Recently, Margo, Stephanie and I have been asking each other the same questions, and guiding each other through the same processes, we will offer participants during our upcoming retreat.
I’ve looked at my own experiences of fear versus love. I’ve asked myself “Who am I that is not my fears or my ego?” And I’ve discovered how following my heart opens up vistas and possibilities unimaginable to my mind.
Doing these practices with such gifted women has altered my understanding of the work I do and the difference it can make. It has also revealed to me how dramatically I cut myself off from relationships and possibilities when I let my mind do all my thinking for me.
One evening, in the midst of this process, I opened up to my husband in a way I rarely have. I’m 45 and, I told him, I’m noticing myself age. In our culture, there’s very little to “look forward to” as a woman who is not youthful, thin or sexy. And yet, I said, I feel these very things approaching: as if the woman I have been is going to be replaced by someone I don’t yet know.
It was surprising enough that I shared these thoughts. But what was even more surprising was how much more authentic and real he became in the following days. As if my own opened heart made it easier for him to explore his own.
It’s not always true that the people in our lives follow our lead as we grow and expand. But by taking the first steps, at least we give them the opportunity. By taking the risk to open our own hearts, we can show others the way and create a ripple effect that touches the entire world.
If that’s not a good enough reason to open your heart, I don’t know what is.