I first met these lovely ladies last year at a Southend Passionate Women meetup. During a discussion with Adriana, the founder of the group, it seems that the group has since changed their name from “Southend Passionate Women” to “Inspiring Ladies of Southend” after a group vote. Apparently the inclusion of “passionate” in the group’s name was controversial amongst members, due to the sexual connotations of the word and perceived stigma attached to publicly declaring yourself online a “Passionate Woman”. Regardless of the name change, these Inspiring Ladies will always be Passionate Women to me. Passionate is not a dirty word, and these women should be proud to be passionate! But, of course, they are also inspiring – so their current name is still an appropriate fit.
Following my initial meetup last year with Southend Passionate Women (A.K.A. Inspiring Women of Southend), I attended their inaugural conference in March 2014, where I met and got to know some fantastic women – each with their own inspiring story to tell. Last year’s EDEN theme was “Grow Your Passion”, and I’m sure the event certainly did play a part in nourishing the passions of the women who attended.
This year’s theme was…Transformation…
With an aim to help women transform themselves and their lives, the day consisted of inspiring talks from EDEN’s guest speakers, sharing their unique wisdom on what it takes exactly to transform your life for the better.
Though the EDEN conference this year was held at Crowstone Christian Centre, the event was not religious at all and openly welcomed women of all cultural and religious backgrounds. Having said that, the church environment did make an exceptional backdrop for the speakers to talk, as light flooded in from the magnificent stained glass windows. After the initial hellos and complimentary cups of tea and coffee in the cafeteria area, we were all invited inside to find a seat. Each seat had a slip of paper asking us of our inspirations to be put forward for a competition, along with a small blue stone.
The wonderfully eccentric Susan Giles was first to come on stage, after the “housekeeping” rules and introduction to the EDEN conference courtesy of the lovely Adriana. She she shared with us two poems which she had written. The first served as a beautiful introduction to the day. The second, a rather saucy poem regarding one of Susan’s past “passions”… A great way to break the ice, and had the whole audience giggling.
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By Ria, LoveSouthend
Wow! What a day we had at EDEN Inspiring Women conference in Southend-on-sea. I’m just home after a celebratory South Indian meal with some of the other ambassadors and speakers.
It was such a joy to work with these women. I’d rather say “play” with these women. It was fun! I was there to help and also to teach the ladies Story Massage which they loved. I got them to pair up and showed them a weather massage. We drew all sorts of weather on each others’ backs and the real weather obliged. It rained and snowed outside today so the ladies learnt to just draw what they saw around them. I gave them homework to practice the massage on someone, child, partner or pet, in the next twenty four hours!
I chatted to the women as they arrived. Quite a few had come alone so I spoke to each one and introduced them to each other. They often then sat together for the afternoon which was nice to see.
The ladies who attended were so varied. Some told me this was their time off from being busy mums. Many had a couple of very young children at home. Some of these ladies were so ready to start something of their own. One lady told me that the conference had shown her that she can do something for herself, her own way, when she’s ready
As regular readers might know for the past year or so I have been a regular member of a local women’s group called Inspiring Women of Southend.
We get together once a month, for sharing, connecting and creativity!
For the second year running the lovely ladies organised the E.D.E.N conference.
Last year I got involved in the organising, but found it a bit much with everything else that was going on at the time and sadly didn’t attend on the day so missed out on the actual event.
This year I decided from the onset that to get too involved would be too much (especially as I’ve been writing a chapter for a book with a deadline)! but I was intrigued and wanted to be involved in some form, luckily for me, founder Adri Ana was kind enough to let me help with simple tasks on the day like setting up, helping with teas and coffees, and helping tidy up, which didn’t involve me having to get too involved with the regular meetings etc about it.
Yesterday was the big day of the conference, it was on the theme of Transformation. I wasn’t too sure how the day was going to go and whether I would really enjoy it or not, but it turned out to be a really fun, uplifting day spent with a lot of amazing, inspiring women, quite a few I’m lucky to have as friends and hopefully there are a few new ones forming too.
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By Hayley, Moonlight.Phoenix