The sun was streaming through the windows, and the playlist was earthy but upbeat.
I was ready.
So, so ready.
The past few months have felt…sticky.
When I look at the moments that have made up this winter season, they have been filled with the soft embraces of my children, stolen moments spent stitching and working with yarn, and the careful tending to seeds and bulbs with cups of water and diligently applied measuring tapes to chart daily progress.
But also, a great deal of frustration and inertia.
I have had ideas that I can’t quite articulate, and a waning desire to rise early in the morning to put words to paper. Failed efforts to roll out my yoga mat or walk the trail by my house have left my body feeling untended and stiff. And I’ve been hard-pressed to seek stillness and curiosity in this space. I wish I could find stillness and curiosity, but mostly, I want out. I’m ready for new energy. Ready for Spring.
And so, when I greeted the women who attended my Spring Equinox circle this past weekend, it was with optimism for the bright season ahead, and a readiness for what comes next.
My opening question, I thought, was simple: “thinking back on the past season, what are you grateful for, and what, as I used to say when I worked in the corporate realm, were your ‘areas for growth’?”
Though I think we all came to the circle for a jolt of bright-shininess
what arrived in the rush of still-cool air through the door
That is to say, the darkness found us here, too.
It reminded me of the first-ever women’s circle I held, two years ago – the one where I thought we were going to eat chocolate-covered strawberries and make vision boards.
During that circle, I inadvertently sought the darkness. A spur-of-the-moment decision to ask the attendees what they’d like to release from the year previous before making their vision boards brought in a fiery intensity of emotion that swept me well into what felt, at the time, to be uncharted territory in my ability to hold space.
I shouldn’t have been surprised, as the sun lit all of our tear-streaked faces on Sunday, that we showed up as whole humans, together.
We talked about how even though the shadowy parts of ourselves feel uncomfortable, the inauthenticity of not allowing the shadow to come with the light felt worse.
But. We live in a digital world curated to show only the good bits. We even try to make our ugly bits look pretty with nice images or a nugget of wisdom tied up in a bow and offered blithely to the masses (guilty, as charged). And we receive praise for it.
Though we have, as a species, adapted a negativity bias, we also live in a world where positive psychology is preached and practiced without nuance and space for complexity, where putting on a brave face or not being a bother or not being a downer is more socially acceptable than just…I don’t know….showing up. As we are.
And so we reached for the box of Kleenex and passed it around, and for a few minutes, there were apologies. For not being shiny.
But what I saw was courage.
Because showing up gritty and imperfect
and showing up without asking for pity or seeking validation
but just showing up
asking only for the space to be held for that authenticity
takes tremendous bravery.
But I do forget, sometimes,
that we cannot only and always be light
and that even though the darkness follows us
it is there for us
and it is a part of what it means to be a whole human.
And I think my practice is to keep remembering that, both for myself, and for others.