What do you want to do, that you think would make you look crazy?
A month ago I had an experience that I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about here on the blog yet. Partly because I’m still processing and integrating it so I’m not entirely clear on what it all means for me, and also partly, to be really honest, because I’m conscious it might sound a little crazy to you. But my word of the year is ‘truth’, so I’m sharing these reflections in the hope they might be thought-provoking for you too.
What’s the most ‘out of character’ thing you’ve ever done?
Not necessarily something illegal or unethical, but something that challenged the assumptions you’ve made about who you are and the unwritten rules you follow about how you show up in the world. Something that stretched the stories you believed about your identity and your sense of self, especially as you expand or evolve.
Have you ever wanted to do something but held yourself back because you thought you might look silly, foolish or crazy?
It doesn’t have to be over-the-top ridiculous or outrageous. It may be something as simple (but not easy!) as telling someone how much you appreciate them when your relationship isn’t usually emotionally expressive. Maybe it’s saying ‘no’ to an opportunity that isn’t right for you, but is coveted by everyone else. Perhaps it’s choosing to invest in yourself, your wellbeing or your personal development at a higher level than you’ve ever done before. Or it could just be taking yourself less seriously and having some fun.
In May, I attended five days of training on creating and leading women’s circles.
That may or may not sound strange to you, but it’s probably the most ‘woo woo’ thing I’ve done, so I had some hesitation before signing up.
It wasn’t your typical professional development training program or workshop. The sales page spoke of ‘sacred circles’, promised rituals and ceremonies, invited us to join ‘for a mystical journey to the center of your soul’ and included a declaration by the facilitator, Sora Surya No: ‘I believe in the Power of Women’s Circles and the Magic of Sisterhood.’ I wasn’t sure that I believed in either of those two things.
I was curious, but I also wasn’t certain whether this experience was ‘for me’. Conscious of the resistance from my ego and judgement from my analytical mind, I made the choice to allow myself to follow my curiosity, despite my reservations and the scepticism of others (‘Are you a witch?’ asked a woman from my book club).
I figured there would be no better way to find out if any of this resonated than to immerse myself in it. Even if it turned out ‘sacred circles’ or female friendship characterised as ‘sisterhood’ didn’t resonate with me, I hoped the week would at least offer an opportunity for heart-focused introspection, deeper connection to myself, and a mindful retreat or relaxing break from my usual weekday routine.
And I’m so glad I went. Grateful for the five wonderful days spent in a spacious and bright room flooded with natural light, in the company of 27 open-hearted women.
While at times I wondered whether I truly belonged there, amongst the talk of chakras, crystals, goddesses, past lives and spiritual practices, there was so much I enjoyed about the experience. Here are a handful of my highlights:
1. Slowing down.
Being present in the moment, feeling spacious and at ease.
Not rushing through the day or feeling the need to be anywhere else.
2. The multitude of quiet, intentional moments.
Grounding, breathing, meditating. Mindful listening.
Other simple acts done with love, intention, reverence and appreciation of beauty.
Gratitude keenly felt and expressed.
Honouring our feminine energy and dropping into the heart space.
Surrendering to the experience.
Giving ourselves permission to play, have fun, and enjoy.
4. The invitation to embody the fullest expression of ourselves.
To feel into the truth of what’s in each of us, to remember our light and to envision.
To be radically responsible for ourselves.
To release that which is no longer needed so that we can rise and spiral upwards onto the next step in our evolution.
5. A safe space where we could be seen and heard without judgement.
A space where we could be real and raw.
Surrounded by women who were willing to listen with compassion and without criticism, and to accept and embrace you without first assessing your worthiness or value from your job title.
I’m not sure where I will end up on this journey, but that’s okay. So far, I’ve enjoyed giving myself permission to explore and experiment without expectation, and being supported by and supporting a group of heart-centred women.
Now, I would love to invite you to reflect:
How often do you give yourself permission to play?
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
Where have you allowed fear, cynicism or criticism to stop you from doing something you really want to do?