Finding Authentic Connection…Virtually

Can I really feel a heart connection to a group of women I have never met in person? Apparently I can, thanks to Real Life Book Club (RLBC), the brainchild of Susannah Campora, a life coach and inspired trailblazer here in Denver.

bede89_75fad7261aa94ca2aa475fdaee4c5960.jpg_srz_p_438_185_75_22_0.50_1.20_0For the last six weeks I have been participating in a virtual book club through RLBC with seven other women, a few here in Colorado and the rest spread from Nebraska to Kansas to Canada. Each week we would “gather” for a couple of hours via google hangouts video calls.

Although I used to own a bookstore, and have a deep love of books and reading, I’ve always shied away from participating in book clubs.  Real Life Book Club, however, is a whole different kind of book club, and one that really speaks to me and where my passions lie right now.

Real Life Book Club is a personal growth book club that brings women together (in person as well as virtually) to share, to create, to support and to inspire each other into taking action in our lives.

Desire Map Book Image smallThe book my group read was “The Desire Map – A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul” by the brilliant Danielle LaPorte. This book asks us to dig deep and really uncover the feelings at the heart of how we want to experience our lives. This is no superficial fluff… this is real introspective, thought-provoking work.

Allowing myself to be really open and vulnerable is not always an easy thing for me even with those with whom I am closest. Initially I was more than a little tentative and anxious about the idea of delving into such deep contemplation with a group of strangers. And I was definitely skeptical about my ability to open up and connect via the seemingly impersonal computer screen.

It took a surprisingly short time, however, for those fears to dissipate. I was truly astonished by the level of connection I experienced with the other women in the group in such a brief period of time. Between Susannah’s thoughtful facilitation and the authenticity and openness each woman brought to the group, the way was paved for real connection and deep dialogue.

During one of the book club gatherings I was struggling with some overwhelming emotions and ended up crying on the call. I would usually feel embarrassed for allowing myself to be so exposed and raw in front of others but I only felt love and support and genuine compassion from the other women in the group. Embracing and allowing my vulnerability to surface (and knowing it’s ok!) is a practice I want to cultivate in my life. Being a part of RLBC was a perfect place to play with this.

While we were a group of women of varying ages, who were in different stages and places in our lives, the overlap in what we were experiencing or wanting to experience in our lives was astounding. There were countless times in our meetings when one of the women would say something that so perfectly captured what I was thinking or feeling that it felt like she was living my experience.

imagesThe six-week journey I took with these amazing women was incredibly eye opening for me on the kind of deep connection that can be fostered when everyone comes to the table with a willingness and open heart, whether we are gathering together virtually or in person.

It was also an invaluable opportunity for me to recognize that I am not alone in my challenges or in the stories I tell myself. Nor am I alone in my aspirations and desires to live an inspired life.

Finally,  Real Life Book Club reminded me how much it nourishes my spirit to share and be with others in real, authentic and affirmative ways.

4 Reminders Brought Home by Book Club:

  • Being vulnerable isn’t nearly as scary as thinking about being vulnerable.
  • When I let go of my assumptions and open my heart and mind amazing things can happen.
  • For me it is often more fun, more inspiring and more rewarding to journey with others than to journey alone.
  • Genuine connections can be formed in surprising ways – remember to stay open.

 

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Creating as a way of life

Being Creative is not a hobby it is a way of lifeIt doesn’t matter to me that I am no great artist; the desire to create in form or idea is a pulse that runs deeply through me. At the heart of my experience with creativity is the idea of taking separate pieces and putting them together to create a new whole, literally and figuratively

There is a feeling of aliveness, grounding and freedom that I experience when I am in the process of creating. For me, creativity comes in many different forms and flavors. Wrapping a gift, vision boarding, doodling, cooking, brainstorming – all these things and more get my creative juices flowing.

When the wheels of creativity are turning I find myself shifting into a meditative state where I can let my mind take a break and just be in the moment – a hugely liberating experience for me!

Creativity helps me to not take myself too seriously. It allows me room to play. It gives me an outlet to express who I am. Creativity truly is a way of life!

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Nourishment in different forms and flavors

IIN CertificateI am a newly minted graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and one of the most compelling concepts I took from the program was the idea of Primary and Secondary Foods. Secondary Foods are the actual foods that we consume. Primary Foods are all the other things in our life that nourish us mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
It doesn’t matter how clean my food plan might be, if I am out of alignment with the things that bring me joy, fulfillment and connection then I will not experience the richness and fullness of the life that I crave.

I have felt this misalignment time and again when I have tried to compartmentalize aspects of my life. My life (body, mind, spirit) rebels and reminds me that it cannot be compartmentalized and separated. Each component impacts the other, and imbalance in one area of my life has ramifications for the other areas of my life.

People need dreams, there's as much nourishment in 'em as foodEmbracing this idea of interdependency reminds me of the importance not only of how I am nourishing myself through what I put into my body but how I am nourishing myself through my activities, my thoughts, and my relationships.

 

 

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