Happy New Year! I hope the holidays brought you everything you needed – including some precious time to celebrate everything you achieved over the past twelve months, and get clear on your vision for 2017. I loved spending New Year’s Day in my pajamas reading, reflecting, and visioning for the new year – in particular what I want to feel and experience.
This is at the top of my vision board this year:
This is front and center and so important, because feeling good, boldly and out loud, is actually a challenge for most of us. It has been for me. I sometimes say that in my hometown the social currency was complaints. The bigger the problem the better. It was how people connected. Have you ever noticed or felt this?
Tomorrow Kimmi and I set off on a three week roadtrip, connecting with family and friends along the way, (and of course a few retreats)! I can’t wait to get out on the road and see what will unfold for us!
We spent time with Kimmi’s family this Christmas here in Seattle. I know many of you connected with friends and family over the last few weeks. This experience can vary widely depending on the relationships and boundaries you’ve cultivated with your family.
The reality is, these days we all tend to lead such busy lives that it’s exceptional for us to make time for each other to spend in celebration and joy. And I know that many family gatherings around the globe are filled with stress and suppression rather than sharing the blessings in our lives.
We don’t tend to have as much skill connecting over and sharing our happiness and good feelings. When things are going well, in fact, we don’t reach out at all. We reach out to people when things get bad. When we’re going through a tough time, when we’ve reached rock bottom with our finances or our relationship, when we can go no further.
Sharing these moments is deeply humbling; we get really vulnerable, and big challenges can be the trigger for some really profound realizations. How many of us have faced the end of a relationship before admitting to ourselves and those close to us “I don’t know how to create healthy boundaries”? How many of us have waited until money is tight before we can finally say “I have no clue how to make a profit doing what I love!”?
It’s not only with our families that this is true. Often business owners only reach out to a coach, or consider hiring support, when they’re at a point where the situation is causing them pain. When they’re approaching burnout with everything on their plate, or facing up to the impossible decision about whether to keep going in their business.
What if we could overturn that norm that so many of us inhabit, where we only reach out for connection when things are bad and we absolutely need it?
I believe that it’s because of this precedent – reaching out and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable only when things are bad and we are at our lowest point – that we subconsciously create pain and struggle in our lives. On a deep level, seeking real connection becomes an incentive for us to hit “rock bottom”.
What if we had a society that encouraged us to connect even more in JOY than in pain?
Where we felt able to be VULNERABLE in our JOY? And saw joy and happiness as just as much of a reason to reach out and connect as we do with struggle?
What if we were moved to seek support and foster deep connection in times of great strength, as well as weakness?
I believe our world could really begin to heal. We would no longer have a motive to seek out situations of struggle and pain. We would know instead that in our greatest successes there would still be opportunities to connect with others on a deep soul level.
These are the kinds of conversations that begin to happen at a higher level once we open up the reality of our unconscious drives and inner motivations. It takes deep work to be able to look at ourselves and notice these patterns; see the underlying craving for connection and deep authenticity that lie beneath our most self destructive behaviors.
Small retreats can help us – and our clients – awaken to this reality. Our work as retreat leaders is to facilitate these deep transformations. In doing so we affect not only the clients who attend our retreats, but their families and communities. And over time, the difference this can make to the world cannot be underestimated.
Here’s wishing you great joy and success in the coming year – may it bring you the connection and support we all need.