How The Silver Tent came to be
‘I have to be inspired by what I do,’ I said as my only contract was unexpectedly terminated in September 2016 leaving me in one of those ‘edge of the cliff’ moments. I had no resources to fall back on except my most abundant – my imagination and my intuition.
And as I said this out loud an idea formed. It appeared to download into my imagination fully formed like a beautiful sparkling crystal. All the projects and businesses I’d ever explored before, including all the ones which had failed, came together like a tapestry, allowing me to see the powerful path I’d followed throughout my life even though it had appeared random and frequently far from successful.
As Steve Jobs once said you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only see how all the dots are connected when you look backward. Within a couple of weeks I had set up the Facebook Group and called it Crones Rock! I had this underlying sense that we women over 50, 60, 70, 80 and beyond are an untapped reservoir of wisdom and that if we can untap this, and weave our wisdom together, vibrating our voices as one, we can make a hugely transformative impact in our world. My inspiration expanded with ‘what if’s?’
‘The Silver Tent is a rare, authentic, kind and inclusive space.’
‘The longing for like-minded connection, to know I’m not alone. For inspiration and positivity even in the face of challenges, thank you’
‘The Love Circle here recently was fantastic!!’
‘I have taken part in many Zoom circles and events, learned so much, laughed and cried and laughed again. ’
‘I just love the Tent and Silver Synergy, and couldn’t imagine life without it. ’
‘I’ve been here from very early on. I love the different subjects aired and the support and empathy shown by fellow sisters‘
‘The friendships and support I have found here have changed my world.‘
© Jo-Louise Whitfort www.artnsoulnz.wordpress.com
I knew that if I was going to develop this as far as my imagination could take it, then it had to be designed according to my values. I wanted to create a space where we witness the best in each other, encouraging us all to grow beyond ourselves in to our highest version, to become the individuals we were always meant to be. I wanted to create a space where we stepped beyond the usual business mentality and embraced being conscious, co- creative collaborators. And I wanted to create a space where we wild, wonderful and wise elder women could and would make a profound impact in our world. But that part was still a little in the future.
The group attracted new members each day and I noticed how engaged so many of the members became. But a conversation emerged about whether everyone related to the word ‘crone’.
Most people’s first thought about a crone is that it denotes an old woman, with a bent back, a large nose possibly with a witchy wart on the end. A crone is unattractive and unpleasant to be around. But the real meaning of crone is crown… like the real meaning of hag is holy. But what became clear is that a good number of our members were put off by the name.
One day I was driving through a glorious Welsh valley and I asked this question out loud:
‘What would be the name of a place where older women gather, our version of The Red Tent*?’
When you phrase a question like this the answer is instantaneous. I felt like a bolt of lightening had shot down through the top of my head, coursed through my body and out of my feet. The hairs on my head and body tingled and the name The Silver Tent was clear. It was an extraordinary moment, indelibly branded on my psyche, and I burst in to tears. My legacy was born.
Now we have over 7200 women in the community, and around 200 in our sister community Silver Synergy. These past four years running this on Facebook has been a massive time of learning and it was always clear that however valuable the Facebook platform has been it was never designed for a community of this complexity. Now that they no longer allow freedom of speech, it was the catalyst to create this new platform of our own.
If the last four and a half years were our learning time we are now ready to leave the nest we created in Facebook and fly free, to fully become who we are meant to be as individuals as well as a community. Together we’ll challenge convention, re-write the myth of the older woman, and make our lives and the wisdom learned a profound force for good.
‘We don’t need to be activists to transform humanity
We only need be ourselves… truly ourselves
Not the selves we’ve been taught to be
Not the selves the media tells us to be
But our wild, wonderful and wise elder selves’