Women’s friendships nurture personal growth

Around the year 2000, Deb and I were undergoing major changes in our lives. After breast cancer treatment, I left a corporate marketing job, declared a sabbatical and explored a new vocation of spiritual companioning. Deb moved to the country, married a man she met at a barn dance and published a book. This experience of transforming our lives led to creation of Tending Your Inner GardenĀ®, a program of spiritual and creative growth for women. During the last ten years ago, as we’ve worked alongside hundreds of women, we’ve gained rich insights about how people learn who they are and what they are here on Earth to do. In this series of blogs, we’re sharing those insights.

Women need the support of a genuine community to blossom and grow.

True, many personal truths come at solitary moments. Reflection helps us mine our valuable inner soil and uncover seeds ready to break open and take root. Will they emerge through the top soil? Receive nutrients for growth? Find an environment receptive to their unique beauty?

While solitude and stillness give us the opportunity to get to know our deeper selves (our heart, body and soul, not just our brain), we create from this place of authenticity only in loving relationships with others. We need encouragement and support. As we offer love and companionship, we in turn receive it.

Women who come to the Tending Your Inner Garden program say they feel lonely. Often they are successful, busy professionals with families and friends. Still, they lack a feeling of true soul connection because they’re living on the surface of life. Digging into their inner gardens within a community of other women creates intimate connections based on trust, forgiveness, compassion, empathy and genuine listening.

With these bonds as a foundation, women discover a new-found ability to navigate transitions, grieve losses, take risks, weather setbacks, develop perspective, and view life as an adventure. This confidence makes it possible for them to make life-giving choices and shed the involvements and limiting beliefs that deaden aliveness. Women learn to love themselves–because they are loved.

Are you seeking community? Are you blessed with one? Journal about the role of community in your life with these prompts:

  • I can truly be myself when…
  • A group that offers me loving support is…
  • What I’m missing in my life is…
  • A time when I had the encouragement and support to take a risk…
  • I feel lonely…
  • I feel loved…

Do you have a story to share about how the support of family or friends helped you through a difficult change or enabled you to grow? Please let us hear it!

If you’d like to form your own Tending Your Inner Garden group, we have a start-up kit that will give you everything you need–from identifying members to holding retreats. Go to our web site to order. We can help you with questions like “How can I find other women who share my interests?” and “How do we create a sense of safety, trust and respect?” Questions? Let us know.

 

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