Paris in spring. Texas in winter. Colorado in autumn. These all make sense and call us to a desire for experience, don’t they?
Chicago in winter. Hmmm? It just doesn’t seem to hold the same desire.
And yet, Chicago in winter was the setting for our most recent Destiny Project. A mansion in a remote part of western Illinois created the backdrop for an epic drama to unfold in the hearts of women. It was here that 16 strangers entered the room, greeted by a team of 6, and quickly found a place of belonging.
The kitchen was filled with the aroma of soup warming in crock pots and the sound of female voices filled with anxious anticipation. The evening session began with a roaring fire that filled the space with a warm invitation to be together. Introductions spilled out of nervous hearts and deep connections began to form in the discomfort.
This group quickly created an environment that was open and genuine. There was a mysterious absence of that ever present beast of comparison and competition that seems to find it’s way into feminine spaces. This group also quickly created a space that was free of judgment and invited women to bring what they had in a spontaneous way.
Women surprisingly began presenting benevolent and lavish gifts on each other. There were handmade scarves, delicious baked goods, gemstones, hand crafted gifts, hearts filled with scripture, and more that the women had brought to give each other. It was almost as if a memo had gone out, without the team’s awareness!
We were all swept into a sacred summons to receive deeply and generously, from each other and God, during our time together. This was the perfect platform from which to dive into our dreams and explore.The group seemed to be armed with ferocious courage as they navigated the land of their dreams with each other.
An interesting dynamic unique to this particular group of women was the experience of sisterhood. The group actually contained two sets of sisters and it interestingly granted permission for the group to collectively step into a unique climate of sisterhood. This climate empowered the group to see and be seen by each other in astounding and miraculous ways.
Each session progressively allowed the women to walk through the jello like experience of resistance into a free and clear space of understanding and verbalizing their unique identities. Our time together seemed to mysteriously create space for new life and we were watching it slowly begin to emerge from the hearts of each woman. It was as if, in our shared experience, we created a cocoon where these brave women entered into the gooey discomfort of transformation in the process of becoming truer version of themselves.
The tools of Destiny Project created a foundation for these women to stand confidently in their unique identities and understand in deeper ways how to live that out in their real lives. The brilliance and power of this particular group seemed to light a raging fire in the cold landscape of wintery Illinois that burns into eternity. As our time together moved closer to the end, there was a collective sigh at the thought of leaving this sacred space.
Our time together concluded with each voice declaring who they are and what they have to bring to the world. Voices that loudly reclaimed connection to the sacred beauty of community, motherhood, leadership, and even the darker sides of themselves. Voices that expressed deep healing, new life, bold actions, a lighter load, and new insight.
If this group had a voice, I think they would sum up their Destiny Project experience with this phrase…
“We are welcome here! What we have to bring to the world is important! We belong here!”
Here are what a few of the voices from Chicago have to say about their experience at Destiny Project:
“Destiny Project is simply life changing. It is a safe and caring environment to do some dangerously impactful soul work for God’s Kingdom.” ~ Helen Cottee
“After just four days spent with the Destiny Project tools and materials, I feel changed. Years of shame and rejection have been turned on their head and challenged. The untrue and affirmation I have received from others and learned to show myself have revitalized my deepest soul.” ~ Cayt O’Neal
“Destiny Project opened my heart and my eyes to a totally new perspective of myself and it has put me on a new path of self discovery and appreciation. Destiny Project showed me that there is a great deal of compassion, kindness, and love among women who are generous to each other.” ~ Renee Coover
Blog post by Lisa O’Brien, Spiritual Director, Co-Active Coach and Destiny Project Facilitator. Check out Lisa’s website.