Saturday, January 13, 2018

Daring, rising, embodying, shining, being seen... I am a self-help frequent flyer

I don't know if any one out there can relate, but I'm a self-help afficianado (some might say junkie).

If I were to look in the download folder on my computer, I would see that I have numerous unfinished self-paced, 'discover/accept/become' yourself online classes from a variety of very wise women downloaded there. I always start with the best intentions. I experience a surge of excitement as I enter my credit card number, declare my intentions far and wide. I leap in whole heartedly with both feet, I introduce myself in the closed Facebook group, and then, Here's what always happens next. I get behind, then more behind, and then I exit the FB group or turn off the notifications because it hurts my heart that I have failed myself again.

For years, I have longed to belong, to fit in, to connect on a deeper level with other women. And as much as I longed for it, I was also afraid of it. And then I went to my first women's retreat and I sat in that sacred circle and something magical happened. I was seen. I was understood. I was honored. Grace was extended in every direction. When I looked around the circle I found women who did not need me to explain my feelings, or to apologize for them. And this experience has happened again and again in many circles, many retreat experiences.

So, I've asked myself what the difference is, why an online class or group doesn't 'work' for me and a circle of women does? By all accounts, as an introvert, sitting at home in my jammies doing 'the work' should be just exactly my cup of tea. It surprised me at first, as it does many women, but there's an unexpected safety in the circle. In fact, we faciltiators work very hard to create that feeling of safety and it's one of the things that is most remarked on in retreat evaluations.

Once I experienced it, I was smitten. Connection, belonging... they are very powerful feelings and I now look for every opportunity can make happen for myself to sit in circle and experience it again. I stared facilitating women's rereats so that I could help make that happen for other women.

My wish for you in this brand new year... I hope that you find connection and belonging in whatever way works for you. It's important and you deserve it. If you have thought that a women's retreat is not your cup of tea, I want to encourage you to do some research and find one you might let yourself lean into. Here's to leaning in. Join the circle. Have some fun. Feel the love. #circlefunlove

Monday, January 1, 2018

It's okay not to feel okay.

My super smart friend Lavi Chimata reminded me of that the other day.   It's important, so I'll say it again... It's okay not to feel okay.

I've been grappling with feeling out of step for the last few months.  I'm trying to unravel it and figure out where it's coming from.  It's my belief that when the blues come calling its best to invite them in to sit next to me on the sofa and make friends before I can move on.  I think I've caught the end of the thread and here's what's coming up for me.  Maybe you feel it too. 

"The Holidays" start in earnest at the beginning of November, though all the trappings are out and in your face in September.  For months now, my social streams have been full practically perfect holiday preparations.  My husband and son would rather skip all things holidays, so if there's any holiday magic to happen around here, it's up to me to make it happen.  Between PTO and an office closure, I have luxurated in almost three weeks off of work.  I'm a huge Hallmark Channel Christmas movie junkie and I've got a DVR full of them and plenty of time to watch them.  More perfection.  Lots of it... romantic perfection, holiday perfection, functional families.  And now, there's a flood of New Year posts with proclamations that people are so excited about the possibilities of the new year.  A blank slate.  365 new days.  I'm so not there.  I am SO not there.  I was feeling like such a failure that I couldn't shake it off, that I'm not seeing what everyone else is seeing as they look ahead to 2018.

And then Lavi reminded me that it's okay not to feel okay.  Whatever the reason.  It's so important, for us to love ourselves, be gentle and caretake for ourselves when we're not feeling okay.  If you're struggling I invite you to really take it in that it's okay not to feel okay.  Get quiet and ask yourself what it is that you need right now.  Then, do all that you can to make that happen.  Showing up for yourself is one of the most powerful things you can do.  That's my first step in the new year... to show up for myself.  Care to join me?