When I returned to my writing workshop to resume my weekly practice with other women who aspire to jot down or compose or reflect -- in longhand, on paper -- and then share some piece of ourselves with each other by reading our impromptu compositions aloud, I noticed something different.
The furniture had been moved. In the living room of her home, our teacher had rearranged the chairs, recovered some of them; she'd recovered the couch as well with a white cotton throw over the whole thing; she had placed a large pale blue carpet over her larger red patterned Oriental. The entire effect was a complete do-over, but that was just an effect. Outward appearances were different, but the underlying structure was the same.
Certainly the group was the same. My Wednesday afternoon companions. As we were all in a collective pause, taking it all in, she said, "You all know your places." That broke the spell of temporary confusion and we all smiled and settled easily, comfortably into our places. My chair was different but my place was -- well, my place was more than the same location in the room.
I have grown content in my group. MY group. My place is with MY group. MY place. And my place there feels as much earned by me as it has been given in gracious welcome by them. I was new; now I'm not new. My place is one of shared vulnerability, mutual support and, sometimes, nodding recognition, and affirmation.
We have managed to open enough space for each of us to know that our place is right here, among each other. Good leadership facilitates this bond.
So, here? Yes. Here, I know my place. I respect my place and know I can grow here and do even more. It's a comfort to recognize and take my place.
And, on this topic of place, I re-read something this week that I hadn't read in years. It's about our place -- all of us. If you have three minutes more, please take a deep listen and a long look. Now is a very good time to think about our place in a larger context.
May you feel safe and comfortable in all your places this week.