Well Circles can be incredible places for folks to connect with their bodies, each other, the wisdom of the Jewish calendar, and more. However, not every Well Circle will serve each person and their needs forever. Like many good things, there is a time to say goodbye and move on to whatever is next.
I experienced this twice with the Well Circle that I started several years ago. After two years, the initial group of members were starting to drift apart - people were moving, starting grad school, entering new relationships, or making other life shifts. It felt harder and harder for people to commit to our regular meeting times, and there was a sense of duty, rather than excitement, about things like hosting or facilitating meetings. We found it challenging to talk about these issues, and as a result, it felt easier for members to slip away one by one, until we found ourselves with just a couple of people left.
That small group that remained made an effort to pull in new members, and it felt like a fresh start - until Covid and all of its fallout hit. For the first several months of isolation, it was a much needed space for us to connect, but as members moved away, got busy with their families, or grew sick of Zoom, we realized that the Well Circle was no longer serving us.
If your Well Circle isn’t feeling right for you as an individual, or for the group at large, it’s best to engage in a conscious process together to figure out what the next steps are, and to say goodbye in a way that shows appreciation for what the Well Circle and other members have done for you.
It’s Not You, It’s Me
Does it feel like your Well Circle is running smoothly? Your group has scheduling and facilitating down, members are being vulnerable and engaging with each other in meaningful ways, and you hear others talking about how much the group adds to their lives - but you feel a bit off. Take the time to sit with this feeling and see where it’s coming from. Maybe you feel on the outskirts in some way, or find it difficult to be vulnerable with others. Those are things worth exploring with your fellow Well Circle members, and seeing how they can make the space more easeful for you. However, if you’re feeling resentful of the group, feel like there are fundamental differences with members, or don’t want to make space for the group within your life, it’s a sign that it’s time to say goodbye.
Sometimes it’s time for everyone to say goodbye. Think about a time when an experience has ended and it just felt right. If the majority of the folks in your group are feeling like the Well Circle has served them, but are ready to move on, pay attention to this. Forcing people to stay together will have no good outcomes. Sometimes, dissolving the Circle isn’t the answer - it could be that you need to move to virtual, to every-other-month, or to shift the structure of the group. Have honest conversations together about how and if you’d like to keep the Well Circle going.
Whether it’s you taking a step back from your Well Circle or the whole group coming to an end, don’t let the meeting where you talk about it be the final meeting. Take the time to figure out how to say goodbye in a way that acknowledges the work that has taken place there, the experiences shared, and the relationships formed. Be creative - maybe a candle ceremony, writing cards to individual members, or simply going around in a circle with the prompt: “I am grateful for…”
My Well Circle was one of the most important parts of my life for a long time, and initially, I found it difficult to accept that we would no longer be gathering for Rosh Chodesh every month. It took time for me to realize that we had come to our natural ending points and to be appreciative of all we shared together. Now, I look fondly back at those evenings spent in someone’s living room, trying to make sense of ourselves in this hectic world over glasses of wine and plentiful appetizers, and know how lucky I was to have that space during that period of my life.