The tender places in our hearts are often mended in soul-to-soul collective communion. Social support is vital for mental and physical health. When a spiritual dimension is added to the mix, I think the relationship itself becomes an embodiment of the Sacred. Goddessing can occur during individual relationships as well as in group settings.
I mentioned in my last post that I tend to be more adept at connecting deeply with self than with others. I’ve also noticed that my writing below refers to boundaries and “being cautious” several times. In part, my bias is born out of witnessing manipulation and even abuse in adult relationships when people discounted their relationship with self and/or rejected healthy boundaries. At the same time, so many positive and uplifting experiences happen when we connect with others in healthy relationships. It’s up to you to determine how your own spiritual journey looks in the context of connection!
If you are an introvert like me, you likely experience your strongest sense of relationship with others when you are interacting with them individually. There’s nothing like sitting down with a cup of tea and pouring out your soul to a trusted friend or lover. I’m of the view that a person doesn’t need to have the exact same beliefs or viewpoint as I do in order to form a meaningful relationship. Being open-minded, caring, and a good listener goes a long way in building trust. Healthy relationships take work, both in terms of making time for the other person and being willing to risk rejection by sharing of yourself honestly.
In seeking spiritual growth, others are often a deep well of inspiration and support. At the same time, there are people who will take advantage of your spiritual journey to exploit you either monetarily or emotionally. This is where your relationship with yourself has to come first and be rock-solid. If you know who you are and the principles for which you stand, it will be much more difficult to be swayed by others. As I was attempting to navigate a difficult relationship situation several years ago, my therapist asked: “what do you want?” It seems like the easiest question in the world, and I readily answered it, but was astonished at how far I had strayed from even thinking it was worthy of considering because I wanted to be “liked” and “accepted.” You are the only legitimate narrator of your life story.
A group of people in flow with Goddess can inspire a sense of awe. I’ve experienced an electric-current of energy and power in women’s groups, which was almost too much to take in at times. The rawness and truth that can come out of these experiences are beautiful. Collective ritual nourished our soul and rejuvenates our mind. If you are looking for groups focused on divine feminine, a recently launched app can be downloaded at http://www.findawomenscircle.com/
Groups have a shadow-side as well. Be sure that any group you join is healthy –practicing strong boundaries along with committing to openness. Finances do come into play here; the group should respect your financial constraints. An activity that costs money should leave you feeling like you got back what you put into it.
Contemplate the values you want in any group in which you participate. Two “must-haves” for me in terms of group leadership are humility and a willingness to admit when a mistake has been made. Observe how the members of the group treat each other. Do they like and support one another? Over time, evaluate whether you feel built up and stronger after meeting with the group, or guilty and smaller. It may take a good amount of trial and error to find the format and the people with whom you click.
I consider it a rare gem to find a spiritual group that is sensitive to the needs of trauma survivors. My approach in evaluating this ability, which I developed through some disappointments, is to listen carefully to how the members share before revealing any personal information about my past. Your story is your own, and you get to decide how and where to share it. Choosing to hold back some of the intimate details of your life does not make you shallow or signify that you lack authenticity; I think it can be a sign of having healthy boundaries.
Pets Are People Too!
Okay, not really, but I see them as four-legged spiritual companions. The unconditional love that flows from my dog on a regular basis has been both an opportunity for great healing and a spiritual bonding experience. I actually include him in many of my rituals by having a little bed for him in my meditation room. He sometimes rests with Goddess by taking a nap in there by himself! He also helps me choose Tarot or oracle cards (and recently decided to steal and nibble on one). If you have been questioning whether to get a pet and have the resources/time to provide for it, my vote is to go for it! If you are unable to have your own pet, consider volunteering at a pet shelter.
Connecting with Goddess is often found in connection with self and others. For me, I see Goddess mainly as a metaphor for my own Inner Wisdom and our collective Spirit. If you see Goddess as a literal being, then you may consider both your relationship with yourself and with others as relevant to your bond. Depending on your relationship with Her, Goddess may be either an entity in a position of authority or a partner in a mutual relationship. I intend to unpack the relationship we each have with Goddess more fully in future posts. For now, suffice it to say that I think it is in practicing healthy relationships with ourselves and with others that we set the table for an overflowing, abundant relationship with Goddess.