Can I Get A Witness? Why groups are more powerful than working alone
(If you prefer to listen to this blog please click below.)
You have a dream. You have a vision. You have ideas. You feel an itchiness and frustration, a lid on your energy. You have a sneaking suspicion there is supposed to be more — more than the feelings of anxiety and depression you swing between so often.
Many women feel this way – the most extraordinary women with incredible gifts and beauty, playing small, wishing they could step out and really be that person they know they are, deep down inside – that courageous woman who starts the business, sells the service, asks for the promotion or raise, meets more people, goes on dates, tells the truth, stands on stage, sings that song, writes that book, paints that painting, dances that dance, or gives that speech – whatever the expression. We want to be bigger and we want to be more. That is the evolution of Spirit within us – endless expressions of joy and creation.
Given those natural yearnings, why don’t you just do it? What holds you back?
For most women, it is a lack of confidence and self-consciousness — disguised in busyness, health issues, financial limitation, relationship constriction, lack of training and so on. This lack of self-expression usually comes down to fear of what other people think. It’s the biggest wound for most women I meet and the wound I personally wrestle with every day.
To put out a tender frond of creative expression and have it stomped on, consciously or unconsciously, by someone is terrifying. It happens to most of us at a very young age and the wound festers and compounds over the years. So rather than have those tiny shoots trampled, you simply don’t let anyone see them. It’s safer. The energetic lid goes on.
But then, nothing grows. You stagnate. Life is lustreless, and you experience little joy and pleasure. You spin and dither and experience low level depression. Things are ok on the surface and, anyone looking at you from the outside would judge you lucky. And, let’s be clear, you are indeed blessed. At least, you know that in your head, but you can’t feel it.
If you can’t feel it, it takes huge courage to reveal those tender fronds of your being, and you are slowly dying, from the inside out. You become a hollow shell going through the motions of your assigned roles of wife, mother, daughter, employee – whatever the role of the moment, joyless. Dry and withering on the vine.
But what is the antidote? The answers are many. But one of the most profound solutions in my experience is a steady diet of being seen and heard in a safe and nurturing environment such as we provide in our circles in The Art of Feminine Presence® (AFP). Created by my mentor Rachael Jayne Groover, this work is specifically designed to connect to that sense of life yearning to be expressed through each of us – and to create a space where those longings, big and small, are appreciated and honored.
In AFP, that is what we do, from beginning to end: we listen for the yearning, and find a way to coax out the tender shoot, nourishing it with light and authentic positive attention from the group. We need others to provide that light and nourishment, giving that little bit of expression a chance to gain some ground, some momentum before we find the confidence to take it out to a greater audience.
The life force behind the expression is guaranteed, but we must find the courage to open in the safe space the group provides, before building up the vibration of self-confidence, embodying the knowledge that who we are and what we bring forth in this world is valuable and important.
Safe witnessing of our most sacred selves and our sacred gifts is something we can’t easily do alone, though many try to convince me otherwise (Hello Fear!). We need others to see us and hold us with respect and kindness until we can do it for ourselves when the stakes are high.
Many women I meet at first tell me, “No thanks. I don’t do groups. I can do this on my own.” In almost every case it’s a historical wound – someone else has been cruel, consciously or unconsciously, and they aren’t willing to risk that again. I get it. I went through junior high school and it wasn’t pretty.
For women, especially, when others have been unkind, disrespectful, bullying, and judgmental – it takes enormous courage to show up in a group, and trust the ground rules will hold. In AFP, those ground rules are everything. When we send out the tender shoot, and it is joyfully received by others, we are gently cured. Authentic appreciation is the antidote that changes everything.
AFP offers a safe place to be seen and heard, to be honored and loved, authentically, week in and week out, without judgement, or being “fixed”. We offer a place – a protective ‘greenhouse’ – where soft light warms the little frond until it becomes a full-blown confident expression, and the fog of depression and stagnancy lifts, offering new life, light, and encouragement to others also yearning to send out their shoot into the world.
Resource: if you are interested in learning more about AFP, I will be speaking in Calgary on January 28.
If you want to participate in one of my groups or workshops, all the information is here.
This rather hits home. I feel like you’re speaking directly to me. I’m struggling to hear you through my fear.
Oh Tamara, you are not alone. It is a huge challenge to show up and let the world see how amazing we really are … Love YOU!!!
Well said Fran! You and AFP are blessings in my life!
And you teach me every week about the power of our community. xo
Love, love , love it , Fran!!! So beautifully described !
Thank you so much Melody, you are a testament to the power of this work. xo
Such a beautiful and powerfully observant description of what we as women go through! Thank you for creating such a safe container for women to be seen and heard and reconnect with their courage! You are inspiring!
You are always my number one AFP inspiration and teacher, after whom I model my own work … xo
Well said Fran, such a gift to all women in this world.
Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.
Thank you Sweet Sheryl, I love how you show up with courage and commitment! xo
Ah, so true, Fran. Your words express so clearly mutual experiences, showing us that we are not alone in our energetic closure and filter to survive in our worlds. We as humans and women need connection! Thank you for providing an amazing opportunity to connect, be heard and felt.
Rhonda, your courage and commitment is an inspiration to me … I love your presence in our circle. xo
Beautiful words Fran and so true. I have personally experienced what you talk about in your post and the power of the group. It’s been an amazing ride.
Thanks Jen, your presence lifts the vibe of the room every time you cross the threshold! xo
Wow, nail — meet head! Thank you for describing this angst so perfectly and for giving us tools to work with it! Love ya. <3
Thank you so much Andrea — I love seeing what is happening in your world as you keep nourishing your creative voice! More soon, I hope! xo
What a beautiful and well-written blog! Your AFP groups have given me such inspiration and tools to use. Very very effective and so useful, I love it!
Charlene, thanks for your words, you are a beautiful light in our community. xo
Fran you are the perfect person to lead this work – indomitable spirit, endless love and huge passion. I am always safe and cherished in your capable hands and I love being in the group’s energy! Thanks for creating this beautiful wellspring for women to heal, commune and draw energy and inspiration from. I encourage anyone to try this work with Fran – you have a whole new life to gain!
Awww, thanks Janice!! The safe container we create as a group is due to each woman showing up with a big open heart — like yours. xo