The goal for the meeting was to hold space for what IS...without changing, labeling, shaming or dismissing. This is a PROFOUND practice and is why I love the Authentic Relating Movement so much. - Kimberly S.
I almost cancelled this meeting, Why? Because I was not in a headspace that would benefit facilitating a group in the “normal” way I would. I instead tried to honor my current reality and embrace it without changing it. I also strongly felt if I was feeling that way (in light of current events), others would likely resonate with it as well. So I reached for the book I love, “Conflict = Energy” by Jason Digges, and pulled from the collection of games within the book to find something that supported my need to have “acceptance” for my situation and experience at that time while also giving others the space to do the same.
We opened the meeting with the 5 Practices of Authentic Relating which lay the foundation of the movement. The 5 Practices perfectly align with the recovery program that saved my life, Codependents Anonymous. Authentic Relating is something the WORLD needs, it is what I strongly believe is missing in our society that is so superficial and prevents us from experiencing true connection and community because we are conditioned to be socially acceptable instead of being AUTHENTICALLY who we were BORN to be. This is at the detriment to our own mental healthy and our relationships. We miss so much joy, connection and pleasure that come from authentic connections and healthy relationships...who wants to have LESS joy in life??? (NOT ME)
The Five Practices are:
1) Welcome Everything
2) Assume Nothing
3) Reveal Your Experience
4) Own Your Experience
5) Honor Self & Other
“The time it takes to make full contact with these essential parts of ourselves can create a space of profoundly meaningful, loving, and enlivening human connection. It is where we can support each other to be fully liberated to be exactly who we are, without suffocating or diminishing our essential human nature.”
We finished moved on to experience “The Now Game” which consisted of the sentence stem: “Being with you all in this moment I am experiencing....”, this was followed with the direction of staying focused solely on the NOW not outside the room, just on what was in the moment, in your body and surroundings. That required us to honor our present experiences with just acknowledging it and sharing it with the group... this is the challenges of the human experience, being OK with just BEING. It was a challenge for my codependent recovery and my sobriety to stay present in my body, without self-defeating behavior seeping in to use a time of selfcare as a time to self harm and shame. The practice is a group meditation if you will, by each of us actively participating we connected as a singular unit...a connected nervous system. This allowed us to feel supported and safe, equally vulnerable and interdependent but NOT ALONE. It also challenged the false belief many of us carry that convinces us that we will be rejected or judged for being vulnerable and authentic. It was also an example of practicing reciprocity which is a core component of a healthy relationship. You can imagine with several people, many emotions and feelings and experiencing were being shared. We shared deep breaths, we shared pain, we shared fear, we shared without taking on OTHER peoples issues by holding space and sharing our empathy. It was POWERFUL and beautiful and we all expressed how impactful it was to take part in. I appreciate all who engaged in the meeting. I also appreciate those who chose to simply witness and honor their own needs without feeling obligated to join. I also appreciate those who expressed that although it was a challenge and pushed them to take a leap, they realized it was their choice and in the end were happy they did it. Finally, we finished up with personal shares of our feedback and experiencing as well as normal shares of what was going on in our lives and simply honoring it all.
I leave you with this, the most profound statement I have ever experienced came from my community within Authentic Relating. It was from a beautiful human who simply said, “All of you is welcome here, all that you are in this moment (physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc.). “The WHOLE of YOU is welcome.” Well, I cried and felt seen and accepted unlike anything I had felt outside of the beautiful healthy relationship I have with my beloved. That was profound, I grew to embrace this reality for myself. It enabled me to fully experience the “love of the self” which is something we learn in CoDA that is essential to finding our authentic self and practicing selfcare. This awareness of how Authentic Relating supports and encourages my continued growth is precisely why I shared it with our CoDA group initially and why I wanted to bring it to my community of Women Empowering Women. I hope you will join us in future meetings.
With Love- Kimberly
Here is the link to the book if you would like to purchase it: