June 2016 I stepped into the ring and started a Book Club. I invited six women to come to my home and sit at my table every week–yup, every week–to talk about the chapter we read and how it impacted us.
I was tired of the ‘busy badge’ everyone, including myself, was proudly displaying. The new conversation went something like this: “Hello, how are you?” Response, “I’m busy.” It was as if our identity and worth was wrapped up in that one four letter word.
So, why then, if I was so busy, was I feeling disconnected, isolated and lonely? I found myself craving authentic relationships where we could be real with one another–where compassion replaced competition and vulnerability was valued and applauded.
Our first book was by Brene Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage To Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. On page 2, she states, “Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”
And just like that, our group was cut in half. No joke, three of the six did not make it past the first chapter! At this point I was feeling super confident about starting this thing … NOT!
The next paragraph says this: “When we spend our lives waiting until we are perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgement and advice, we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.”
For the next year, three of us sat at the table and peeled off the masks and wrestled through uncomfortable conversations that ultimately led us to freedom. We realized that we could show up, be seen and heard, and vulnerability was not something to run from but to lean in to.
All our imperfections, hang-ups, issues, and fears began to pale in comparison to the revelation that we are enough! We began to feel brave and to dare greatly. We realized that each one of us had something to bring to the table that was unique yet added value to the group as a whole.
We learned that we really did need each other and that we were stronger together. When we have connection, we find purpose and meaning to our lives. Today we are continuing the process of living wholeheartedly and engaging the world from a place of worthiness. Cultivating the courage to wake up every morning and say, “No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.”
Wholehearted living began around the table!
Challenge to cultivate wholehearted living:
- Cultivate Authenticity: Let go of what people think.
- Cultivate Self-compassion: Let go of perfectionism.
- Cultivate Calm: Let go of anxiety.
- Cultivate Creativity: Let go of criticism.
- Cultivate Gratitude and Joy: Let go of scarcity and fear.