A few weeks ago I fell into a rabbit hole of intimacy and authentic relating awesomeness during one of those one-link-leads-to-another internet moments, and found an amazing-looking event in Norway; the Morten Hake Summit, a dating and personal development conference that brings together the international leaders of this movement. I say movement because it really is, and it’s gathering momentum.
As I looked my heart flooded with gratitude that there are so many people doing this work, and so many men showing up so full-heartedly to help culture make this transition. I thought about how much this is needed, how fucked up the relationship between men and women has been since forever really, and how much healing we have to do.
The exciting thing for my generation is that we seem to finally have arrived at a point where we can do this work together; gone are the days where women had to come together to explore shadows and grow without men – more and more men are starting to be able to hold space for vulnerability and openness and growth for themselves, and with women. Not to say that I think men and women’s groups have no value, not at all, but I don’t think that it is necessary for our growth to do this work in a segregated setting anymore.
Thinking about this inevitably brought me back to connection, and how incredibly blessed I feel to live in a time when we can heal, grow, play, and explore together. And I thought about all the people who still lived trapped in cages built of secrets and shame, fear and unshared grief; and it breaks my heart.
I want everyone to know the feeling of being fully seen, fully accepted exactly as they are, opened to with love and infinite generosity.
And that’s why I started Authentic Brussels.
This opening shit is scary
It’s scary even when you’re used to it; you just get used to the fear and know that it’s transitory and that all you need is a deep breath and a few seconds of courage and that what is making you scared will be transformed by being brought into connection.
But when you’re not used to being open and radically honest (= saying stuff you wouldn’t normally share) – when you’re used to feeling safe with your dark parts, your awkward parts, your shameful parts, and even your radiant joyful parts perhaps – then the thought of “coming out” and being vulnerable is terrifying.
To those people I want to say this: that the space between taking the first step and having huge incredible changes in your life, in yourself is very, very small. It’s like exercising; the hardest part is to get yourself out there, to make that first leap, and once you do it doesn’t take long before you start feeling amazing and wondering why you waited so long to move your ass.
It’s scary from the closed place, looking out, knowing what you’ll have to confront. Fearing rejection and shame and judgement. But it’s not safer to stay closed, even if it feels that way. The safest way to play life is to engage, to really live – and that requires coming out of the shadows and into the sun (and bringing out with you all that dirty laundry and ickiness you’d rather no one knew about).
Because the wonderful truth is that in the light, everything is transmuted.
Monsters and ghost stories aren’t scary in the sunlight. It’s the same with inner demons and shame goblins.
So be courageous, but also be gentle with yourself. You don’t need to jump higher than what feels possible for you right now. Start with stretching, one little extra bit of openness per day. Acknowledge the steps you take. Honour what feels like too much by respecting your boundaries; they will shift.
And when it doesn’t work, when it’s too hard, when you’re disconnected and all you can do is show up as an empty shell – honour that too.
Because when you show up authentically, just as you are, whatever that looks like – you will find connection.