Sometimes I wake up with this anxiety in the pit of my stomach and I feel super uncomfortable as though something’s ‘just not right’. And every time It happens I have to sit down and ask myself, ‘what is this feeling?’ It’s like a fear I carry around, an incessant voice reminding me that something, somehow, somewhere in my life isn’t quite good enough. So many of us aren’t sure what we’re ‘supposed’ to be doing. We feel lost, alone, anxious, scared, off-track. And then we watch on as everybody else seemingly lives out their purpose, ridiculously happy in their perfect little lives, somehow managing to run their own business, walk the dog, feed their gorgeous little children, post daily organic recipes on their blog, make time for the gym, yoga, pilates, meditation and portray the perfect relationship with their doting husband, all while in the process of writing their third book. How the fuck.
I haven’t written a blog post in 6 weeks. 6 weeks?! What have I been doing? I’ve spent the past 3 weeks feeling like an uninspired, unmotivated sack of potatoes. I’ve spent the majority of my spare time sitting around the house in my underwear drinking tea and scrolling through Instagram, avoiding replying to emails, burying my head in the sand and wondering when I’ll finally summon up the energy to film a makeup tutorial which I’ll probably delete anyway because once again, it doesn’t quite make the cut.
This is me. In a rut. Smothering myself in doubt, fear, shame, frustration. Not being kind to myself, not being patient or loving. Just giving myself a really hard time – which is exactly what has been keeping me in this head space. Nothing good has ever come from bullying ourselves. No child has ever come home from school smiling and laughing, having had abuse thrown at them all day. Inside every single one of us there is still that little child, the one that isn’t sure, the one that holds on to memories and reasons to doubt themselves, fearing failure and abandonment, longing to feel loved and accepted. That little child needs to be nurtured and heard, not bullied.
A few months a go, a lovely lady and nutritional therapist named Lana reached out to me on Instagram and gave me some really beautiful and loving advice about my skin, we had a Skype session together and she was just the most wonderful, caring and thoughtful soul. I found out that she ran a monthly women’s circle, and since I just couldn’t seem to give myself the love that I’d been needing recently, I felt drawn towards attending my first ever event.
It was an intimate gathering with 9 other women in the beautiful heart of West London. A room filled with crystals, cushions, incense, love, acceptance, kindness and vulnerability (oh and the most gorgeous tiny little Maltese doggie. Heaven!)
I needed something to make me feel human again, to make me feel connected to myself, and to others. I spend hours every day on my phone, staring at screens, comparing myself, feeling in competition with every woman I see. And I spend not nearly enough time really listening to others, making eye contact, holding hands and sharing parts of myself that i’d usually hold inside out of fear that i’m being ‘too negative’ or ’embarrassing’. We live in this world that’s constantly telling us that we must be positive and happy every second of every day. But this suffocating pressure to constantly feel on top of the world doesn’t allow the space for us to feel every single emotion. Negative or positive, they all count. They are all here to serve us, to help us grow, to help us become more loving, empathetic and compassionate human beings. We should never deny our heavy or painful emotions the space to be heard. They are such an incredibly neccessary part of our journey, and often it’s in our most fearful moments that we feel called to take action, to love ourselves that little bit more, to reach out and connect to others in a way that will make us feel whole again.
Every woman sitting in the circle was so beautiful and radiant, and my first thought was, ‘What on earth do these women have to worry about? What could be bothering them? Why are they here?’ They were all strangers to me, and I assumed they were all living the perfect little stress-free lives I so often dream about. We took it in turns to speak about anything we wanted. No rules, no time limit, no pressure. Just a wide open space to be heard, while the other women listened carefully. No interruptions or advice given, which I think was one of the most beautiful things about the whole experience. No one tried to reason with each other, or give their opinions. Everyone just allowed each person to speak, and allowed them to have their own moment without any judgement. I think we all found it hard to open up at first, it can be really difficult to feel safe expressing yourself when you’ve been taught to hold everything in for so long, and it takes some serious guts to open up to a room of people you’ve never met before, but everyone was so brave.
For every woman that spoke, I cried. I think we all did. I literally sobbed as though their problems were happening to me, and I could feel all of their pain and struggle. Family issues, self-doubt, pressure, fear of not being good enough, feeling lost. They were all recurring themes, and by the time the last person spoke it was like this huge wave of relief washed over all of us. I’d never felt so connected to 9 strangers in my entire life, and it was so reassuring to know that I wasn’t alone. In an age of separateness and a society dominated by a fiery and competitive energy, the women’s circle is a beautiful practice that seems to have been lost in Western culture. I felt nothing but love for every single woman on the planet, even the ones who have intimated me or let me down in the past. We are all so similar in so many ways, and it’s something we so often forget.
The next time you feel the need to be cruel to another woman, to put her down or make her feel small, just take a moment to really think about what she’s been through, how she feels, and how she needs love just like you do. Remember that we all have fears, hopes, dreams, struggles and desires. Remember that we are connected to all women, not only our mothers, sisters and best friends. Let’s see each other not as competition, not a body or a mind to compare ourselves with, but as sisters carrying the same divine light inside of us all.
for her Self to be born, for her feeling values to come to form and to birth…
Woman after woman, being present, as each finds her voice”
Judith Duerk: Journey to Herself