I sent this note out to my newsletter kindreds last week and as I continue to open my heart up toward connection over here, I thought I'd share it with you in case you too need these words.
At the retreats I host, I watch a special magic unfold over the first evening and then into the first day we spend together. I watch women shed the labels of their everyday lives and begin to just show up as them. They release their grip on being identified as the roles they play - mother, wife, daughter of someone who is ill, woman going through a divorce, a person unsure of her next step, someone feeling stuck - and they settle into their chosen spot in the circle. As they listen to the stories of others, they begin to realize they are not alone in it all as a quiet chorus of "me too, me too" echoes in our circle.
For these five days, they don't have to be the strong one, the one who has it all together, the one who knows exactly what to do. They can just be themselves in the circle. They can listen and hold space for another. They can share a secret dream and not worry about judgment. They can be the quiet observer. They can even instigate a dance party after lunch.
I watch these incredible women make the choice to open up their hearts and let out pieces of their true essence. And when they do this, the others around them so often say with words and actions, "I see you. You are beautiful. You have so much to offer this world. You are not alone. I'm here beside you."
We all need a space where we can just be us. A space where we aren't in charge. Where we feel safe enough to unearth this true essence inside us. A space to be the quiet one or the one who gives the biggest hugs or the one who invites others to dance or the one who simply nods and listens murmuring "yes." A space where we can connect with other like-minded souls.
Over here in my corner, the truth is that I'm longing for a space like this here in my own community. A space where I can just be me while surrounded by kindred spirits. A few weeks ago, I discovered a "new-to-me" yoga studio that seems very much in alignment with that essence inside me. A few times a week, I visit their website. I look at the class descriptions. I come up with another reason why I probably can't go this week. And then I find myself alone in the quiet wishing for that space to show up as me.
Are you nodding over there and thinking "me too" as you read my words and come up with reasons why you can't find this space in your corner of the world? If yes, I'm wondering if you might want to join me in taking one step toward finding that space for yourself.
This one move might look like going to a yoga class or signing up for an art workshop or asking that other mother at daycare to get coffee this weekend or reaching out to an online friend you met in an ecourse and saying "Can we Skype?"
But most importantly, this move is going to look like practicing showing up as you. That's the only way you're going to know if it is the right space for you.
I'll be over here working toward making my small move and cheering you on as you make yours. Let me know how it goes or share what's stopping you. Know that you aren't alone over there.
If you've been feeling called to take time away from your day-to-day life to practice showing up as you and deeply connecting with others, consider coming along to the March Your Story Retreat. Due to cancellations, there are a few more spots available.
Join Elise Blaha Cripe, Kelly Barton, and me and a circle of kindreds as we share our stories, play with paint, write, walk on the beach, and laugh late into the night.
We will also look at how our dreams can inform our stories and dive into the topic of how to embrace the everyday joys and the messy parts of daily life.
Learn more about the Your Story Retreat here. And please just reply with any questions. (Note that there will not be a five-day summer retreat this year, and this will more than likely be the only Oregon Coast retreat in 2014.)