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How the power of community helped me to access deeper parts of self

This year, my search for a community of kindred spirits led me even further down the path of self-discovery than I could have imagined. At the beginning of the year, I was longing for a sense of community. I had this deep felt sense that I was ready for new connections with new people who were on the same path as me. I wanted to share my incredibly profound experiences of self-evolution with others who wanted to share theirs too.

Early in my self-discovery journey, I explored most of my well-being practices alone. I would go to yoga classes alone, meditate alone, devour books and podcasts alone and spend long periods alone, often walking on the beach or sitting in coffee shops with my journal for hours. I was physically alone a lot, sharing very little detail of my experiences with my friends. I felt at ease doing things by myself (perhaps because I didn’t grow up with siblings) and this felt comfortable for me. I was exploring unknown emotional and spiritual territory and I felt safer and less exposed doing it alone. My journal, my yoga mat and my cat Dexter were my safe spaces for sharing. It didn't feel lonely, it felt like an important part of my journey. In many ways, I thought this was how my journey would continue to unfold. So even though I longed for a community to share my stories with, I never expected what was to come.

This year I chose to take part in multiple embodiment and coaching training programs. In part because I was hungry to learn. But mostly because I was searching for community and connection. These programs not only gifted me with the opportunity to deepen my understanding of all of the practices I teach in The Embodied Way, but they also gave me the unparalleled gift of discovering that the connection I was so desperately yearning for was actually a deeper connection with myself.

The search for a deeper connection with others is the search for a deeper connection to self.

What I hadn't realised at the beginning of this year was just how ready I was to go even deeper on my journey. Which for me meant finding new connections to the parts of me that I'd been hiding from. Being in communities that were willing to be vulnerable and go deep was the key to unlocking these hidden parts. I met parts of myself in the presence of others that I didn’t remember existed. I saw myself reflected in their stories. It felt validating, affirming and comforting to see how similar we all are. Similarities that we often miss when we’re all wearing masks and hiding from our truths. There has been something so freeing and refreshing to express myself with wild abandon. To wear my emotions on my sleeve and not fear judgement for putting it all out there. These experiences have unleashed a new confidence in me to fully express my authenticity and to feel at home in my skin. Had you told me at the end of last year that 2023 was going to be the year I was going to open my heart, and soul and unleash the full spectrum of my deepest, darkest feelings of shame and fear in front of multiple groups of strangers, I would not have believed you. Yet that is exactly what happened and I don’t think it would if I had continued to do ‘the work’ solo.

If any part of you thinks that these kinds of experiences sound scary, intimidating, embarrassing or uncomfortable, ask yourself which part of you is experiencing those feelings. I have felt all of those things too. If however, this story awakens something in you, then perhaps there is another part of you that longs for the opportunity to take off the masks, to let go of the need to “keep up appearances” and fully release yourself of whatever is holding you back. To be seen, heard and witnessed as your most vulnerable and authentic self in the presence of others. Perhaps 2024 will be the year you find a community to share your heart and soul with. To get (metaphorically) naked with and to find new parts of yourself to express. In my experience, there is no feeling greater than being connected.

To self, to others, to nature, to all.


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