Monday, 24 February 2014
The Power of Groups - Why there is strength in numbers - even for introverts!
I recently had the benefit of a powerful group experience: women sharing and helping each other with their own stories and experiences. But, I have to confess, I did not want to be a part of it. You see, I am what can be labeled a 'social introvert.'
I love people, cherish my friendships and always enjoy a fun get together where laughter and camaraderie are in abundance, but I re-group by quiet: Activities like yoga, meditation, reading and being alone with my thoughts and music sustain me. So, when I was invited to a gathering of women for a sleep-over, by first thought was 'no way' - too much chit chat and forced intimacy for me. (Boarding school and camp were over-stimulating experiences for me!)
But.....I do believe in getting outside of my comfort zone and I respected the woman who invited me. She, like me, was interested in growth and discovery and would only extend the invitation if she felt it was going to be beneficial. So, I put aside my personal fears and concerns and went, and even opened up my heart a little bit more in the process. The people in the room were filled with love and acceptance and, most importantly, non-judgement.
Taking the plunge wasn't easy. The first time, it was scary, exhilarating, and even painful as I was sharing what scared me to truly share, and I did not stay over. I wasn't ready to do that. The second time I did camp out, and the next day was important in revisiting what we discussed and deciding what was important to us all in moving ahead. This last time was smaller and more intimate and I opened up my heart just a little bit more in the process again.
This supportive group experience taught me that in a kind, accepting and loving environment, group work can be exhilarating - it reminds us of all inter-connectedness and I suppose that is why people more open than I have been to this, have truly benefitted from large gatherings. Now, I understand. Yes, we can walk alone and still grow through solitude, but there is something powerful in remembering we are all connected, with stories to share and people to learn from, and it can be very powerful to walk together because, yes, I finally learned what 'strength in numbers' really means.