Are You Under-Supported?

by Maggie on July 25, 2012 · 17 comments

in Creativity, Self-Care

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.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie Anderson Ladd July 25, 2012 at 11:50 am

Wonderful post, Maggie. you are o right. we women need to learn to ask for help and support. It took me a long time to learn that lesson, too, and I still struggle with reaching out when I need it. I think it can difficult for women who are in leadership roles and/or therapists because we’re doing so much holding space and guidance that we sometimes forget to go to the well, too. (I think that’s probably true of moms, too.) I so agree that this online tribe we are a part of is amazing. I sometimes marvel that it has come about the way it has with so many women from around the world finding each other and communing on such a deep, spiritual level. Who knew this was even possible a couple of years ago? And yes, Pixie, is a powerful medicine woman in this way!
Stephanie Anderson Ladd’s most recent post: Psyche’s Journey and the Creative ProcessMy Profile

Reply

Maggie July 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm

Aho, Stephanie, and especially the part about leaders/therapists/healers needing leaders/therapists/healers too! 🙂 So grateful that Pixie has created this circle, and that you and I can share space in it.

Reply

Pixie July 25, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Maggie, your ability to pull in so much relevant information and weave it as beautifully as you’ve done here is astounding! I think the truth is that support is fluid, and it is something that cannot be measured by someone’s success or perceived success. We need it ALL of the time! I know I do! Thank you, sister, for your support and your willingness (the most important thing of all, I think) to share your thoughts on where we’re at, and for including men in this conversation (they need support, too!) and for shining your luminosity. It makes a huge difference in my life and in the lives of many. xo

Reply

Maggie July 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Thank you, dearest. “Support is fluid”…mmmm…holding that as a koan this afternoon. XOXO

Reply

hali July 25, 2012 at 1:30 pm

this is excellent. and just what we all need to hear in our hearts. thank you.
hali’s most recent post: Turtle Wisdom Meet Me Where I AmMy Profile

Reply

Maggie July 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Thank you, Hali!

Reply

Geneva Houx July 25, 2012 at 3:13 pm

This really struck me. You know, I spent the first four years of motherhood feeling guilty if I asked anyone, even my husband, to take the kids for a few minutes. I felt that, since I had the privilege of staying home with my kids, that I should assume 24/7 responsibility, or I was doing them a disservice, in addition to admitting weakness by needing a break. I did not ever do things for myself. I barely slept, rarely showered without children banging on the door (or poking me in the eye, as I tried to wash my hair while holding a toddler), most of my hobbies went out the window. I never asked my husband to give the kids their bath or put them to bed, and I felt like a delinquent mother when he offered, and I took him up on it.
When I started singing again, taking just one hour each week away from my kids, I started to rejuvenate. I started to feel like there was still a ME inside the MOMMY. I started volunteering a little. I made some friends. Little by little, I’ve been able to cede some responsibility and control, to ask for help when I need it, to take a breath every now and then. It’s been good for me and good for my kids. I wouldn’t trade my intensive, round the clock time with them for anything. They’re little for about two minutes, and the time when they want nothing to do with me is coming, all too soon. It’s nice to know, however, that I haven’t disappeared completely, and it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who needs to be reminded that support does not equal weakness.
Geneva Houx’s most recent post: Pretending to SleepMy Profile

Reply

Maggie July 25, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Oh Geneva, I’m so glad you found your voice again, both literally and figuratively! I hope to someday find out first-hand (and hopefully not give in to) the pull on the mother to give herself over entirely, as I’ve heard it so often discussed in the American culture. I’m really starting to wonder, though, if this is a relatively modern problem, and does it correlate with the breakdown of the village in favor of the nuclear family? Children and parents used to have the support of their elders and peers in the daily village life of the family. 20th century America put a mighty value on the isolated “family of four”, though, starting sometime in the 50’s I think, and I wonder if parents had to give more and more of themselves to their children to make up for the loss of the village. Hence the parents who feel taxed to the max and children who feel an empty space where there used to be more support. Hm…a whole thought just gave birth right there! Might be fodder for a longer post at some point. 🙂 In any case, I’m so glad you shared your journey back to yourself! Aho.

Reply

the Mama July 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Wow. Who are you again?
the Mama’s most recent post: A Review, An Interview, and a Giveaway – What She Left Behind by Tracy BilenMy Profile

Reply

Maggie July 25, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Ha ha!

THIS is who I am.

<3

Reply

Dionne the Tea Priestess July 25, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Ashe, Amen and So It is! This is wonderful and one of the many reasons I love working with a circle of women so much.
Dionne the Tea Priestess’s most recent post: The Wall of Fearful SuckMy Profile

Reply

Maggie July 25, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Aho, Dionne!

Reply

Michele July 25, 2012 at 10:47 pm

What’s empowering is being heard, received in curiosity – as opposed to judgment. I wonder a lot about this automatic withdrawal and self-imposed isolation that happens whenI feel less than perfect…it’s so
deeply ingrained in us; every man for himself…you know what I mean. It’s not always easy to rewire ourselves, but it’s happening isn’t it? We are creating connection and global community even though it’s something we may have never known, or know how to do. At least I didn’t. I had this wonderful ceramics Craft History teacher this year and her whole curriculum was based around the sacred Goddess worshiping cultures, matrilineal cultures and how they were humble partnership cultures. And it’s so wonderful to know that we are coming back to and recreating a similar model for ourselves and our future generations.

Reply

Maggie July 26, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Aho, Michele. “Being heard, received in curiosity – as opposed to judgment.” This is so central and crucial!

Reply

sperlygirl July 30, 2012 at 12:27 pm

funny that i find you, maggie, and this post tonight – so very relevant. wonderful timing. beautifully written. i nodded along in agreement with so much, it resonated deeply for me. asking for support, not a strength of mine, but i respect deeply the importance and value of doing so (working on the rest of it…work in progress). beautifully shared. grazie
sperlygirl’s most recent post: finding wings…My Profile

Reply

Maggie July 30, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Thank you, Suzanne! We are all walking this work so tenderly, aren’t we? The circle of support means so much…

Reply

Leave a Comment


CommentLuv badge

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: