First came the stirring…an acknowledgement of a common thread that is seeking to break, as women from different parts of my world stood on their shorelines and called across the lake to no one in particular:
“I’m in process, and having a tough time. I don’t normally share this vulnerability. I usually go into hiding until I’ve figured it all out myself, then come to others with my feeling-all-better self. But I’m trying this now.”
My sacral chakra resonated as though a river rock had been thrown into the center of its water. Gosh, I do the same thing, too. I pull in, isolate in my tender moments, go under cover until I’ve worked it all out, and then come back to others all fresh and shiny again, full of insight and having “figured it all out”. (In fact, didn’t I just share about this in my last post? Yes. Yes, I did.)
And yet, it felt so good to share my tenderness and vulnerability with others. And it felt so good to be present to another’s sharing of their own. To be able to hold space and to hold the knowledge that the other had lost for that moment: that they are okay, that they are worthy, that they are normal and healthy. That they are loved, just as they are, for all that they are. Tenderness and vulnerability included.
“Pay attention,” my intuition whispered. “Something is afoot here.”
Within a few days’ time, from my own shoreline, I heard women from all edges of the lake speaking their tenderness, and noticing the same thing:
“What a relief! This feels so good! I wonder why I didn’t think it was okay to do this before?”
Next came the noticing.
Being interested and invested in my personal evolution, my Facebook feed has become increasingly inundated with the blogs and posts of amazing people doing amazing things…and then offering courses to teach others how to be amazing and do amazing things, too. This is wonderful, and I’ve taken up offers here and there. It’s inspiring, all this actualization…to a point. Until I notice a slow haze that appears like a veil over my heart, without me even realizing it, and it sounds like this:
“Holy mother, everybody else has their shit together! But I don’t feel like I do, not at all. I’m so in-process right now. (And then, the big tear-down:) There must be something wrong with me. I’d better figure it out before I say anything. I’d better look like I’ve got my shit together, too!”
My experience is not an isolated incident (although I believe it does contribute to the process of isolating ourselves). A recent study found that “Those who have used Facebook longer agreed more that others were happier, and agreed less that life is fair, and those spending more time on Facebook each week agreed more that others were happier and had better lives. Furthermore, those that included more people whom they did not personally know as their Facebook “friends” agreed more that others had better lives.”
This is not a gripe against Facebook, because I loves me some Facebook! I could sense, though, that there is a correlation between our reluctance to share the tough times, the in-process moments, in favor of showing up shiny and happy all the time – and the way that Facebook starts to distort our sense of ourselves in relation to others’ “shiny happy” selves. (Sharing the tough times, by the way, is not the same as griping, bitching, or vomiting our stuff onto the news feed without being in self-responsibility. Owning our in-process selves and sharing that, is a different thing altogether.)
Next came the A-Ha Moment.
I found myself listening to a free online seminar by Katherine Woodward Thomas and Claire Zammit called “The Keys to Feminine Power: Awakening the Three Power Bases of the New Co-Creative Feminine”. First of all: hell of a title, ladies, whaddup! Second of all, men: do not feel left out and do not leave the conversation, please! This is not about women vs. men, because all of us have the divine masculine and the divine feminine in us. This is about the global shift from a masculine power base to a co-creative power base that awakens and honors the feminine side of the equation.
In this call, Katherine and Claire named the experience I was paying attention to. They called it the state of being under-supported. And I’m going to just let them lay it out.
“In this masculine culture we have really been kind of talked into the idea that we should be able to do it all by ourselves, that if we need support somehow it’s a sign of weakness. However, what we’ve discovered, to really come into the fullness of our power, we need to begin to cultivate this collective field of support where we can begin to cultivate relationships, where we’re coming together at a level that’s beyond just cheerleading and supporting each other, to become true partners. Because something happens when we come together with others at this level of true partnership, where there’s a power that gets unleashed, where there’s an exponential – an exponential – kind of progress that begins to happen in our lives. We actually begin to fast-track our growth. We break through our glass ceilings. We listen to ourselves. We take actions.”
Well. Ain’t that something.
It was no coincidence that this lesson came to me as I was moving into more participation in a sacred circle of women that my dear friend Pixie Campbell has been holding since last year. SouLodge was born out of Pixie’s deep desire to be “a spiritual midwife, who sits on her hands and sings songs in the next room, while the women of SouLodge claim, give birth to, and reunite with, their soul-selves.” (Isn’t that just luscious?)
It was a risk for me to join SouLodge, because I had to come up against these exact fears. There are women in that circle, let me tell you, the dynamic power of whom will knock you against the fucking wall. And there is a depth of process happening that will make you ask, as each lesson unfolds, with equal excitement-squealing and pantie-soiling, “What inner terrain are we walking today?”
I skirted the edges of the SouLodge circle for quite a while, sharing a bit here and there, but it wasn’t until this weekend when I took a deep breath and pressed “Post” on a particularly tender and vulnerable share, that the energy of SouLodge wrapped me in its huge strong arms and brought me home. And why? Because SouLodge provides exactly the deep “collective field of support” that Katherine and Claire named in their online seminar, and I hadn’t realized until I really dove in, just how under-supported I had been keeping myself and how unspeakably nourishing it is to sink into true, deep support.
So this is my new watchword now. When I start to feel unsteady or depressed or anxious, I’m asking myself, am I under-supported right now? What would help me to feel more deeply supported? Sometimes it’s a call to move from my wounded-self perspective into my loving-empowered-adult perspective and give my wounded self a hug…sometimes to call a friend and risk letting her know I’m in process…sometimes to invest in myself and call on a business coach to come into alignment…sometimes to pray and listen to my highest soul-self…sometimes to show up in the Lodge and bare my soul a bit more than is comfortable. Giving myself extra support in these moments is proving to be tremendously nourishing.
CALL TO ACTION
I invite you to use this question in your life this week. Am I under-supported right now? See what comes up, and take action to give yourself more deep, nourishing support. Find your tribe. Find your deepest wisdom. Cry on someone’s shoulder for seven minutes exactly. See what happens.
Note: on the right side of this page you’ll find a button to take you to the SouLodge website. Full disclosure, it’s an affiliate button and Pixie is generous enough to share a portion of her profit with me for anyone who clicks that button and signs up for SouLodge. Circle of support. Aho.