We danced, we watched stars from a hot tub and then jumped into ice cold pool, we meditated and prayed, we had long conversations over tea and red wine, we danced to awaken the energy of earth, water, fire and air. There were so many moments where I felt an overflowing sense of gratitude and love. I feel so lucky to experience the closeness, love, warmth, and appreciation that women can provide for each other.
As women we often can be competitive, judgmental, even mean to each other. Several of the women shared over the weekend that they grew up bullied by other girls, being hurt, not having a community. And I know that this is one of the reasons why we can’t relax into each other’s presence, afraid to trust each other, resistant to provide unconditional support and praise. This wall of protection that we surrounded ourselves with also prevents a deep sense of community, love, sisterhood that can fill your life with a deeper sense of belonging that so many of us are missing.
Can you imagine having a group of women that you can be yourself with and share your joy, issues, memories, scary dark moments and inspirational ideas? What would it feel like? How would it help you? Love, respect, inspiration, support that women can provide for each other is impossible to overestimate.
Here are some lessons I learned over the last few years about creating your circle of sisters and some lessons that emerged over this unusual bachelorette weekend:
- Reach out to those you feel called to. I met almost all of the women in my close circle in a slightly unusual way. No forced networking. All were the result of following what brought me joy and inspired me. For example I met Mira Kelley after reading about her transformational work in a bestseller by Anita Moorjani. I thought chances of getting a response from Mira were close to zero but I wrote to her anyway. Over the past two years our relationship grew and evolved and we became dear friends.
Being vulnerable is hard but it brings you closer. Being vulnerable and honest even with yourself is hard. Expressing what is happening within you in words in front of another person is even harder. We tend to avoid hard things. But as you probably know the most rewarding things come from stretching our boundaries and comfort levels. When you slow down, get present for yourself, and share with honestly with another person, you stretch your boundaries that keep you small, protected and stuck. Opening up brings us closer to ourselves, our dream life and, of course, our community.
Verbalizing your thoughts and feelings before they are perfect helps you get clarity and get to know yourself better. Our guide asked me to share what love means for me. I never verbalized it before. I felt resistance to saying something that is not ready, that I didn’t have time to prepare or perfect. But I jumped in and while the first few sentences were slow, broken, unclear, in a few moments I had a lot more clarity on the topic. I felt the ideas and examples emerge from the depth of my mind. I didn’t think and then spoke. I spoke as words came to me. Try speaking on any topic that you want to explore deeper and you might be surprised with how much wisdom you have
- Being on the receiving end of love, appreciation, and blessings can trigger discomfort and a desire to self-depreciate. I don’t feel comfortable being too visible, this is part of the reason I barely use social media for personal purposes and pretty rarely share stories from my personal life. This weekend I ended up in the middle, at the center of the circle, on the receiving end of a powerful outpouring of love, kind words, gentle touch from the women I love and admire. I wanted to escape, hide, and evaporate from it all. A little grey mouse in me who wants me to stay safe, to please people, not to attract too much attention felt undeserving and scared of being at the center of attention. I wanted to be on the other side and give, not receive. Isn’t it much more natural and graceful to give?!
Being aware of those thoughts, of my impulse to hide, I chose the opposite – to breathe it in, to be fully present and take it in, to receive and be grateful for each piece without guilt. Look at your pattern when you get compliments, hear praise, or kind words about you: do you take them in with acknowledgement or do you jump right back with a similar compliment to pay back or do you neglect it by saying that it is an exaggeration or not true?
- Follow your joy and be courageous in it! We often do what we are supposed to do. Society creates expectations, we follow. Asking my dear women to jump on a 6 hour flight, 2 hour drive, to move things around in their schedule and change commitments was a stretch. Getting up before sunrise to go meditate on top of the mountain was also a stretch because who doesn’t want to stay in a warm bed on a Sunday morning? Jumping into a cold pool was also a stretch but damn it felt good after! Courage and commitment to joy can take you wonderful places! Staying comfortable will keep you where you are.
- There are always pendulums (in everything), be mindful and know your patterns. Most people can say how they feel on any given day but we rarely observe a bigger picture of our emotional patterns. What became very clear after spending 3 days filled with so much joy, gratitude, and laughter, is that there is always a swing in the opposite direction. In the first 2 days I kept thinking to myself that the trip came together so beautifully, how lucky I was to have each one of these amazing women as my friends, how beautiful it was to open up and be vulnerable and yet fully accepted. I literally had tears in my eyes half the time. On the third day my brain hit its happiness threshold. I think it went something like this: how much of this happiness can you take? How grateful can you be? How long can it really last? Is this even real? Let’s find some problems to deal with so it is more real! So I woke up at sunrise in the 4th day feeling anxious and overwhelmed. This is the pattern that my mind takes me to. It doesn’t even have to be connected to reality even though I can trick myself into thinking that it is. After talking to 3 other girls, we all noticed that we had a swing into our most negative pattern after the high that we experienced together. Somebody questioned their worth, somebody cried, one girl felt explosive and angry. The patterns are different but we all have our weak spots. When you open up, remember childhood, work with energy, things will come up. To deal with them in a kind compassionate way you have to be mindful and recognize the black hole before it sucks you in.
These are just some thoughts, maybe not perfectly structured but they come from my heart and I hope they inspire you to step towards creating a deeper relationship with women who are interesting and dear to you.
While planning my wedding I will be in and out of your inbox with more pictures and messages. It is a joyful period of my life and if I learn something along the way that can inspire you, I will share. However, I want to make sure that the silence is worth breaking.
If you are interested in learning how I m keeping wedding planning stress free and healthy (including the food we will be serving) let me know in the comments and I will share!