Part of my work with women involves encouraging them to be seen. There is Glow Friday in my Facebook groups and on Instagram, where each Friday I invite my tribe to post selfies and share just where each of them are in their day or week or life. It has been both an amazing way for the women to connect with each other and to step forward into their own vulnerability and be seen and witnessed and accepted right where they are. The Glow Friday posts aren’t always glowing or happy; we’ve shared our grief and frustration and fear in those posts – and it is in these posts that I am most proud of the circles that have gathered around my work. These posts where my tribe shares their darker sides are the ones that pull the rest of the women forward – support and love is showered and there are always “me toos” and as each woman allows parts of her Shadow side to be seen, she learns, in her bones, in her very being, how not alone she is.
I model this vulnerability for my tribe, too. My Glow Friday posts aren’t always sunshine and sausages. I don’t save this vulnerability for Fridays either; most mornings I write a stream of conscious instagram post (ala Liberated Lines), sharing where I am in those first moments (or the first moments I can sit and write more than three words) of my day. It’s often an image of my coffee or the house or one of the kids, and in sharing these different images of my life and mornings, the world gets to see just how messy things can be for me. Sometimes these posts are filled with love and joy and sometimes they are not. And sometimes they start in a tired or frustrated tone and then by the end I have found my breath and my center and can come from a more positive space.
It can be challenging to be constantly “putting myself out there.” I’m an introvert. A very social introvert, and an introvert all the same. I need quiet and space to energize myself and when I share parts of my life or my soul (and let’s be honest, my work is both) with the world I can feel awkward and needing to retreat. I’ve learned my own dance of showing my face and then hiding it and it has become smoother through the years and through my own work. Along with this has been learning to set boundaries, to say no, to say yes, to schedule quiet. I love connecting to people and sharing our stories and afterward I need the time to let it all settle into me.
Many of my tribe are like this also.
One woman asked me if I ever felt scared sharing myself or my work (I’m paraphrasing). I told her of course I do. And this is my work. If I am to guide others to standing in their own light, to setting their own boundaries, to shedding masks and shame and being seen for who they truly are – then I damn well need to do the same. It does get easier with time and practice. And still there are days when the Shadows come out and want to dance and so we dance and I soothe my Self, my shadow and my light.
This is what I guide women to. To being comfortable in our own skin. To not apologizing for who we are. To no longer feeling shame. To feeling bold and proud and wild and to a large degree not caring what others think (and to realizing that really, most people don’t think about us and our shenanigans at all).
I love my work. It challenges and pushes me. This year is about expansion, and I am doing that. Expanding my comfort zone by constantly stepping outside of it. And to do this, I must be brave and vulnerable and dance with my shadows and fears. I must care for and nourish my whole self: body, mind and spirit. What I want for my tribe I make sure I give to myself. And so with each day, because of my work, I too grow and shift and sift and transform and learn more about being in the here and now, in my body, in my spirit.
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