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When I used to live in the Dominican Republic, we would say “Feliz dia del amor y de la amistad” today. Happy Love and Friendship Day!
I appreciate the inclusivity of that expression. There’s no separation between who the holiday applies to and who it does not. It’s a holiday that belongs to all of us.
Remember when we were children and our parents ensured we sent valentines to all of our classmates? Let’s bring back those sentiments, shall we?! To that end, I am wishing you love and friendship today.
Authenticity is a topic that’s been on my heart of late. For the past year, I’ve been hosting monthly gatherings in my home to foster connection and community among women entrepreneurs. I’ve been touched by the natural relationships, referrals and support that ensues when a safe container is created allowing us to share vulnerably and be seen by others.
We often avoid being seen, don’t we? We dislike sharing when things aren’t going well. We avoid asking for help until it’s absolutely necessary. And we shy away from vulnerability often.
And yet, when we do – we feel lighter. We feel grateful for the support. We feel closer to those around us. We feel less different and unique and it creates a deeper sense of belonging.
This is why I have come to deeply appreciate the modality of authentic relating. The Atlantic wrote an interesting article on the history of this movement. Essentially, they are improv and connection games that can be used both in a social or professional setting to foster honest and meaningful conversation and open the door for lasting relationships, a greater sense of understanding, and effective communication.
I recall the first time I went to an authentic relating evening… I found myself in a studio space with 30 new faces, of which I recognized 2. It felt uncomfortable sharing vulnerably with people I just met. Answering questions like “What do you appreciate most about yourself?” and What’s your most embarrassing memory while traveling?” And yet, I walked away from the evening to 27 new and welcoming faces. I walked away aware of how nice it felt to have others I did not know listen to me. I’ve come to realize that that uncomfortable factor is simply the consequence of trying something new. Nothing more.
Brene Brown says in The Call to Courage, “Vulnerability is the pathway to being seen and to being loved. To love is to be vulnerable. Many of us would rather not be loved than to risk being vulnerable.”
I was hooked. Why would I want to have a surface-level conversation with anyone when I could have one meaningful one that would impact me personally. I became trained as an authentic relating facilitator and looked for ways to weave these exercises into my work.
We began to include authentic relating exercises in our annual PACK Retreats and were amazed by the number of lasting and close friendships that ensued among our travelers.
And more recently, this has resulted in a formal partnership with Eaton Wellness at Eaton Hotel DC where I am now hosting monthly authentic relating evenings to foster meaningful conversation and connection. Moving forward, I will include upcoming events at the bottom of each weekly newsletter, so be on the lookout. Authentic relating is growing. If you are not local to DC, look for a local community on Meetup or Facebook.
On this Valentines Day, I wish you lots of authentic conversation and love!
PS Today is the LAST DAY to register for our 2020 retreats to Greece, Peru and India.