On groups and the hesitation to join them

Many helping professionals, moms, and other emotional caregivers are craving connection with like-minded humans, but have a real hesitancy about groups. Sometimes this is due to past trauma in group settings, in spiritual spaces, or with women in general. Other times, it’s because when you’re often in a helping role, it can feel particularly awkward and scary to be vulnerable in a group. You may not be used to it. People tend to look to you for answers, not questions. Also, you may crave time to yourself and generally feel tired by social situations.

The call to go inwards and feel whole within one’s self is real, and so is the desire to deeply connect and be seen. 

The Release & Empower Women’s Circle was created to support women in this paradox. Here’s what I’ve been saying in response to this common concern women often share before they join:

  • This is pretty much a group designed for introverts that don’t join groups. There is absolutely no expectation to perform; it’s actually about unlearning the conditioning that makes us feel like we have to. Much of what we do is experiential mind-body practice. The sharing component at the end is purposefully held within a brief time container for each person, and no one comments on what you say or gives advice or opinions. It’s an opportunity to play with your own comfort zone, with zero pressure about how much to share. This permission is an important foundation of the work, and what makes it freeing for so many women who are accustomed to always tuning in to others’ needs.
  • The online experience has evolved and become a great fit for this group. Learning to hold space for one’s self is super important, and this work is all about letting yourself be cared for while you do what you need to do. A certain level of anonymity that comes with online experiences is actually freeing here, allowing everyone to overcome barriers to expression slowly and gently. As a participant last year put it: “I could not have predicted how connected I have felt to this group of women. I loved the rituals we incorporated and the power of the many forms of expression and communication we explored together that had very little to do with words. I was able to get in touch with practicing showing parts of myself with others and truly trusting that what I shared would be met with loving kindness and acceptance. Really this group is the power of love in action.”

I think we’ll always need 1-1 connection and support. But the truth is, many of our personal struggles have collective and systemic roots. We can’t fully heal in isolation, as our problems are not as separate as they seem. More so, if you’ve never experienced the exponential power of healing that comes with group practice, I warmly invite you to give it a try.

Always with love,

Julia Aziz

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