‘How are you?’…
We were invited to ponder on how we usually answer that question, what we choose to say and how much of ourselves we choose to share. Working in pairs with people we didn’t know, we were given three opportunities to answer the same question…
The first time…
I found myself sharing what I felt to be true about how I was feeling; how my body felt, and also how I felt about being in the group talking to this person. It felt real and correct but I felt little connection with my partner and little joy whilst speaking. I also felt as if I was hiding something of myself and like I was trying to convince her of something.
We were then invited to feel just what kind of connection we had with the person we were speaking to. My partner informed me that while I was speaking to her I had not been looking directly at her and as a result it felt like I was searching for words from my head and it didn’t feel genuine.
The second time…
I made an effort to simply connect or truly engage with my partner whilst I was speaking, and looking directly into her eyes found I could communicate clearly what I was feeling in that moment, and the words were coming from my heart and my body. This felt to be an improvement on the first time but I still noticed my guardedness and a holding back of my true self. I realised that I had a fear of being judged.
The group then shared some of their experiences and this opened up to reveal just how everyone was feeling and exposed things that we all do and feel when speaking for the first time with someone. There was such a feeling of shared humanity in the room and a willingness to be truly honest and open which was very inspiring.
The third time…
We were then invited to do it once more, but this time allowing our true selves to be shared, seen and heard. I had a new partner, again someone I didn’t know, but immediately felt that I could share myself with her in an open way without fear of judgment or ridicule, and from the openness of the previous group sharing found I was able to drop the barriers and allow my true expression to stream forth; sharing from my heart how I felt and allowing my partner to ‘see all of me’ without the guardedness, pretense, or trying of the former meetings.
There was a complete joy in allowing myself to be fully me, no holes barred and I instantly felt close to my partner, as if she were already a dear friend, not because of who she was…but because of allowing my natural expression to just be.
All the walls came tumbling down and I felt I was simply meeting another fellow human being who was exactly the same as me! The feeling of relief was palpable in my body as it relaxed, opened and let go… like it was saying one big deep ‘PHEW’!
I could feel from this experience that this is actually possible with anyone and everyone I meet, and that there is a distinct choice to be made: I can either choose to be me in any situation regardless of who I’m talking to, how they are, or how I perceive them to be; or hold myself back in judgment without natural expression. The feeling that the choice to be naturally me creates in my body is a sense of openness and freedom, and where no longer the outer world dictates how I express, or hold myself back as if in some kind of prison.
I have found that since this Women’s Group my relationships with people have changed immensely. The sense of openness I’ve experienced in the group has stayed with me and have taken this into my relationships with friends, family and work colleagues. If I find myself becoming guarded again I simply remind myself that it’s not necessary, and is a choice I’m making. My natural voice speaks loud and clear and flows beautifully without the need for any kind of persona or niceness, or a need to convince anyone that ‘I am ok’. And I can allow the true me to be seen, felt and heard, and share myself in this way without hiding. This feels refreshing and is a beautiful way of connecting with people. I’m finding that many people respond in the same way and drop their guard when they realise there is no need for it. Truly gorgeous indeed!
What an amazing gift from the Esoteric Women’s Group and from a simple, everyday question asked by Sara Williams in a serious but playful way.
And so… I will leave you with the same question to ponder:
How are you? Are you expressing as your natural self?
by Rebecca Turner, UK