I had no idea. The relationship was fine, I felt ok about it, we’d talked about the issues we were having.
Until I was in the zone with my women, safely contained in a space where I knew that whatever I expressed would be ok. The truth started flowing and I hadn’t had any idea that I had been holding it in or denying it.
It was something small that triggered it and as I began to share what had happened, I felt this rage building up in my belly and my chest. I became more heated and LET IT FLOW. I didn’t need to think about whether I was hurting anyone or whether my reactions were too extreme. I didn’t need to put on my filter, making sure I was being well-balanced and sensitive.
Because sometimes I’m not well-balanced. Sometimes I’m totally wrong about something but I still need to let off the steam and come out with it and be totally fucking ridiculous. So out it came and it wasn’t pretty. I flowed through the outrage, the rant, my voice loud and clear and entirely unreasonable.
Feeling the fire in my belly and the energy at my throat until… there it was. Tucked just underneath the raging storm… My grief. My vulnerability. It welled up as the lead stone of ‘nice’ dissolved. I am afraid. I am sad. I want to be seen and loved.
With snot in my hair and mascara down my face, I look into the eyes of my women. Some of them are crying too, some are smiling and others are just looking at me, clear and neutral. I realise there are some tissues nearby and just after I blow my nose I take a deep breath. It takes itself, one of those big breaths that feels like it’s been waiting forever for the space to expand in my chest.
Now that the anxiety and ‘reason’ have left the room, I really can breathe again. I feel SO much better and I am clear on what’s really been cooking for me.
Nobody needed to fix this for me or tell me what to do. They didn’t need to ask me questions or take care of me. They weren’t intimidated by my anger and they didn’t need to reason me out of it.
I was held in simple presence, the silence of active listening, of holding ‘what is’ without needing to change it.
This is the difference for me. I have amazing female friends in my life and I love the way we talk – I can be real with them too and be held beautifully. The way we get to see each other when we’re in circle, though, is different.
There’s a depth of sharing that is as intense as it is sacred. Sometimes it’s in the silence, in the woman without words who just needs to hold the talking piece and be held energetically. Or the woman who is being judged as crazy by everyone in her life who gets to be seen without judgement in her circle. Maybe it’s the celebration when an issue we’ve been hearing about for many months shifts or something utterly joyful can be shared in a moment without any expectation that it has to stay joyful forever.
And yes, it’s free. This is what we can do for each other. It gets so ‘normal’ when you’re on a personal or spiritual development path to pay for everything that is supportive to you – therapy, retreats, books, workshops. This is all good stuff, but it’s empowering to remember that we are more than capable of holding each other and giving each other this gift of development, enabling each other to ‘do the work’ without always needing an external person to make it happen.