Originally posted on The Reset Retreat
A few years ago, I had a problem: I had lost touch with friends, wasn’t taking care of my body, and my kids were at a really needy stage. So, I called a friend and asked the obvious question: “do you know of a drop-in daycare spot, that is right next door to a great massage place, with a wine bar on the other side?”
That was the question you were thinking, right?
“Then I could drop off the kids, go get a massage, and then meet up with girlfriends afterwards.” It was a joke, because of course, nothing like that actually exists. (Does it?!) I was thinking luxury and dreaming big.
You see, under the stress of my growing family, I felt stuck in the challenges. I felt disconnected from myself. I felt like my body wasn’t my own anymore. I felt overwhelmed as I started a business and felt all the big emotions that come with playing bigger. And, I missed my girlfriends. I saw so many problems, and so little time to deal with any of it.
I had been playing with the idea of “experimenting” in my life. And even so, the words surprised me as they came out. I asked, “what if I created just what I want?” And my internal dialog went something like: What if I was so wildly selfish that I set everything up exactly as I wanted. I don’t like the word “selfish” in this context, but that is exactly what I thought. Selfish. Nevertheless, I tested the water to see if my idea would float.
I asked my husband if once a month he could come home an hour earlier. “Sure.”
I reached out to 10 friends who are loving and supportive, the kind who I am a better me around. They each responded with enthusiasm. Some of them didn’t know each other, but all of them loved the idea, and worked out arrangements for their own kids.
I even found a massage therapist who would come to my house and give massages in the other room for anyone who wanted them. Seriously.
I called the event “Mind-Body-Spirit” and the group “my tribe.” It has been 2.5 years since our first gathering. An amazing thing happened from my experiment: every person in the group now has a dedicated evening of self-care. Our conversations are deep, confidential and supportive. And by sharing how I had expressed my needs and figured out how to have them met, each person has learned and done more to take care of themselves in the past couple years than ever before. The bonus that I hadn’t dared to imagine was that my friends consider this group my gift to them.
These connections have allowed each of us to build our reservoir of resilience. Since we began meeting, my tribe has coped with death, birth, a child undergoing brain surgery, starting businesses, surviving major career changes, post-partum depression, layoffs, marriage challenges, personal growth, and with kids from ages 1 month to 17 years, we’ve talked about our children and our roles as mothers…a lot.
Life didn’t get easier, but each person felt more supported, heard and loved through their personal trials.
I love this quote from Howard Thurman, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” I woke up a part of myself when I reached out and reconnected with my friends. This group has allowed me to be myself, to be supported, to BE.
We all grow from connection. No one goes very far alone. And when we do connect with others, we find things in ourselves that may have otherwise stayed hidden without the gift of another person.
What can you do today to move yourself towards greater connection? Get clear on what you need and have fun with it! And when you do, I’d love to hear about it.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
– Howard Thurman