Each month, I host a group of former strangers in my home.
We gather—as women have from the beginning of time—to check in with one another.
There is a rhythm and a structure to how we meet.
First, we eat, potluck style: Everyone contributes whatever they can without stress. In fact, part of our group, called “Big Yes,” is learning to manage our own stressors and anxieties. We never want anyone to feel (as I often have in other situations) so stressed about what to bring they decide it’s easier just to stay home.
In fact, years ago, a fellow member said all she had to contribute were two oranges she rolled out of her bag: Those were the sweetest, most unique oranges we had ever tasted. A contribution is never to be underestimated.
We eat and catch up over the last month’s lighter happenings: Babies and job interviews. Experiences with doctors and nail color trends. Recipes and world news.
Then we move into the ceremony we call circle. In this container, we have deep conversation with the aid of talking pieces and guidelines.
In this space, I’m always amazed how nothing appears to be off limits. We talk depression and sex. Infertility, celebration, anxiety, moving, having to fire someone. Milestones and desires.
Leadership rotates and the group is not anymore a reflection of me than of her or her either: It looks like all of us.
In December, we discussed scarcity.
First step: define it. I described scarcity as the opposite of abundance.
The keeper then asked us, “What’s scarce in your life?”
Answers varied: time, empowerment, confidence, gratitude—among others.
For me, I have always cared so deeply about community that I have dedicated my life to building them. However, if I am being honest, I find myself afraid to deeply be a part of them. I fear rejection on such a deep level that I stay engaged in my communities in a shallow way.
So for me, deeply-rooted community feels scarce.
Later on, we heard this quote you may recognize:
We were asked to define the word ‘enough’; and then, the difference between ‘enough’ and ‘settling’.
(Have you given much thought to how you would actually verbalize what is enough for you? Try it!)
We closed with a commitment—naming one way we would honor being in the state of ‘enough’ in the coming year.
The number three seemed reasonable to me. So I decided I would dedicate myself to three communities this year and work to go deeper than perhaps I had in the past. I declared that mind, body and spirit would be my inspiration for the groups, and I would use those areas for selection.
So, circle closed and—after lots of hugs, filled with inspiration and vowing to move with a feeling of ‘enough’ into December—I went on my way.
The holidays came and went, and it became time to choose my three. I decided on:
- a new place to volunteer (which I have already begun training for);
- my religious community; and
- my workout studio—plus I joined a novice runners group.
A lot of newness.
So last week, our monthly gathering came once more, and I found myself sitting at my dinner table surrounded by my Big Yes sisters once again, enjoying the MOST amazing potluck. (Seriously, why have I never thought to put persimmons in salad?!)
The conversation went to travel, as many of us had just returned from holiday travel or are already in need of a break from our break. I mentioned that I would love to set a goal of a girls trip, but don’t have girlfriends to travel with. Almost in unison they all say, “Whhhat?! I will!” I had to smile.
One of my girlfriends, who is Peruvian, said, “I just said I would love to go to Peru with you!” And she had. I heard her but it hadn’t sunk in.
Another who is from New England said she thought Salem in October would be fabulous, and she would love to go, as would others, apparently. I have wanted to take this trip for years and sort of sat on it.
I thought I had mentioned it to some folks in my orbit—but sometimes what we think we are saying is clouded by our own sense of lacking.
Maybe what we think is scarce in our lives is sometimes what we’re holding onto too tightly. For me, I had a community right in front of me. But I had let my self-doubt strike me out before I even gave it a chance to sink in.
Perhaps continuing to join new groups is what leaves me feeling scarce—instead of looking at what’s more than enough, literally encircling me.
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