Connecting with people on a deeper level.
I know, right? Sounds a bit odd for an introverted survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but it's true. The introverted part of me has to take it in small steps. A few people at time, for a relatively short period of time.
This past weekend I did a retreat and it was fabulous, but by the time I got home Sunday night I was way over my people interaction, talk, and share quota, so I had to settle down in quiet with my eye bag and some rest to fend off a migraine. But it was so worth it!
I got to talk, share, and listen to like minded women about life's hurts, how we deal with them, and what we do with the lessons we learn. To be surrounded by 15 other women who've had their own hurts and are willing to embrace them, talk about them, and learn from them is so fulfilling and validating. And to have the opportunity to give back to others who understand pain and brokenness not as the end of something, but rather as the beginning of everything brought so much joy to my spirit.
I don't do chitchat well. I can't stay superficial for very long -- it's one of the good news/bad news aspects of my life experiences. These women didn't dwell in chitchat either! I've done spiritual retreats before, but most of them were more inwardly focused, and that's been a very good, very healing experience for me. But this one was more about others and how I can use my pain and hurt to connect with and love others. It's something I try to do here in this space, and something I want to get better at.
I trusted in the safety of that space and those people. In God's love and protection. That he guided me to this event because he knew it was the right time and space for me. I told the participants and leaders at the the end of it all my biggest take away was that I NEVER got scared, panicked, or felt the need to run away and hide. I received words of validation, support, and praise without pushing them away. And hugs. Oh the hugs and loving touch. No desire to run. Open receptive arms from all of them and toward all of them.
The blessing of realizing that it doesn't diminish or minimize my history to be able to talk about it and survive the sharing of it was remarkable. I am filled with hope and love from the weekend. And joy. Lots of joy.
(KarenBeth over at Finding the Grace Within offers a weekly link called Tuesday at Ten, so today I'm linking up with her.)