Selah St. Simons is new. It's fluid, evolving. Undefined, rough. When people ask me WHAT it is or WHAT I do, I fumble and ramble and struggle to articulate my answer. It's bothered me for a while. What's my two line description? How do I neatly and concisely explain WHAT I do? What do I put on LinkedIn? After months of struggling to define Selah St. Simons, finally, peace with the unknown. I don't know WHAT it is. Not exactly, not yet. But I do know WHY I do it. And I do know HOW to do it. And I believe that WHAT it is will be clear with a little time.
So, WHY Selah?
Because I believe we all need and deserve deep and meaningful human connection. We were created in the image of a relational God. We are intended for relationships with God and with human beings. We crave connection because God craves connection, and we are in His image. And yet, while we crave connection, we as women often have a hard time creating those connections because we guard ourselves so closely. We tend to put ourselves last, which leaves little time and energy to get beyond pleasantries and really connect. So HOW can I do something to help women let down their guards and really connect.
I believe people are meant to connect in deep and meaningful ways, but how do we do it without feeling really awkward? To try and figure it out, I asked. I dove head first into all the feels with lots of people. "Do you feel it too? Do you crave depth over breadth in your relationships? Are you sometimes drained by your connections instead of energized? How can we slow down together? How can we make it ok to be real? How can we embrace vulnerability and talk about what matters, what gives life, what our dreams are made of. How can we leave each other feeling appreciated and happy?"
I didn't get a lot of answers. I got some "oh my gosh you said everything I've been thinking but didn't think I could say out loud" and "this is making me uncomfortable but I get it and I'm interested" and some "let me know how to help. You can do this. This is important."
I also got some "that's nice" followed by polite moving in the opposite direction. Then there were some blank stares, some "not for me's" and just general distancing.
But I took the consensus as vital. Women need to have a space to connect and grow together. To encourage and empower one another towards becoming our best, most joyful selves. So really, how? I narrowed it to 3 super simple and surprisingly powerful elements of how we build our interactions:
1: Be together, face to face. Simple. It's the only way. Pause and be present. Take a breath.
2: Set an intention. This is key. We are what we intend. When we intend to be present, we will listen more carefully. When we intend to receive something during our time together, we are more likely to get it. Intention makes us aware, makes us ask "What do I want, need, think, feel?" and it also makes us aware of what those around us want, need, think and feel. Intention can be set individually or collectively. It can be private or shared. In Selah, we speak our intention to help learn the practice. It's weird at first; being singled out to say what you need from our time together. Putting it all out in the open. Saying it out loud. Get through the discomfort, though, and this practice can have a profound impact on all your interactions.
3: Practice gratitude. We cannot be grateful and angry at the same time, so learn how to make gratitude win every time. Gratitude makes us more content, more aware, and more resilient. It strengthens our relationships by helping us look for the good and speak words of love and encouragement.
These 3 elements are so simple, but I've found they make an enormous difference in how connected we feel after engaging with other people. When we come together with intention and gratitude, we leave feeling heard and appreciated.
This is where we are today. What is Selah?
We know WHY: Because we all deserve deep and meaningful human connection.
We know HOW: Be together with intention and gratitude.
But WHAT? What is the manifestation of the WHY and the HOW? Is it working out together? Eating together? Intensives? Retreats? I'm not sure; time will tell. I really believe, though, that our WHY and HOW will make WHATever it becomes pretty amazing.