This week I had the joy of reconnecting with a group of people who have been meeting together since February, but took the summer off due to overwhelming schedule conflicts. It was like kids returning to school after the summer break. We came together, checked-in about what we’ve been up to and then began to create a vision for the coming year.
This group works to have its members come from a place of authenticity. Everyone in the room is looking to be able to connect with others who “Are what they are”, not “Do what they do”. There is a big distinction between the two; one relies on external commonality and one relies on internal commonality. The reason that it’s important for those facing the challenges of a life-altering illness to attend groups is because it’s one place you don’t have to walk in the room with explanations.
When we are with people who are the same as a common denominator, there is a shared language that needs no translation. There is does not have to be any guise of pretense of falsehood about how you “really are doing”. It’s a place of honesty and with that comes vulnerability. Having facilitated groups for twenty years for those facing life-altering illness I have been honored to bear witness to the impact that honesty and vulnerability can have on one’s well-being and quality of life.
Imagine carrying around an eight hundred pound gorilla and with one sharing getting that monkey off your back. Having the capacity to get naked (in the figurative sense) with others is about freedom, just as it is in the literal sense. It’s a time when you don’t have to protect or take care of anyone but you. What better gift can you offer yourself and the world than to put you first?