Women & Ageing

Women & Ageing

Unitarian Women's Group Annual Meeting - Women and Ageing

Sara Wilcox
Cathie Masztalerz
Cathies’s daughter helped us with the painting.
It was my first time at the Women’s group gathering and the journey from Taunton in Somerset to the Derbyshire Dales was stunning in its scenery. I arrived at the Nightingale Centre and found a thoroughly hospitable welcome, those who wanted to, shared a glass of wine before our evening meal.

There were six newcomers including myself on my table so I didn’t feel out of water. The Peach room was the venue for our first session, we shared our stories, painted a a background for our work on the following day. And then adjourned for the first part of the AGM. Sue McFarlane was elected as the new chair and the subject for next year was Climate Change and Women. There is a balance of £498.25 in the account.

After a good night’s sleep we began the next day looking at what was joyous about getting old and then sharing some of our difficulties and the planning for the eventualities and making provision for the ageing process should it arise. We rotated in groups and for me it was comforting to know that we all had common fears and experiences. Also many people were able to share useful information.

After a break for coffee we had a another useful session on conflict resolution. I had volunteered for many years as a neighborhood mediator and knew the value of listening and reflection. We focused on the triggers that made us get involved in conflict with others. This was very new to me as I had not considered my own conflict situations. We looked at Jungian stereo types and identified triggers by looking at our own personalities and how they interacted with other stereo types.

Next we shared experiences and strategies which for me produced some very conflict avoiding phrases. e.g.;

I was very surprised you said that ( this gives you time to construct your next response instead of reacting) apology: I am very sorry. This is not about you, it is more about me and what you said touched something that is a bit raw and perhaps we can talk about it together.

We had free time in the afternoon and some went for a walk in the beautiful countryside or others went to a wool mill to buy wool, others went out for a cup of tea.

In the evening we were guided to make a painting.

Sunday came and we went to the chapel nearby. We had a service that I particularly loved and judging by the joyous singing, we all were inspired by our leader and her honesty. We were accompanied by the guitar.

When we returned from Chapel there was an exhibition of our paintings. It was a wonderful and inclusive weekend and personally I look forward to next year– God Willing. Thank you to Sara and Cathie for inspirational and loving work.