I spent a recent weekend in a very cool town called Sebastopol, north of San Francisco, that I’m seriously thinking of moving to. And why? Because it’s full of warm people I can really relate to. Here’s proof …
For the first time in a long time, I went to dinner with a group of women I scarcely knew (well, one was an old friend and colleague) … and we seriously opened our hearts. Each of us are either into or approaching middle age; we all run our own Net based businesses. And we all share an interest in personal growth … and living the very best life that we can.
And as the evening progressed and we talked, and shared, and meandered through the things women meander through on a night out … some trust was built. Until finally, after we each had talked about our hopes and dreams and recent wins and losses, I had an idea.
I had been sharing about how I wanted to be in relationship. I had this idea that for the first time in my life, I’d like to be courted when I’m ready to date again. I’d like to attract someone who is truly, deeply attracted to me … and I’d like them to come to me. I don’t want to rush – I want to languidly consider whether I truly want to date this person. And I want to be truly present to myself when I return to love.
I also knew I couldn’t necessarily hold this space alone … I need some accountability. In fact, I’m a diehard romantic who loves to fall in love; so I may need to be talked down a few times on the way to getting what I want. So I asked these women to support me in this new, vulnerable place of laying back and letting love come to me.
Then I asked how I could support them … and so The Vulnerability Pact was born.
In turn, we each stated a need we had to do something that makes us a bit squeamishly uncomfortable. And then we asked for the precise support from the group that we thought we’d need.
Marianne wanted what I wanted – to be courted in love without rushing into anything. And to this she added another sensible caveat: she’d like any of us to speak up honestly about any red flags we got regarding her new intended love.
Darla wanted to stake her claim as the true revolutionary she is by writing a manifesto that really speaks to more authentic marketing on the Net. It felt scary to her to ‘come out’ as the radical that she really is, and infuse her well-respected marketing position with her own innate fire. We promised to let her know if she was being even remotely milk-toast about it.
And finally, Becca wanted to get a commentary about life on the NPR radio program, ‘This American Life.’ While she’d commanded plenty of respect and power in her own corner of the Internet, coming out and being heard by millions on the radio was an entirely new frontier.
We put our hands together on the table – fists touching at first – as we staked our claims in these new fields of vulnerability. And for the first time we allowed ourselves to just bask in our fear a bit … knowing that we are not alone.
Three of us are single women, one is married. And yet all of us knew innately that there was something special here – some loving, supportive connection – that we weren’t going to necessarily get from any love relationship.
We now knew we could count on the others to step in in a loving intervention if we wandered away from that powerful edge of vulnerability and fear. And we each claimed a ‘red light’ word – one that could be mentioned at any time to help us reassess our actions. (Mine, like any good lesbian’s, is ‘U-Haul’.)
I am eager to see how this all pans out for, at the very least, we will be meeting occasionally, having dinner, and feeling into that vulnerable edge each time. And we will laugh, like dear friends do, and that alone is worth the price of entry.
Truthfully, all of know that vulnerable edge for it is exactly where our power is as well as our discomfort. And so it is where the quick of life is for all of us. To be able to share that journey with others, and count on them to keep us there, is very sweet indeed.