Soul Connect: Moving Wayyyy Outside My Comfort Zone

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

I'm generally a little bit of a skeptic, if you want the truth. 

I'm not a touchy-feely person. I have a lot of feelings, sure, but I'm not the kind of person who reads Brene Brown or puts stock in crystals or gets vulnerable in groups of strangers.

Until I do.

For the last few months, I've been following Soul Connect on social media, a movement to connect local women on a deep & meaningful level. Run by life coach/yogi/entrepreneur Katie Kurtz, who I met at a blogging event last year, Soul Connect hosts monthly events for Cleveland-area women. Some are yoga-centered, or focused on the new moon, or crafty, or food-based; they're all different.

Ever since I learned about Soul Connect, I've gone back & forth about whether to attend one of their events. Would they be too hippie-dippy for me? And would I ever dare to go alone? I decided to attend the January event knowing it would be way out of my comfort zone - & with vision boarding, no less.

But you know what? It turned out to be exactly what I needed.

I showed up alone & awkward & more than a little jaded. I literally paused in the hallway outside the room where others were gathered, & I considered leaving. I could hear people chatting & laughing, but I was too scared to go in by myself. When Katie spotted me peeking my head around the corner, though, I was caught. I had to go in.

I entered the room to find a dozen women sitting in a circle, cross-legged on yoga blankets, drinking tea & eating snacks. In the center of the circle were crafting supplies - paintbrushes, blank canvases, colorful paint - & a deck of "moon cards" with the word "ANGELS" emblazoned across the front.

Oh, God, what had I gotten myself into? 

But I took a deep breath, picked the first woman in the room who'd smiled my way, & pulled up a blanket next to her. OK, let's do this.

Katie introduced herself, the group, & the evening's activity, repeatedly reassuring us that we didn't have to do anything. We could paint whatever we wanted, however we wanted - we just had to commit to being open & honest & genuine in our intentions. We went around the circle & introduced ourselves, telling the group what we were giving ourselves "permission" to do for the evening. It felt like a hippie-dippy start, touchy-feely start, but I decided to be honest: I give myself permission not to be such a skeptic. 

Katie asked us not to look at one another's paintings or to feel bad about theirs as compared to our own - to just paint & talk & enjoy. As we painted, we talked about the new year - what we think about new beginnings, whether new year's resolutions are bullshit, what we wanted for ourselves in 2018. We talked about judgment - about whether it's a learned behavior, about how we can try to give other women the benefit of the doubt, about how social media makes it extra-difficult sometimes. Because I didn't know anyone, thought I wouldn't talk much - but I was wrong. I had plenty to say.

And you know what? I absolutely loved those two hours painting & talking about life with complete strangers. 

My painting turned out ugly, but so what? It was one of the nicest evenings I've had in a long time - & to I'd almost talked myself out of it entirely. It was such a relief to be in a safe space where, strangers or not, we'd all agreed to leave judgments & preconceptions at the door; to just be ourselves. I left feeling refreshed & reinvigorated & reassured. Hopeful.

Katie & Soul Connect are creating something truly incredible - & this skeptic, for one, is looking forward to continuing to be a part of it. I already bought my ticket to the next event! See you there?

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