need for me to walk new paths with courage.”
Women, once connected to themselves as Shakti, are making powerful interventions in the world, the impact of which is becoming visible. Their talents and creativity are blossoming and their leadership brings a new balance and sacred order. One of us, Sunita Chugh, is spearheading very successful nine-month Women Leadership programmes in the corporate sector that is now entering its third year. Yasmine Nishiyori in Japan is bringing a powerful initiation into women wisdom through dance. Gurjeet Heer and Anuradha Prasad are working with rural women and supporting their local start-ups. Gauri Sareen and Nandini Gulati are pioneering indigenous ways of growing food and diet awareness. Evelet Sequiera and Megha Consul are holding sacred women and young girls circles and initiating women into womb wisdom. Asha Kamble is doing microfinancing for underprivileged women. Rukmini Iyer is doing peacekeeping work in a strife-torn world. Sanjyot Pethe and Sonali Gera are pioneering therapy work with somatic healing for trauma release, in India. I could go on and on with the amazing work our healers and coaches are bringing with the sacred feminine in the centre. We are not forgetting her anymore.
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