What do you do when you find yourself in the midst of a conversation that's saving you? Share it.
That's where I was two years ago, making my way through a really turbulent time and doing my best to not blow up my life, or at least proceed with awareness and intention. I was changing, growing, excavating parts of myself I never dreamed were in there. It was messy. It was confusing. And I shudder to think about how poorly it could have gone without the good companionship that helped me find my way.
Phyllis was with me through the thick of it, and even though our stories and circumstances varied, it was like we were in the same boat, navigating the rapids and waterfalls. The same soul work brought us through that season of becoming, and the next one, and remains a path that faithfully draws us forward and helps us make sense of the inner deep and wild.
At first, all I knew was that these stories and experiences were weaving into a larger conversation that was saving me, and I wanted to invite others into the conversation, too. We held our first retreat in Brooklyn and tried it out in community for the first time. I think even then we struggled to say what "it" was, but our suspicions that "it" was "something" were confirmed when our kindreds took the conversation and ran with it. We planned another retreat for the Rocky Mountains that fall.
By the time our November gathering came around, the material had grown and we had to cut a whole day of material from the first retreat to make room for the new stories and insights. People came, some not even knowing why, led by this strong feeling that they needed this, for real. And we watched again like magic before our eyes as something was released in that space--some healing, some balm for all of our souls. New, richer, more complex and true versions of ourselves were returning to the world after our three days together.
In the winter that followed, stories kept happening to us, our soul excavation continued, and we caught and gathered them all, adding them to the treasure chest. We now had enough material that it would take us five days to work through it all in a retreat setting, and we were imagining other, more practical ways we could share it. We started dreaming of a home retreat kit, which wouldn't be limited by venue capacities or our travel availabilities. Something our friends near and far could hold in their hands, listen to and dwell with for as long as they needed.
In March, Phyllis flew out and we headed into the recording studio to catch it all. I told some stories that day that I'd previously only shared with close and trusted friends. I just kept breathing deeply, baring my heart with Paul listening in the next room. What are we going to call this? we kept asking. What is the title? It wasn't until after lunch, right before our last session when we were sitting on Paul's sofa that the title came to us: The Iconic Self.
I'm really so grateful for having the companionship of so many readers and dear beloved friends who have received and held and formed this work along with us. Words fail me when I think about how fortunate I am that this wisdom found its way to me before I exploded like a bomb.
Lucy and I were putting the packages together over the weekend and I was just overcome with longing. I want everyone I know to have this. I keep telling my friends, it's hard to care this much about a work--it's so extremely vulnerable. But with this project, I just feel like I've pulled my heart and soul right out of my body and I'm throwing them out into the world with all I've got. Praying every part and piece is received with open arms.
The Iconic Self is a unique four-disc journey that will be available January 24th.