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Relational Reflections: Yes, another blog, and this one’s from Dr. Nadine and Dr. Zan at True Heights

In Group or Out Group--Sometimes It’s Truly Your Choice

Dr. Zan’s Thoughts:

This weekend I had the honor of attending a charming wedding that was a glorious reflection of family, culture, and the quintessential celebration of love and partnership. It just so happened that the only people I knew at the entire event, aside from my own spouse, were the couple being married. In the past, this reality would have caused me some trepidation. As humans we naturally look to connect with others we know, with whom we share some history, or who are already clearly defined as a part of our tribe. (Big shout-out here to my good friend, Rodney, a beautiful theorist and writer who has helped me to grasp the concept of tribalism. Check out his writing at https://divineparadoxblog.wordpress.com/) We mostly look to share time with “our peeps,” and yet, how often do we then miss out on opportunities to open ourselves to new conversations, connections, and experiences?

As it happened on this particular occasion, I quickly became aware of the reality that I could choose to remain unknown and on the outside where I would surely justify my own sense of isolation, hence experience loneliness in a crowd. But there was also a much more palatable option: I could embrace the challenge of opening myself to a group of strangers in the hopes that we would leave as warm acquaintances or perhaps even new friends. It took only a small effort on my part to open myself to those around me--to smile and offer a friendly comment, to introduce myself and observe the loveliness of the day and the event, to compliment the parents on a job well done in raising and now celebrating their children. With just the slightest bit of risk-taking on my part, I was welcomed with open arms into the group of family and long-time friends who were assembled. These gracious people were only too happy to introduce my spouse and I around, to offer us a sense of belonging, and to exercise great encouragement and patience as we stumbled our way through Bulgarian circle dances. We left filled with wonderful food and drink, but more importantly with a sense of connection and gratitude for having been a part of this beautiful celebration.

Dr. Nadine and I have shared our joy in putting ourselves “out there” to meet the warm and embracing women involved in Women Kick Glass, attending events in Manhattan. We are now delighted that this organization is becoming a reality in New Jersey with an inaugural event on the evening of Wednesday, June 19. Please contact us with your interest if you are intrigued by opening yourself to new people and experiences--making a small effort in order to reap the benefits of connection and support. Remember, sometimes it only take the slightest step outside your own comfort zone to embrace meaningful connections! Consider joining us in taking that step.

Dr. Nadine’s Reflections:

When Dr. Zan and I write our weekly blogs, we usually don’t coordinate our entries with one another.  We most often just ask each other which of us has an idea that’s hatching, or who wants to start, or which of us has the time to lay something down.  But it’s amazing that, as divine inspiration would have it, we’re often in sync with our ideas.

It is true again this week.  I really identified with Dr. Zan’s experiences as I read her lovely story about the wedding, and how it reveals our latent desires to be connected and included.  She also eloquently describes how we ourselves are the reason that many times we continue our isolation from one another unnecessarily. We judge ourselves by what we think others perceive of us, yet we’re really often projecting our own insecurities onto those around us.  So we hold ourselves back from reaching out to a stranger in a feeble attempt to maintain an image that we want to protect. The irony is that most likely everyone else is doing it too.

So my synchronization with Dr. Zan is rooted in our mutual desire to connect with women who also want to bridge the relational gap by being part of the Women Kick Glass event in New Jersey.  We probably will know very few women there. But it’s also likely that no one else will know many people, either. So that’s the beauty of this organization. It brings together those of us who may have nothing in common but a desire to join via our common humanity (as we talk about in Mindful Self-Compassion), and our desire to be “in relationship”.  We can share our experiences together, and we can ask how to be helpful to each other. If I remember my prayers correctly, isn’t it the prayer of St. Francis that says “It’s in giving that we receive”?

So for the icing on this delicious cake we’re sampling together: I was talking with my mother this morning, and describing the activities in nature that are happening around my home.  I often find I learn valuable lessons through the natural world around me, and actively work to learn divine lessons from Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom. In the last two weeks, I’ve seen a group of ducks that are traveling together around the local properties.  They regularly come to sample the seed that has dropped on the ground from my bird feeders. The marvelous and curious picture I was describing to Mom was of five disparate species that have bonded together in support and collegiality. She exclaimed, “You have to take a picture of them!”  And we both had the immediate thought: this is how Nature shows us that we can come together, with our differences, and coexist peacefully. It’s together that we support each other, celebrate one another, knowing that we’re really not that different from each other. It gives us the courage to reach out, to dare to be known and, as Dr. Zan says, to “reap the benefits of connection and support.”

Join us in connecting.  Comment on this blog, so we know we’re not alone.  And consider being part of Women Kick Glass. We’re in this together. Namaste.

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