One of the most beautiful gifts in the world is the gift of encouragement. When someone encourages you, that person helps you over a threshold you might otherwise have never crossed on your own. (John O'Donohue, Eternal Echoes)
Most of the time I am so busy in my life, I don't always pause and fully appreciate the miraculous gifts that support and sustain me. I am learning that it is important to take time to look up and notice the faces smiling at me, the voices offering kindness and inspiration. I have this image of all of us running along in this marathon that is life and we take turns leading the way, setting the pace, then fall back to grab a water bottle, sharing refreshment and words of encouragement. While we each run our own race, we may silently join with another in simple companionship for the rough, uphill patches as well as the exhilirating downhill coast.
For seven months now I have hosted a monthly women's circle gathering. We had a slow start finding our rhythm, but now it is pretty much a given we will all be together on the second Saturday of each month. Some of us knew each other beforehand, but several members are new to the others. Very quickly, the group settled into a level of trust and comfort, sharing our vulnerabilities and struggles within the safety and sacredness of the circle. Our stories have unfolded naturally and effortless. It is amazing to witness the shifts and changes in lives when greeted with regularity and attention. It is a privilege to recognize how the group has supported growth within each individual.
After our most recent gathering, I realized the power of the circle lies in holding a space for expansive thinking and dreaming. Coming together, we share our struggles, but in those conversations we share how we want to live and grow. We share our hopes for ourselves and our intentions for our lives. We speak about what might be possible and by sharing that vision, we hold space for its realization.
It is easy to fall into the habit of seeing what is lacking in our world: kindness, respect for diversity or difference, loving use of power and privilege, a regard for the unity of life and ourselves as part of a natural world that we are slowly and methodically destroying. But when we focus solely upon the negatives, the lacks, we stunt our mind's ability to expand and create alternative possibilities. We limit ourselves when we dwell upon what can't be undone; we narrow the scope of possibility by limiting ourselves and our dreams.
Sitting in circle, I was aware that the safety of this group affords me the opportunity to speak of what may initially seem impossible. But by saying the words, I set into motion a process. If every action has it ancestor in a thought, then our dreams and our future begins with allowing wild, dangerous, life-embracing thoughts to be uttered. In a space of support and love, those thoughts become the seeds of a future I want to inhabit, a future dream I can imagine passionately co-creating and supporting.
I want to dream big. I want to allow room for all manner of miracles, healing, love and kindness to bloom full, fragrant, and enduring.