She's an authentic-relating facilitator who hails from Berkeley. (Where else?) She sat in my living room last night across from my Voxer posse and me. We are seven women who spend an hour or two a day "voxing" (read: keeping each other company during our commutes and otherwise, sharing things that shall remain in the VoxerVault forever, till death do us part), and several weekends a year, give or take, supporting each other, SEEING and HEARING each other, cementing sisterships (coinage mine, a la friendships). We've cried, individually and collectively. We've told each other things we haven't told our partners. To say nothing is off the table would be an understatement. We've laughed uproariously. We've become a tribe of trusted advisors, board members, soul sisters, processing in real time, our complicated (to put it mildly) lives. In July, our families will go river rafting. Someday, we may carry each other's urns.
It's been a long time coming, and an interminable decade. I'm deeply grateful for these amazing, imperfect, high-feeling, formidable, brilliant women.
There's a common thread. We've all survived ... and lost ... something. Or many somethings. Grief comes in many forms. We've got them covered.
Our facilitator — whose ex founded Voxer, no joke and no coincidences, as in life and NorCal — split us into dyads and/or triads, gave us "sentence stems" to finish (e.g., "What I notice about myself when I'm with you is ..." or "What I love about you is ..."), had us look into each other's eyes and talk for minutes, uninterrupted.
"First, share an 'I notice' sentiment, followed by an 'I feel' sentiment, followed by an 'I imagine sentiment'," she counseled.
We obliged. Crying, hugging, connecting, relating.* We felt all the feels. (: Sans wine!
There were epiphanies, new "shares," and deeper connections. We confirmed once again that women are, from start to finish, complicated creatures. In our case, complicated, surprising, fallible humans who show up for each other. No. Matter. What.
"You're such an important part of my life," said my friend, through tears. "You're not just a friend but a daughter, sister, mother to me," said another, not knowing this was possibly the most welcome thing a female friend has said to me in ... a long time ... at exactly the right time.
Earlier in the day, we did a two-hour hike at the gorgeous Helen Putnam Regional Park during which we did an exercise called "Drop the Rope." In Drop the Rope, per the therapist peeps, you let go of the shit you've been carrying that no longer serves you.
My list is long. Or was long, I should say, because now it's cleared. In the rear view.
* In short, my husband's worst nightmare. Fear not, he was in Tahoe at a friend's 50th -- they brought their man-means-of- connection -- their road bikes.