My whole life I searched for a community.
For a place where I felt connected, welcome, supported. To walk in a room and feel like everyone in there knew me as well as I knew myself. To have a multitude of people who I could turn to if I needed. To feel safe and secure within a group of people who were similar to me.
I grew up in the Catholic school system. We rarely attended mass, only when it was required or when I guilted my parents into attending. My need for community and to feel accepted went as far back as elementary school because even then, on some level, I knew that in order to be accepted we had to go to church, pray and be a wholesome, godly family - even if it meant only "looking" like it. I never did feel like I belonged, or that I was "good enough" to be a part of this community. It took me a long time to realize that church wasn't the place for me, and to stop chasing what I felt like I was missing by trying to fit into a box that was never meant for me to fit into.
When I fully settled into my self and who I am, I began to attract my community. The people who I've been searching for my whole life. I found unconditional love & support and I never would have if I kept chasing an idea of what I thought I needed. The thing I was missing this whole time was connection to myself. To the deepest and darkest parts of me that I was avoiding. To the lightest and most joyous aspects of myself that made me feel uncomfortable, or "too much". I began to accept every inch of me as perfect & whole. I realized that the need for belonging was because I did not welcome myself into my own body. I did not fully & truly love and accept myself as I was. As soon as I did, the people who loved and trusted their own selves fully showed up into my life and the ones who were already there suddenly felt safe to do the same. They came with encouragement, stories and gentleness - they had been there before and knew my journey well. They could see me as a whole and they loved me as I was, for they loved themselves at a depth that I could not understand many years ago.
I felt called this summer to create a space for people to come to, to find others who were on similar journeys, to connect and bond in a way that they may not have been able to otherwise. With that one thought, The Collective was born. My vision is for it is to become a place where we go to each month to be open and vulnerable, as well as gain insight and clarity to whatever it is we need that day. I hope for it to be a place for the misfits, the outliers and the ones who never felt like they belonged, to help them find home within themselves while being guided and loved by others just like them. This journey of life can be hard, but it doesn't have to be lonely.
Our next meetup is next Sunday, December 12 from 1-3 pm. Each time I host, I go into channel and bring forward whatever wisdom and insight is needed for our group in that moment.
If you'd like to join us, click the link in my bio to register!