Wednesday Missive: Why Feminine Collaboration is so F-ing Hard! (And so worth it...)

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Hello Darlings,

I hope the past two weeks have gone swimmingly! Before we get into the juiciness of today’s post, I have a few exciting announcements:

I finally have enough space in my schedule for one-to-one coaching clients this summer!Working privately with me is an excellent way to experience tangible breakthroughs in your self-care and watch as every other aspect of your life gets better. (And the process is totally enjoyable!)

Here is what Nadine, a former private coaching client said about our work together:

“Working with Gracy one-on-one has been an invaluable investment in my personal growth. We covered a lot of ground together, and she opened up so much goodness and insight, and helped me establish self-care as a refuge and resource for daily life. I credit our work together for expanding my self worth enough to advocate for a 15% raise at work. And with her gentle and supportive guidance, I gave myself the space to ask some really big questions: What is my role here? What does it feel like to trust myself (and trust the universe) a little more? If, as Marianne Williamson says, a miracle is a shift in perception, then working with Gracy has led to so many miracles in my life. If you're feeling the tug, I highly recommend it!”

I’m looking for exactly three amazing clientswho are ready to invest in themselves, do the deeper work (with a lot of support from yours truly), and experience an upleveling in their self-care and lives. We will meet via video chat and phone, so you can live anywhere to work with me. Interested in hearing more? Hit “reply” to this email and I’ll send you the full details. This could change everything for the better!

Also, new podcast alerts:

  • I’m so honored to have been one of the first guests on the WOMEN don’t DO that Podcast. I talked to co-host Myrrandha Novak about getting stuck in our morning routines, the self-care of having difficult conversations, and why putting yourself first is the best way to help others. Check out our full episode here.

  • I also recorded a short podcast with my (now!) husband, Micah. In this episode, we chat about the intensity of our wedding, the realities of parenting a toddler, and how embracing the practicalities of life can be a transcendent experience. Listen to more here. 

And now, today…

You may already know that over the past few weeks, I’ve been promoting a self-care campaign called“Moving from Competition into Collaboration with the Amazing Women Around You.”In keeping with the theme, this campaign is actually a beautiful collaboration between me, Reba Thomas (sexuality educator), Lindsey Heddleston, (self-compassion guide), and Else Duré (equity warrior).

(These inspiring women are moving into leadership in the Beautiful LIfe Collective, a cooperative of amazing women who are examining the intersection of self-care and community care. Are you interested in learning more and receiving a sign-up discount when we open for new members in mid-June? Join the waitlist here and be the first to know!)

When our leadership team began brainstorming what we most wanted to share about the Collective’s work, this campaign just poured out of us.Throughout our many explorations of self-care, the electric energy of women coming together has been so powerful. Feminine collaboration has helped us heal as individuals and finally feel part of a supportive community.Further, we know that the power of this kind of collaboration is what will help us save our world during these chaotic times.

There it was! We wanted to teach women how to get through the blocks, sometimes subtle and sometimes overt, of collaborating with other women. We wanted to name the competition that has been breed into us as women and together, learn how to artfully disarm this toxic force.

We made a landing page for us, created a beautiful free collaboration guide, and planned an interactive webinar on IGTV for Saturday, June 15th from 10 to 11am ET. Women began signing up to hear more. We were in the flow state and it was feeling good!

Then, just at the peak of our excitement, my mindset began to change. First, a few doubts crept into my mind. I got a little worried about how we would share our leadership responsibilities. I was nervous about giving too much and having my generosity taken advantage of. I got afraid I would abuse my power in some way and hurt these people I care about. Mostly, I felt really scared that something would go wrong in our arrangement, the other women would get mad at me, and I would be abandoned in the process.

Looking back at my history, my fears make sense.I thought of every time I had been taken advantage of, hurt by, and excluded from other women. I also thought of the women I had taken advantage of, hurt, and excluded when I collaborated with them. Most painful of all, I remembered the couple friendships that couldn’t survive the challenges of female collaboration. I still miss them.

The scared voice in my head started shrieking that I had made a terrible mistake. I was meant to be a soloprenuer. Opening myself up was too dangerous. Staying in competition mode was the only way to be safe!

That’s when it hit me. As easy as it is to say that women should learn how to work together and the world will be saved, this shit is actually super hard.Even if a better world is shining like a beacon in the distance, the path to get to this oasis is a minefield of personal, intergenerational, and societal triggers. We have been hurt by other women and we have hurt other women and that pain needs to be recognized.

You may ask, at any point in these painful realizations did I want to give up on our new leadership team or stop sharing the path of collaboration as widely as possible? My answer is HELL NO!

This is because, despite the pain, every wonderful thing that has happened in my life has occurred because I dared to work with other women. My collaborations have helped me lead retreats as close as West Virginia and as far as Bali. Recently, I collaborated on writing a self-care book and due to the skillsets of the other women on our team, selfcarefully is more beautiful than I ever could have imagined!

More subtly, for years I collaborated with other women when I would call my dear friends crying about how much I wanted to be in a relationship. I collaborated when I received their gentle coaching and passionate belief that nothing was wrong with me. Had I thought I should keep my problems to myself, I never would have practiced the vulnerability that was necessary to actually open my heart to Micah.

More and more, I hear the heartening news of women collaborating with other women to tackle impossible-seeming social issues.Moms are uniting to stop gun violenceWomen are wearing shirts to normalize abortions. I just joined a hyperlocal women’s group in my neighborhood that focuses on mutual support and guilt-free activism.

I’m so inspired by the many effective collaborations that are keeping us all going during these trying times. To stop these creative upwellings just because we’re going to get triggered in the process doesn’t work for me. Rather, we have to learn to work together as women. Our hearts are calling for it and our world needs us to show up in our full power as women united.

And of course, I believe our individual self-care practices are an extremely important part of learning to collaborate with other women.

During those challenging moments of doubt, I was so grateful for my self-care.First, I had terminology to recognize that I was triggered and the perspective to understand that my feelings aren’t facts. I did a couple of tarot card readings that confirmed that: 1) Indeed, I was triggered; 2) Our collaboration still looked like it had a lot of fruitful energy to come. I could trust it and us.

Then, I did the brave act of reaching out to the other women in my collaboration and shared how I was feeling.As soon as I started typing my fears into the email, they seemed to lose their power. Breaking the competition-based thought loop that was running through my brain brought me back into my body and reminded me of our universal struggle in these places of fear.

Yes, I know I will not do this collaboration perfectly and I also know that I will probably get hurt and hurt others in the process. This is the eternal messiness of being in relationship. But I will also practice the self-care of learning from these hard spots and continuing to show up more tender and open-hearted and ready to engage.Because truly, collaboration is too important to put aside and too life-giving to ever think I could survive without it.

With care,
Gracy

PS - Does reading this missive validate your fears of collaborating with other women while also kindling your fire to move into deeper collaboration? Sign up for our free collaboration guide and hear our private conversations about the subject. We share so much about what has helped us collaborate in our lives. You’ll want to hear this!