It seems that in our culture, we’ve kind of lost the Community.
It’s often seems difficult for women to gather. There’s always someone who needs us to do something. There’s always a mess to cleanup or one more thing to get to. We rush around and rarely seem to stop. When we do gather, the depth seems to be missing because there are so many walls and guard rails put up that get in the way of real connection.
Throughout history women have gathered – it’s an important part of who we are. It is integral part of being women. Through that gathering, we affect change, we are the holders of wisdom. Thankfully, there seems to be a hunger for more gathering. Women have begun to seek connection with other ‘kindred spirits’ in more meaningful ways. Yet, so many are still feeling in isolation, like they are missing something. A phantom limb. This need to gather is repressed because there is just so much to do. My need to gather does not disappear, it is “cut-off” for a time. But this is not permanent. We can reconnect!
We often think that this ache for real connection can only be filled by a relationship with a man. That is part of it, but even being in a relationship with a great man, we still feel like something is missing. Maybe this phantom limb needs to be acknowledged and addressed? Maybe we need to fill that gap? So many women haven’t had meaningful relationships with other women. It feels too scary, too vulnerable. Yet when we really connect, it’s in these vulnerabilities that our strength is finally found.
What is lost if we don’t re-establish the Community?
Everything! Everything that we are as women! We need each other’s advice, support, love, nurturing. We are human; we cannot live in isolation. We need each other’s voices in the dark. My mother’s generation sacrificed everything for their children, including friendships with other women, because they thought they had to sacrifice to be a good mother. They didn’t have quilting bees or ladies auxiliaries – they were the rebels of the sixties that became mothers in the 70’s and lost a part of themselves, and many, I think, resented that. My mom and others like her are just realizing again how beneficial those relationships are as they lean on each other because their busy children (my generation) aren’t devoting our lives back to them. But…I am learning to INCLUDE my mother in my Community, understanding how important different generations are in this Community – how I need her wisdom and different opinions. I talk more to my mother now than I ever did, in-depth conversations that I was afraid to have with her before.
What is gained when we establish Community?
I am blessed to know many good, strong, supportive Communities now that I have made it a priority. My first “Core Desired Feeling” is Connected. It has made my heart soar again with the knowledge that I’m not alone in my questions, my passion, my life! It has brought depth to my relationship with my family, freedom to speak the truth and the ability to encourage them to do the same. Learning to have meaningful, open conversation has enabled me to have the same with my husband – talking through things instead of ignoring them and hoping they will go away. It has brought me peace and meaning to my life. There was such an ache before…such a need to be accepted, to be loved. I did not know what it was because I didn’t have those kind of relationships growing up – I was always too afraid to be myself, be my own truth. I just did/said what I thought everyone expected of me. But the ache and longing were there, always persisting, always waiting for me to hear it.
What am I afraid of?
I lived in constant fear of the “competition” of other women. When I was young, I felt I was in competition to be a better friend than the next person. Afraid that if I wasn’t the perfect friend, I would lose that person to someone else. In the end, it pushed them away anyway because I was holding on so tightly for fear of that competition! I didn’t want the group of friends because it was so hard to please them all.
And then, when I got married, I was so jealous of every look, every glance, every woman around. Who was I to have such a wonderful, handsome husband? I was so plain and imperfect. They were all so beautiful and exciting. I would constantly believe that they were trying to steal him from me and that he deserved “better” than me. I didn’t trust them, I didn’t have faith that I was good enough for him.
I was hiding, I was pretending – I still do sometimes, but my Community is helping me so much! I was hiding the real me – the imperfections, the fears, the feelings of being less than everyone else. I was hiding from my truth. I was just being what everyone wanted me to be. And whenever I failed at being that perfect picture, when I disappointed them; I would sink and wallow in self-pity. I would give up and hang my head in shame, waves of guilt crashing over me. I would use anger and frustration to hurt everyone around me, when really I was frustrated with myself and trying to blame everyone else for my failures of perfection.
What would it be like to remove the fear?
Tears fill my eyes as I think of this. It has been such a long journey to slowly remove that veil. It has been so powerful, so mind-blowing, knowing that I really am worth being seen! Living my truth! My heart overflows and the words just pour out of me in the conversations in real life and onto the screen in front of me. And that I’m not alone in this?… oh, the tears flow. My Community is here, right here. Accepting, loving, nodding, understanding, smiling, surrounding me. There is such depth and peace in my real life conversations. I see the beauty, I hear the Universe calling me, I feel my sisters around me.
What does it feel like to trust?
There is such a relief in trusting other women. In knowing that they are not perfect either and that they feel the same. And this incredible movement that seems to be all around us in the past few years. So many examples of women supporting each other. Schools making spaces/communities where girls can be their true-selves. Celebrities shunning those media images of perfection. My heart cries out happiness that we can be together in our truth. It surprises me all the time when I write in my blog or talk to incredible women that they are seeing this as well. That these stories resonate with them, that we are all aching for that veil to be lifted.
As soon as I heard the words,”the Goddess is awakening“, I was filled with such hope! I thought to myself, “This is it! There really is a change happening in the world! We are making a difference! We are creating a world of peace and love and understanding!” It isn’t just a dream! It is becoming a reality! She is awakening and she is here!!! in me!! Very cool, very exciting, very liberating!!!!
I want to shout out to everyone: “Come! Join Us! Be free! Be released!” I am aching to have every women feel this way! I know too many that do not, and I long for them to find this peace, this love of self!
Can I be my truth in the Community?
Most days, the veil is off. I am no longer hiding. However, there are still those days where I doubt, where fear takes over and I crawl back underneath. I find them happening less and less. When they do, I have learned where I can go to find the Goddess again – to my Community. Writing lifts me out of the veil again. Reading the words of others, having those conversations, all raise the veil again and I am free.
I have resisted telling my truth to those who I perceive as unable to understand. I am afraid that they will see me as weak, overly sensitive, strange, or “weird” is a word I like to use when I think of what they will think of me. I have resisted my truth with them. And then, I’ve wondered why? Why should I? What does that say about the relationship? Maybe they are longing to hear the truth too? Who am I to judge that they will not understand? The more I speak my truth, the more others like me gather in the Community. I am not alone. It’s as if we just needed a little sign saying that it was OK. A little spark to light the fire. And so it burns.
Where can I find more Community?
I totally agree that the Internet was born for this! It has been partly because of writing my blog and here on SLC and starting to tell my story “to the world” that has enabled me to continue. It has been the connections and conversation that have come from twitter and Facebook and other blogs that have been the example to me that it is alright to be me, that there are others like me, longing for the truth! Many say that the Internet keeps us apart, but I disagree.
My Community is so much larger than it was. I don’t think I would be as far as I am without the Internet. I think it would have come, albeit slowly, because of books and real life conversations, but I don’t think it would have been as far-reaching and powerful without it.
We talk about how we can make the world better for our children; it is time for action. I am trying so hard to set the example for my children and their children. I talk about my truth with my children, which in turn gives them permission to do the same. I encourage them to be themselves in their relationships and not to hide. To be who they really are. To be part of a Community that supports and nurtures each other.
Encouraging this Community of women is extremely important to me! This is want I want to do. This is what I want my kids to see me do. It is what I want to shout out about everywhere. I want every woman to live her life based on how she wants to feel and who she is.
How do we make time to be with our Community?
It is not easy to make time to be with our Community. I began to make it a priority a few years ago, it started with escaping for a weekend retreat with friends in October every year. It became addicting! But I can’t do this every weekend (though wouldn’t that be nice!) Other ways I’ve done this:
- Divine Goddess Book Club – often, we don’t even talk about the book, we talk about ideas that have come up from it or things that are simply on our minds. It’s about being who we are and exploring new ideas and new ways for being in the moment. Always positive, always rewarding.
- Solving every problem I’ve ever had (well, it felt like it anyway) by walking for hours with my best friend, training for an event but actually just learning to be a better listener and a better friend/wife/mom/employee. If those roads could talk…
- Cycling with another close friend, riding for hours, talking about everything. I have had the most amazing talks about life, spirituality, love! And what better setting than cycling along quiet back country roads?
- Working out almost everyday with a group of girls – this time together, supporting and nurturing ourselves was beneficial to all of us in a lot more ways than physically. It was the main reason why I created the Secret Goddess Society and the The Divine Goddess Circle – another way to gather and support each other. So needed.
I stand on rooftops and shout out these words: “Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing”. Can you hear her too?
This is a post inspired by my Core Desired Feeling: Connected. This is how I want to feel, every day. I base my daily/weekly/monthly goals on how I want to feel. I have used the Desire Map process for over a year to help me. And now I am an official Desire Map Facilitator! I will be holding workshops early in 2015. Sign up below to get on the list and be the first to know about the Desire Map Experience.