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From Canyon To Cove: Freeing the powerful woman inside

August 04, 2011|By Cindy Frazier
  • Kym Castuera, left, and Dr. Jane Bening look forward to their Imagine a Woman Dream Circle workshops Aug. 13 and 20.
Kym Castuera, left, and Dr. Jane Bening look forward to… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

''If you have never been called a defiant, incorrigible, impossible woman … have faith … there is yet time."

— "Women Who Run with the Wolves"

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If you miss — or missed out on — the energetic women's movement of the late 1960s and '70s and want to rejuvenate your women's spirit, you might want to be part of the Imagine a Woman Dream Circle, a women-only event at gynecologist Jane Bening's Newport Beach office Aug. 13 and 20.

Bening and co-organizer Kym Sawtelle-Castuera are both from Laguna Beach and have joined their very different energies to create an event for women that promises to be part spiritual quest, part physical exercise and part health seminar.

Bening said she sees in her practice many women who are not getting all they want and deserve out of life, and she wants to change that for women of all ages. And it's all about health.

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"In my practice, I talk to women about their sex lives and see these wonderful women being ignored by their husbands," she said. "The ultimate goal [of the workshops] is to promote health and empower women to follow their dreams.

"In health, it is important not to be defeatist."

That may be even more true in life.

While Bening will bring her medical expertise and knowledge, Sawtelle-Castuera will bring the kind of ebullient, raw energy that used to fuel the women's movement in its early, heady days.

The former ballet dancer and actress has worked in theater, where she said she developed a knack for ritual. She also describes herself as a medium and gives workshops on dreams. A case of prescription drug-induced amnesia and a lengthy struggle with lupus led her to explore alternative forms of therapy, including yoga, meditation and spiritual work.

She is an endless fount of information about women's history and culture, and said she was inspired to follow a women's spiritual path by the seminal 1992 book "Women Who Run with the Wolves," by Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

"It took me months to finish that book, because I would read a couple of pages and put it down and cry," Sawtelle-Castuera said.

The two women met at a yoga class in Newport Beach and apparently it was a case of opposites attracting. Bening is soft-spoken, low-key and deliberate, the consummate medical professional, while Sawtelle-Castuera is colorful, flamboyant and theatrical.

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