International Woman’s Day – 2020 reflections

International Woman’s Day – 2020 reflections

As women around the world celebrated the strides they have achieved across sectors, Solaris Cancer Care wellness facilitator, Cathy Brown, reflected on the courage and perseverance of those who have faced cancer in their stead.

For her, International Women’s Day isn’t just a day. It’s a movement that emphasises the struggle women, particularly those diagnosed with cancer, undergo in order to survive, recover, and support their families. Ms. Brown noted that Solaris Cancer Care’s Women’s Circle represents a crucial setting in which the power of the woman is recognised.

“I have often reflected back over the last couple of decades and thought about the hundreds of women who have come through the women’s groups I have facilitated; I remember them with fondness.”

“What an honour it has been to witness their journeys and then pass on the insightful wisdom we have discovered together, to the women who now find themselves seeking more in their lives,” Ms. Brown said.

The Women’s Circle at Solaris is an open group that brings female cancer patients together in a relaxed setting to share, converse, explore arts, meditate and have a good time while forging meaningful relationships. Ms. Brown notes that the group is “diverse” with women from all walks of life and nationalities. Some of them are consistent participants of the group while others drop in when they need to connect.

Encouragement is a core quality within the circle. “[We] have the ability to really listen to each other – beyond words and without judgement. We often laugh together, relaying stories about our lives, which may perplex many other people but make real sense to us. We have cried together when the unexpected has happened and nobody else really understands.”

It is this deep sense of compassion that embodies the group’s “gentle but feminine energy” of those who know there is more to life and aren’t afraid to be fearless. When asked if she could break down the group’s strength into one idea, Ms. Brown didn’t hesitate:

“I read a quote by Christiane Northrup, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom recently which said: ‘Every woman who heals herself helps to heal all the women who came before her, and all those who come after her.’”

Ms. Brown, a cancer survivor once diagnosed with melanoma, turned her life around after attending Cancer Support WA’s Wellness Course and Cancer Support Group for five years. Having had multiple shoulders to lean on, she realised that there was power in uniting with fellow women and experiencing the spectrum of feelings that come with a cancer diagnosis.

“There’s a yearning for that deep soul connection – [helping] each other to find the courage to explore and heal the unresolved issues.”

Ms. Brown feels the circle goes beyond just its ordinary meaning. To her, the circle is never-ending. “It has no beginning and no end, just like the powerful feminine energy we embody and are rediscovering in this group.”

A passionate advocate of collective strength, Ms. Brown hopes more women will welcome others’ support in weathering the pain, tied to cancer.

For those who are looking for a support group, she cordially invites them to join the weekly Women’s Circle on Wednesday mornings from 10am-12pm. Women can also bring their friends. Those interested may reach out to her directly at CATHY@SOLARISCANCERCARE.ORG.AU.

In the meantime, Solaris Cancer Care proudly wishes women all around a wonderful International Woman’s Day (followed by week)! #internationalwomansday2020