Friday, March 30, 2012

I am all these things

and so are you.

Earlier this month, Doodlebugheart held a one-night workshop for our local Newcomers group.  We had a smaller turnout that we originally expected.  My knee-jerk reaction was to be disappointed (turns out my adolescent angst is still lurking nearby: "Nobody likes me!!") but then I realized it actually gave us the opportunity to have a more intimate gathering.  We decided to hold it in my home instead of the YWCA, which not only gave it a cozy, relaxed vibe, it also gave us the option to drink ourselves silly.   Emily and I also decided to change the exercise.  The original craft we had planned would have been fun for a large group, but having only a handful of people gave us the opportunity to make it a more meaningful, individualized exercise. 

It was not the evening we had originally envisioned.  But instead of feeling like it was a failure, I ended up feeling like it was a gift.   It was an evening that was soul-filling.  Full of laughter and honesty and wine and chocolate and crazy delicious food and tears and bonding and heart.  It was absolutely special and I feel privileged to have been a part of it.

The new exercise we chose was one from our Wishing Well Weekend Workshop.  Everyone had a stack of index cards with each person's name at the top, and we asked everyone to write a minimum of 5 positive things about that person, either that we knew or intuited or observed.  Not everyone knew each other, but it's remarkable what we grasp about people at a deep level after a very brief time.  Everyone seemed to have an easy time filling their cards with statements about each person they were writing about.
Proving my own point, I had agita about the fact that you can read my cards.

After collecting all the cards with our names, we read them out loud.  We read, out loud, in front of each other, all of the beautiful, powerful things about us that are so obvious to other people.  The incredible thing is how difficult it is to do this part of the exercise.  Although we can't wait to read the cards in private, having to own up to the truth of who we are in front of others, to claim all our beauty and power, is scary and embarrassing and difficult.  Some people cried, some read quickly and with detachment, some of us laughed, all of us were moved.

Women seem to find it so easy to focus on all the ways we fail, all the ways we don't measure up, all the ways we are lacking.  We seem to find it so hard to own the truth of our own strengths and gifts and successes.  It is so easy and obvious to others, even strangers can write down amazing truths about us within minutes of meeting us.  But it is so hard for us admit to ourselves, much less to speak of publicly.

The treasure box I decorated.

The last part of the exercise was to decorate a small box we had given each person, and then to roll up your cards, tie them with a ribbon, and nestle them inside.  To create a beautiful home to store the treasure of the truth of who you really are.

I wish I had photos of all the boxes--they were sublime.

I hope you will be able to come to one of our workshops and experience this powerful exercise for yourself.  Until then, I hope you will allow yourself to see and claim the beauty and power within you a little more today.  You are all these things.  I am all these things.

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