I live in a group house. There are five of us.
People always panic when I say this. “Well, how many bathrooms are there?” they sputter.
It’s true. Everything is better when you’re not waiting for the loo (FYI, we have 3.5 bathrooms).
You’d be surprised what you learn, however, when you’re waiting on the bathroom. Patience. Ask for your needs to get met (aka knock on someone else’s door). Use it when it’s empty.
The Zen of Bathroom Waiting. I can see the book now… selling like hotcakes.
Women come to me asking about my life coaching path. Sure, I can tell you the tens of thousands of dollars I spent in the last two years–the programs, the accolades, the awards, the 12 hour days.
Yes, those programs are part of my toolbox. But a toolbox is useless if you never use it.
It is living in my group house with my beautiful roommates where I have practiced my best living, loving, and learning. Because of that choice, I’ve experienced my deepest healing. I’ve been supported through career transition + love transitions.
You see prior to my group house, I was on a straight safari hunt for belonging.
Before I moved into the house, I had moved 15 times in six years. To say I was a commitment-phobe was an understatement. When I moved into this house, I was running from a commitment that hadn’t worked. My boyfriend and I had ended our relationship and I needed new digs. STAT.
But I was also done with the moving. I was done with shifting communities, the packing up, the leaving, the starting again. I was ready for roots… and I knew it.
I started on Craigslist. Living in Portland, Oregon right before DC, I had found soulful tribe. I knew what words to search for: bikes, beer (IPAs), gardens, and community (in case you need the secret sauce… you’re welcome.).
I found FP (abbreviation for our house name). I was nervous at the interview. They asked me why I wanted to move in. I wrestled with what to share.
Did I go straight: Everything in your post resonated. You’re my people?
Did I go more vulnerable and authentic: Guys. My relationship ended. I’m a little heart-sore and a little lost. Your ad was fun. The sunset out the back windows is gorgeous. And you just offered me a beer.
I went vulnerable. They invite me by sending a meme with a ferret. Real lesson here: never turn down a ferret meme. I said yes to living at the FP.
The moment I crossed the threshold, my whole body breathed a sigh of relief. This was the life rhythm I’d been seeking.
As I look back at old journals, somewhere I developed a belief that I was broken in some way (too emotional etc.). It was like the my edges were shards. I’d only show up places when I was super happy + excited or when I could at least fake it. When I wasn’t feeling elation + couldn’t keep up the pretense, I would run for the woods, literally. “Don’t let anyone see the broken edges” was a mantra I repeated in my head.
But the FP did not operate that way. You couldn’t hide. There was an expectation that you show up, with whatever you were carrying, AND that you contribute (fun, food, fairy tales, but bring something).
We had brunches that bled into sunset happy hours peppered with questions like:
What’s your billion dollar biz idea?
Where’s your woo-woo line (do you believe in aliens?)?
What’s your next venture going to be?
Languid bike rides turned into epic urban adventures and even my soul-sucking job started to become a dull gray in comparison to the vibrant colors of the souls I lived with.
What was more, the FP was a part of network of group houses, Petworth Potlucks, they called themselves. They had every-other Sunday potlucks. Bring a dish. Chat with the neighborhood friends.
When we invited 40 people to our first Friendsgiving, I took charge of the turkey and my roommate C ran to Home Depot and whipped up a new table that afternoon to seat all our guests.
N + C were there on the couch when I came home from work for the 33rd time and laid on the carpet and stared at the ceiling, crying (again) about my job, the staff, and how disconnected I felt to myself. They listened to my apologies for crying (for the 33rd time). They passed the tissues. N stroked my hair.
Everyone was in the kitchen, the last time my ex and I broke up (we did the on-off again thing) and they watched as I cried (no need to point out the theme here). K shared her story of the relationship that went on a little too long. She told TRUTH about how challenging it is to break your own heart when you know it’s over but you still love the person. Our sadness was acknowledged + dinner was made + the jokes and camaraderie had me in calm around the decision.
Each time, I was witnessed, witnessed WITHOUT judgement, the broken edges smoothed a bit. The growing process because a more playful journey. The battle scars healed quicker.
Funny thing about that: I was able to take bigger risks. Quit my job. Start my coaching biz. Start a new relationship.
So yes, I’ve paid for the coaching, the growth and I have flourished immensely because of it. But I grew to deeply love myself from planting myself at FP. The year before I moved in, I had seen the FP ad on Craigslist, and I passed over it. “They want too much,” I thought.
The second time, I was “done” with the less.
WHAT YOU SEEK IS SEEKING YOU
I’m not saying everyone should close this tab and start searching “bikes + beer” in Craigslist ads. But belonging, the life rhythm + people you are seeking are here in this word. They might not show up in the package you were expecting.
Community, belonging, love shows up in the unexpected places. In the “yes” to your girlfriends getaway. In the impromptu dinner you made and stayed too late drinking wine. In the gathering in Rock Creek on blankets + grilling.
If Tribe is what you are seeking, stay open. YOU ARE NOT IN CHARGE OF HOW THEY SHOW UP (it might be the wildest of ways). You are responsible for saying yes. You are responsible for listening to your inner compass, even when it’s a challenge, even when it’s scary, because “What you seek is seeking you.”
What are you seeking? Declare it here, love, and now get out there. Keep asking. Keep showing up. Keep loving.
In big love + bold laughter,
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