The Fall session of the Art and Self Connection Circle just ended, and my heart is full of love for this beautiful group of people and sadness that it has ended (for now), but great joy looking forward to the future, knowing what is possible in this soul-filling container.

In the last session, we reflect on what we learned about ourselves and how we will take that learning into the world. Then we share a work of art that we personally resonate with, and then we have the opportunity to reflect back to each participant the impact they have made on us and our experience. Honoring their strength, bravery, creativity, support, passion, all the things. It’s a truly special experience that I am so honored to get to hold space for.

We need connection. Deep conversations, brave vulnerability, open hearts. Even if we’re introverts, it’s not that we don’t want to be with people, but we need to be with the right people who get who we are and what we are about, who allow us to be fully ourselves, who listen without judgment or without trying to fix. The right people fuel us, build us up, fill a need we didn’t know had–that feeling that something is missing.

So many of us are teachers and parents, we often put ourselves at the bottom of our list. Investing in your own needs not only helps the people you care for, but at the end of the day, it’s you. It’s you looking back at your life and forward into your future, and you are the most important person in your life.

We realize that so many of the things we struggle with others also struggle with too. One of the participants said “I learned I am not unique; I am not alone.” We walk around in these silos of our own thoughts and feelings, and we don’t realize that everyone else feels as deeply as we do and struggles as much as we do. That moment of “me too” is a huge sigh of relief. I feel it in every single session of the circle. And, I see it in the faces in my Zoom grid.

And then we see those people who have the same struggles as us make big moves and do big things and then we realize maybe we could do those big moves too. We had people in the group with new jobs, some filling out passport applications, some making big changes at work instead of waiting for someone else to do it, and putting themselves out there in ways they never have. They built the confidence and the bravery to take action because they had the support of their community and beautiful models of that strength.

Did you notice I haven’t even mentioned the art once yet? It was there through all of it–holding space for us–allowing us to find meaning and messages for ourselves, encouraging us to dig deeper into ourselves but also to connect with others.

It’s magical, and it needs to be experienced to be fully believed. We’ll be starting up again in February. If you are interested in learning more about it, leave a comment below or send an email at this link, and I will be sure to send you a personal invitation once I have the details after I take some time off for the holidays.

Thanks again to the members of the circle who trusted in me, in the idea, in the art, and most importantly in yourselves for making that commitment to yourself–your own development, your own creativity, and your own deep desire for meaning and connection.

Henri Matisse, The Dance (detail), 1910