“And by you, of course, I mean me. And by me, I really mean all of us. Because that’s how these things work. That’s why we tell stories, ‘cause we’re all more the same than we are not, and it helps to find a home in the words of another. “ (Jeanette LeBlanc)
The writing that women offer up inside of the retreats can be brutal, revealing, cathartic, magical, raw, breathtakingly beautiful, undoing and transcending. And all at once.
And still, the alchemy is in the sharing. It's in the listening and being listened to. I could never count the number of moments a woman in the circle has said my words, spoken my feelings, revealed the lies I tell to myself, found my gift, and removed my armor.
It's not about having the same experience as anyone else. We're not having the same experience, even in the same shared moment. I once heard an interview by Krista Tippett where she talked about a guest saying that 'here' and 'now' always mean something entirely different to every person in the room. It's about the ability to empathize with the feeling, the pain, the joy, the dilemma, the confusion, the humanity, the contradiction, the all of it.
When the eyes of the woman across from you meet you with love and an empathetic witnessing that is so deep that it might as well for just a moment be that she's you, it transforms something within. It helps to heal and reconnect the places where we've disconnected ourselves from our truth. Where we thought we had to stand alone, and even afraid of ourselves.
And that is something that no matter where we go after this experience together, we take with us. We take into ourselves. We take each other, and the me and the you, and the all of us. And somehow, we are all more. And more whole. 💗