Today was a day of retreat for me in the presence of a loving circle of women. I slept a good part of yesterday and again last night in recuperation. Today, many of my torso muscles are sore from the tension of yesterday's experience, so I've been taking it easy.
Most Fridays when I'm in town, I host what's called Writing Friday. Some of us writers gather at my home and work in silence morning and afternoon broken by lunchtime conversation and a closing circle in which we read. At the opening circle, after the others had shared where they were coming from this morning and their intention for the day, I spoke of my physical adventure of yesterday and my need for a gentle day of retreat. Usually I try to be highly productive on Writing Fridays, to take full advantage of the supportive energy that can propel me through a rough spot in my writing or even into some of the dreaded marketing I need to do. But today I needed to hang out in the company of loving others.
And so I did. I read a bit and did some emotional doodling in my creative journal. I petted my cats and just sat and looked out the window. I received three supportive phone calls from friends with encouraging words and a half-dozen emails expressing love and kindness. And I let myself soak up all that sweetness and support, things I would have looked for in sugar a month ago.
Three of the women at circle today were old friends in the writing game and one was new to us. I quickly got over my embarrassment and being my most fragile with a stranger, something I couldn't have imagined doing, even a year ago. Eileen was most gracious and kind. Vulnerability was not much valued or supported in my family of origin. My mother was uncomfortable with anything she couldn't fix and she couldn't fix my feelings so I learned to keep them to myself. Now, it seems, I've got little choice but to feel them and release them, difficult as it may be to do so. And I'm trusting that what lies on the other side of this current painfulness and sadness is worth encountering fully awake. Life on life's terms, as we say in AA.