FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE MORE THAN SEVEN YEARS AGO, I SPENT TEN MONTHS OF MY LIFE WITH A STRUCTURED SYSTEM FOR ONGOING SUPPORT, AND I’D NEVER BEEN HAPPIER OR HAD MORE SIGNIFICANT GROWTH AND SELF-UNDERSTANDING.
When that ten months was over, there was an initial high as everything from the past year continued integrating, and then I experienced a severe drop. Half the time I felt completely lost, like I was holding onto a sail in a storm. The other half of the time I felt excited, expansive, creative, and motivated. I was cool as a cucumber one minute and a total mess the next. I felt a distinct lack of support, as if the nets that had been beneath and above me for the last ten months had been torn away. I was used to them catching me and returning me to an equilibrium before I got too high or too low.
I could ask for support from friends or family when I needed it, but by the time I realized I needed it, it was a little too late to save me from the extreme high or low. It was like putting bandaid on instead of preventing the injury. Once I recognized the pattern, I also recognized that it didn’t have to be that way. I knew I needed a regular support system in my life and I set out to get it.
WHAT DOES AN OSS LOOK LIKE?
Regular therapy is a good way to get ongoing support, but today I’m focusing on support groups and stuctured weekly gatherings with like-minded friends. It’s something you can look forward to every week, where you are held accountable for your choices, and where you are encouraged to challenge yourself. I’ve found the most support from LightSchool, one-on-one soul-focused counseling, and a dharma book club I used to attend in NYC. I love a group space that has a spiritual focus, where my curiosity is stoked, and my relationship with myself has the opportunity to develop.
WHY IS AN OSS BETTER THAN JUST ASKING FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT?
We don’t always ask for help when we need it. Or sometimes if we would have asked sooner, it would have helped more. OSSs provide a supportive container that is holding you all the time. You have regular opportunities to ask for help, and the energy of the group is always present. When you don’t need help, you just feel supported, loved, and held.
Having a group of people with whom you share your inner world creates a unique bond and camaraderie. You’re sharing real experiences with real people, even if it’s an online meeting. You’re making friends and building relationships. A group facilitator can hold intentional energy for the space, creating an even stronger container.
Life demands a lot from us. It’s hard to stay in touch with everyone all the time, to be sure we’re caring for ourselves as well as we can, etc. Having a system in place to support you helps catch issues before they arise by setting aside time devoted to your wellbeing.
I’m committed to sharing everything I learn about self-care with you. I was so moved by the above realization, that I started a women’s group called Moon Sisters to hold space for women who are looking for support, inspiration, and sisterhood. If you are interested Moon Sisters, contact me for more info.