Yesterday afternoon my nine year old ran away from home.
He only went 2 blocks. He was barefoot and was carrying a cigar box filled with a Whole Earth Provision gift card, fifteen dollars and a birthday gift certificate from his uncle for bowling. He told me this was what he planned to use to support his new life.
He returned after about 15 minutes (meanwhile, my poor husband was cruising up and down the streets frantically looking for him!) but the experience—which followed a very emotional weekend for my young guy– was intense for all.
Last night after a warm bubble bath and stories/a long cuddle session with mom, my son shared that being away from us was the scariest thing he had ever experienced. In his words, “he felt so alone …and vulnerable.” And, “It made me think of all the people out there in the world that feel this way everyday. That don’t have anybody.”
A few weeks ago, I led a small business retreat for a group of female entrepreneurs. The one piece of feedback I can’t get out of my head was from a woman who tearfully shared that this retreat was her first experience to be in the company of other women in this manner…a circle …feeling safe, nurtured and empowered. No egos, no competition, just unconditional support and enough “space” for everyone to show up just as they are.
I pretty regularly ask for and receive help now—both professional and personal—but I’m also remembering a time not long ago, where this was a very foreign concept to me. (Read my chapter on Building a Support Network here.)
Growing up as the oldest of seven kids, I look back now and see the predominant theme or message of “going it alone” was our family’s modus operandi.
Besides the distinct absence in our day-to-day lives of aunts, uncles, grandparents, family friends, ministers, close neighbors—a tribe that we could call on when things got stressful—my siblings and I rarely even asked our mom and dad for help. And, while I see the gifts that have come from being uber- independent, in the long run, it doesn’t serve to navigate choppy waters …alone ..in a small rowboat … when a nice big yacht replete with supplies and sailors is sailing by.
When I became a mom 9 years ago, I was forced to learn the lesson that we’re meant to be interdependent, we need each other. It’s our birthright to give and receive help. And, to be in community and connection with one another on a regular basis (read more on the gifts that come from this).
In fact giving from our hearts and allowing others to support us can be a spiritual practice for both parties (as my girlfriend shared yesterday who is caring for her husband who is very ill).
So yes my sweet son, it can feel scary at times to be alone. And while flying solo is not bad—you also learned one of life’s most important truths: tribes are good. We all need each other. And asking for and learning to receive help is what it’s all about.
An invitation: Are you interested in learning to let go and receive support, tap into the Transformative Power of Self-Care and enjoy the warm company of like-minded women? Join me April 29-May 1 at Kripalu for my Reflect, Reclaim, Re-Balance: Women’s Self Renewal Retreat in the Berkshires of MA (this retreat center is one of my favorite places on planet earth!)
I love to hear from, connect with and meet Live Inside Out readers at our events. I invite you to:
- Find Your Tribe: Join or learn to facilitate Personal Renewal Groups for women
- Attend a retreat/event this fall or spring
- Learn about Live Inside Out and receive weekly inspiration on our Live Inside Out Facebook Community
- Pick up my life balance title The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal from the library or buy it here or at your local bookstore
- Read past issues of my Life Balance newsletter or Career Management newsletter
- Take Action: Contact one of our career or life balance coaches for 1-on-1 support; receive an initial complimentary consultation
- Empower Others: Schedule Renee for a private workshop or retreat for your company or organization
- I Choose Love PSA: a reminder that when we come from love–one of the most powerful yet underutilized forces on the planet–we have the ability to transcend fear and remember what we’re really hear to do: give and receive love. Learn more