At these events, we do not need to bring anything except ourselves. When we walk out the door we know our worth. We know that our worth is not dependent on how many people we say hello to and or make an effort to be intentional with. This is a place where self-acceptance happen because we are given to place to come and be as we are.
If I were to personify the voice in my head as a real-life ‘friend’, I would de-friend her immediately. She would be out of my phone, on my blocked list, and given none of my time. I would not listen to her lies and I most certainly would not stick around to hear any more of them.
Based on my own experience, and countless discussions with other women, I find that we too often experience a reluctance or inability to express ourselves boldly. We compromise to avoid hurting others feelings, or making waves, or appearing too aggressive. We find it easier to bypass the large or troublesome people in our lives rather than engage or confront them.
We all see it. Standing in line at the grocery store or browsing Hudson Newsstands at the airport, we are bombarded by women in bikinis and form fitting outfits on the cover of magazines with headlines boasting “Drop the last 10lbs,” “Lose the love handles,” “Boost your metabolism by eating this,” “Go from a size 10 to a size 2 in 2 weeks!” etc. We have become so accustomed to seeing this, that we don’t really think twice or question the message it’s sending women about their bodies.
The energy of the group was vibrant and enlivening. There was laughter and tears, sharing and silence. And with each passing minute, it seemed to me that every heart was opening wider. Each woman was finding her voice, her place in the circle, and the power that comes from sharing even just a small slice our journey with one another.
Watching the women get up and literally dance to the beat of their own drum, leave inhibitions aside, and give in to the childlike nature that is so easily lost amidst the demands of our daily “adult” lives was so invigorating. I felt moved by these women that I did not know minutes prior, and felt such a sense of community in the short time we spent together.
I began hating my body when I was a teenager. This led me to a decades- long, unpaid career of dieting, overeating and obsessing on my poor, unappreciated body. Thankfully, after many years and tears, I found the help I needed. I learned over time, how to treat myself with kindness and compassion, and I learned how to eat real food in moderate amounts. And now I have the honor of helping others do the same.
“The dinner and community at the end was magnetic. The connections and engagement of all the women there was nothing short of magical! A sense of gratitude, appreciation & mindfulness of being in that moment was very powerful and will last within me for a long time to come.”
I was particularly thrilled that our first grant was from The Sister Fund, a private foundation whose mission is to fund women’s social, economic, political and spiritual empowerment. The founder of The Sister Fund is Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D., who authored Faith and Feminism: A Holy Alliance, a book I recently read and which inspired me greatly.
Being “alive and well” is different for each of us, because we are all unique. For all of us, it’s about finding increasing freedom and empowerment to trust ourselves. It’s about loving and enjoying being Beloved daughters of God who focus our energy on more important things than the number on the scale or keeping up with the Kardashians.