On a cold Saturday morning, newly diagnosed with bronchitis, I packed my car up with my vision board supplies, snacks, and goodies, and headed to Brooklyn to facilitate my second vision board workshop of the year. When I tell you I felt like I was dying, I am not exaggerating. The tightness in my chest felt like I was gasping for air that wasn't there. The pain every time I coughed felt like someone was dropping a 30 pound weight on my chest. My sinuses were congested, my throat hurt every time I spoke, and my entire body ached. On the outside I may have looked great, but on the inside I was suffering. I wanted nothing more than to curl up in my bed, pull the quit over my head, and sleep. But, I sold out this workshop a week after the tickets went on sale and these women waited months to attend. There was no way I could cancel so instead of canceling or rescheduling like any other sane person would have done, I pushed through and showed up.
Over 50 women showed up eager, focused, and excited to manifest the hell out of their dreams. Through carefully crafted exercises I guided the women through a deep reflective process of what their past year was like and what they wanted to bring into fruition this year. We meditated, we spoke about setting SMART goals, I educated them on the importance of also preparing for potential obstacles and creating a plan of action to overcome them. We laughed, we cried, but most of all we bonded. The ladies shared their dreams, their insecurities, and some of their most intimate experiences. They gave themselves permission to be vulnerable in a room full of women who initially were strangers.
I recently started reading Oprah Winfrey's What I Know For Sure and it has made me think about things I know unequivocally to be true because I have experienced them numerous times in my own life. What I know for sure is there is power in sisterhood, in being vulnerable, and allowing others to truly see us. Women are special in a way that allows us to feel things passionately and empathetically in ways that may not come as easily for our male counterparts. When I was at one of the lowest points in my life, when I was struggling to conceive and felt unworthy and undeserving, it was my tribe of sisters who lifted me up. It was women who held me, and breathed life back into me. It was women who reminded me of my greatest and renewed not only my faith in God, but my faith in myself.
Sisterhood is a such a powerful healing gift that many of us deny ourselves because we allow past experiences to taint our view of other women. But I will tell you, not all women are catty, or jealous or wish us harm. There are many who believe in the power and bond of sisterhood. There are many who will restore your faith in women if you just allow yourself to be open and embrace it. To have a tribe of women who understand you, support you and love you unconditionally, is priceless.
Many of us, despite where we are in our own journey, can relate to another women's pain because either we have been there or we're currently going through it. Yet, many of us hide those parts of ourselves because we have been taught that vulnerability is a weakness. We have been taught that it is more important to appear strong than to ask for help when we need it. So instead, we walk around in an imaginary suit of armor, at times, so knee deep in our pain — and allow the pain to kill us (both literally and figuratively). We walk around with pieces of ourselves scattered everywhere not knowing how to heal ourselves. When all we truly desire is for someone to see us, to believe in us and offer a helping-hand, hopefully to pull us out of the muck.
Every time I host a workshop or an event that unites women, without fail, we remove our masks, let it out and expose it all to each other. The laughter, the tears, the cries, the fears all of it. Everything is welcomed without any judgment and we allow ourselves to be vulnerable in ways we didn't realize were possible. We spend so much time building walls to protect ourselves, that we end up isolating ourselves. This isolation prevents us from forging real connections. We never really give much thought to the “collectiveness” of sisterhood that we as women all share and in doing so end up missing out on so much.
What I know for sure is that we are all much more alike than we are different and while many believe being vulnerable is a sign of weakness, the truth is that it takes incredible strength to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable means you are willing to remove the mask and show the world who you really are. For some, that concept is terrifying, but it is only through being vulnerable that true connections happen.
Photo Cred: Angie Velasquez Photography