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