Recently, I went through two deeply impactful doorways in rapid succession – the loss of my dog Sheba and a deeply vulnerable (and magical!) wedding proposal. Truth be told, I don’t think I could have made it through either of these moments without the support of an incredible community of friends and chosen family who get me and (sincerely) have my back.
Don't get me wrong – my parents and real family are great. As are my colleagues and the people I collaborate with outside of Guts &Grace. But from my first day in the corporate workforce, I realized that not everyone was going to get – or have room in their minds or hearts for – all of me. Pretty much, I have always felt it to be true. And pretty much (even as a teacher of aligned embodiment and radical authenticity) I have always practiced a subtle form of dance that included covering, calibrating and carefully choosing my words to ensure they would land for the people on the receiving end.
Perhaps you can relate?
Maybe there’s something you are facing personally that you would never feel comfortable telling your boss (or he/she knows but it’s just not in the bounds of what they can support you with at work).
Or maybe your identity is a bit more complex than your day job or regular circle of friends reflects – you’re more spiritual, more practical, more fearful, more queer, more traditional, more brave, more kinky, more fun, more complex than the people you spend the majority of your time with– and you want to better understand yourself.
Or maybe you’ve achieved a certain kind of success that would never make sense to your family… and now there’s a challenge (or an opportunity) that you need and want to rise to… but nobody really to ask for advice.
Before the pandemic, I coached a lot of women who were good at going it alone.
In fact, a lot of my clients were quite skeptical about the group coaching portion of the Guts & Grace program. And maybe I was too. (I’ve never liked group-work much, after all). But I’ve been learning a LOT about healing and transformation over the past few years, and as I get even more deeply committed to healing trauma (the big T’s and the small t’s) I have come to develop an embodied understanding of what’s meant by the phrase
“We have been wounded in community… so we can only heal in community.”
At its core, the work of Guts & Grace helps women unravel the internalized, patriarchal programming that we've learned (consciously and unconsciously) from our early careers in corporate, government and non-profit sectors…
where there were rules of the road that we had to learn early on in order to succeed – ways to be, do, think and feel that won you your success – as well as your safety, your dignity and your belonging.
Typically, the women I support have gotten good at the game of success. It’s working… more or less. But it’s also lonely.
And then…something breaks, doesn’t fit anymore, or just gets hard.
A health crisis
The loss of a loved one
A year off due to burnout
A new baby
A massive promotion that feels way out of her league
And suddenly there’s more you need to contend with – and more of YOU is needed in order to face it.
And in order to dig deeper and coax out the parts of you (that already exist but may have been taking a back burner while you succeeded in the old paradigm) you might actually need some support to grow, change, transform or heal.
In other words, you might not actually be able to do it alone.
At least, that’s what I’ve found.
For example, despite knowing for over a decade that I’ve been in the best, most loving and most grounding intimate relationship of my life, my own wounding around commitment and my fears of judgment for choosing an unconventional life partner and a challenging long-distance relationship kept me in an 11-year holding pattern until a few weeks ago. What changed recently was my community context.
It took finally finding a community of peers who are inclusive, expansive and heart-centered enough to see us in our integrity, feel the depth of our love, and respect our complexity to finally have the courage (and the tools!) to say yes to ourselves, and finally get engaged.
In my heart, I know this moment is just a beginning – that there is so much more healing, more learning and more growing for us both to do as we enter the next phase of our lives. But I also know that our community will lend us their courage, will reflect our weaknesses and liabilities kindly, will celebrate our successes, and will have our backs when the going gets tough.
And for that I am deeply grateful.
I believe that we are only as strong as our communities,
and I am committed to continuing to strengthen the Guts & Grace community, so that we are big enough to hold you this year.