The Modern Missing Piece: Feeling Connected in Community

Lesley Glenner

Hello, I’m Lesley Glenner, Founder and Co-Owner of HoloBeing. As an aspirational empath I’ve long been perplexed — and fascinated — by the concept of community. Growing up I was surrounded by smart, capable people, but bewildered when I noticed that I still felt disconnected. In fact, I felt deeply “connection-starved.” Something was missing in people’s interactions—individually and in groups. In my quest for meaningful interactions as an adult, I eventually realized what was missing: the feeling of community.
 
Sure, during times of tragedy and hardship, I saw outpourings of care, but I did not experience day-to-day demonstrations of what can truly bond and fortify us: deep listening, genuine compassion and empathy, agenda-free feedback, skillful communication and emotional honesty.
 
Often, I witnessed empty and meaningless small talk. While small talk serves a purpose in smoothing over social interactions and creating a bonding ritual to establish common ground, this strategy can unfortunately prevent us from ever making deeper, more meaningful connections. We interact from behind our socially appropriate “masks,” hiding our true selves, sometimes even from ourselves; robbing us of the opportunity to grow through relationship.
 
Today, as a psychotherapist and community facilitator, I am absolutely allergic to the unconscious social behaviors we collectively enact. I am skeptical of feedback that is offered when not prefaced with true listening.  I am underwhelmed by interactions that minimize our real suffering and hide our personal and professional shadows. 
 
I have heard more than enough self-indulgent advice-giving. I am dispirited by the disconnection that’s perpetuated though avoiding conflict and shoving down our withholds. 
 
As a whole, we seem to have a collective virus that encourages us to reject real support from others, relying instead on a detrimental independence rather than a dynamic interdependence.  
 
I find anything other than “realness” utterly boring. 
 
I am interested in a world where everyone is moving toward self-actualization, self-acceptance and seeing relationship with others as a path toward wholeness. The way that I work, live and relate to others stems from this personal value. This is my personal contribution and the entire mission of HoloBeing. Frankly, I believe this is the path to world peace: an unwavering commitment for communities to grow toward greater psychological understanding and authentic personal development.
 
Given these perspectives and my experiences regarding the critical nature of “felt connection,” I set out to create a space where I could be met and grow in relationship. And I knew that if I could create a safe container in which growth and connecting was possible, likely others would join me there.
 
Why Boulder Needs HoloBeing  
HoloBeing was founded in Boulder not only because I love it and it is home to my alma maters (the University of Colorado and Naropa University), but also because I sensed that what I was creating was antidotal to the loneliness and disconnection that was breeding underneath the surface of Boulder’s sweet smile, blues skies and breath-taking Rocky Mountain backdrop.
 
Boulder is well-known as a hub for healer-types, but something more was needed — a container for personal and professional growth that addressed “core wounds.”  While this idea of healing ancient wounds may seem daunting to some members of our modern, distracted, quick-to-numb-the-pains society, it is exactly what real change requires.
 
I saw then, and still see today, a need for venues that encourage coherence and authentic relationship-building. As solo practitioners, healers sometimes reach the point of working in a vacuum. We can become an “echo chamber of one” if we are not continually unearthing and maturing — both personally and professionally.  In a vacuum, we don’t receive the crucial, growth-inspiring reality-checks via feedback from our peers and fellow travelers.
 
It’s important to come together frequently to challenge our own ideas and assumptions and learn from one another — particularly given today’s fast-paced and ever-evolving practitioner context. It would be impossible to stay at the forefront of any healing field while working alone.
 
Even though one could worry about market saturation and competition, the truth is that healing is a highly personal, custom journey than can benefit from a wide variety of practitioners, services and styles. We approach healing from a place of abundance rather than scarcity.  We believe that we are stronger together, and that healers need one another for brotherhood and sisterhood, growth and support.
 
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Exploring The Power and Promise of “Community” 
In Boulder, a lot of us are keen to create community. When Holobeing hosted its first community circle, we found participants held dear many different definitions of what community “should be.” It is easy to get caught up in our individual expectations for the group.
 
Community means many things to many people. We all have different experiences and expectations of each other and of groups. Loaded expectations mixed with individual stories and sensitivities from past wounds — as we see played out in national and global politics — means we lose our sense of human-ness as we fight to be heard above the din.
 
It is also easy to feel alone or as “the outsider” in a group. Yet we all feel that way at times. We need to be more explicit in our hopes, dreams and feelings.
 
A Psychologically-Sound, Conscious Community Promotes Deep Healing 
At HoloBeing, we subscribe to the belief that just as we are injured in relationship, we heal in relationship. Subsequently, we value a different kind of community interaction; one that’s relationally attuned and promotes emotional intelligence. We strive to gather community members not only to “talk about business,” but to share and process our personal gifts and limitations and receive reflection through a more deeply informed agenda of therapeutic processing. It is a chance to go deeper into our “stories” and evolve as whole, informed human beings.
 
Over the years at HoloBeing, we’ve found some of the most profound aspects of being “in community,” when created consciously, yield these important byproducts:
   ◍ Being truly seen and heard, or “witnessed.” Day after day, we show up as different selves (happy, sad, stressed), but over time we present to the group as the multifaceted beings we are, which allows us to feel more whole.
    Support in good times and bad. One of the things community can do best is pull together in times of need—but steady unblinking support in good times takes devoted and conscious attention to our common goals for growth.
    Opportunities for co-creation and growth. I fervently believe that we need a chance to massage our personal prophecies… in community.
    The healing of childhood wounds. Groups expose our “stuff”. Group dynamics and complexities offer us ample opportunities to see (and feel) our stories, judgements, projections and blindspots and to reality-test time if we are willing to be honest.
 
Beyond this sense of a felt connection and sense of belonging that is so important to us, other touted “benefits of community” include: knowledge, understanding, inspiration, mutual support, challenges, conflict resolution, empowerment, confession, forgiveness, exploration, innovation, research, resources, perspective, development, and growth, just to name a few.
 
Carl Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” In addition to holding the potential for us to meet our practical needs, community gives us the opportunity to have greater influence over our destiny and share our gifts and talents on a larger scale.
 
At Holobeing, we believe that what community does best is tend to the wounds under our words. We can listen to the echos of familiar stories from the past — the battle wounds each of us bear — and ask better questions. Where are we, really? Where would we much rather be? What echoes from the past are at play here? What is being enacted? Convening as part of a psychologically-informed, expertly facilitated community group allows us to dig under the surface. This is the healing process of a wound — it must be exposed, treated, and allowed clear space to breathe in order to heal.
 
Community has the Potential to Spark Purpose-Filled Growth
So, what attracts a self-interested individual to join a community? Of course, there is the primal, tribal explanation: people ostracized from a group would often die if left alone. In modern conditions, isolation looks different than “certain immediate death,” but can still be quite harsh. Isolation can be incredibly damaging, both psychologically and physiologically. Our minds and bodies actually crave connection and group support. We gather together for safety, security, healing, and celebration.
 
HoloBeing groups have facilitated these benefits to the individual:
    Connection (to feel a part of community and experience opportunities to make a greater impact)
    Self-reflection (to examine self while learning how others see you)
    Self Actualization (to actively work to reach your human potential)
    Better Relationship with Self (to find self love and self compassion)
    Growth (to grow into a place of firm integrity and to bring about personal and professional alignment).
 
Most importantly, consciously created communities bring us toward our life’s true purpose. This happens both interpersonally and through community. Partnerships bring important synergies—in business and our lives. Humans can accomplish much more by working together than working alone.
 
We encourage you experience these benefits for yourself. In a psychotherapeutically informed, carefully facilitated community, you can truly see who you are… and meet yourself there.
 
Professional Development Fellowship Circles 
Building a thriving wellness business is a journey. That’s why The Fellowship Circle is quite unlike other business or marketing programs. The practice of being consistently seen and held is a salve for our current hyper-programmed yet utterly disconnected lives. Community provides us with vibrancy and variety so that we can see things we previously couldn’t – solutions, ideas, directions, meaning.
 
The Fellowship Circle is a year-long immersion in an intentional, holistic community. Individual coaching combined with psychotherapy-informed group work creates profound changes — personally and professionally. It’s deeper professional development designed to heal business “battle wounds.” Participants learn to authentically present unique offerings, increase financial savvy by working on money scripts, and develop a secure relationship with your  business, all within a safe, nourishing space.
 
Your healing practice transcends ‘business’ as usual. We believe that healers deserve to love their livelihood and their ultimate calling. Community supports this process to help healers feel aligned and live in integrity with their inner selves.
 
Wellness Center Practitioners
We connect the most dedicated, holistic wellness practitioners in the Boulder area with clients who are committed to their own healing and self discovery. We welcome everyone to explore a variety of methods for self-care and healing.

Our Healing Center practitioners and Fellowship Circles are composed of professionals who offer psychotherapy, acupuncture, massage, coaching, meditation, and a variety of other modalities. HoloBeing has supported many practitioners through the years.
 
Our current roster includes:
Alexandra Davis, Acupuncturist & Intuitive Reader
Alyssa Gillespie, Level 7 Core Synchronism Practitioner
Annemarie Prairie, Psychotherapist
Heather Bowen Ray, Health Writer and Habits Coach
Jenessa Eisler, Lomi Lomi / Connective tissue massage therapist
Liz Long, Somatic Psychotherapist / Bodyworker
Tracy Cobb, Psychotherapist / Bodyworker
Nikki Hartley, Transpersonal Development Coach
Sarah Itkin, Intuitive
 
Graduates of our business programs include: 
Erin Hernandez of LuminousGroundCounseling
Alexis Ornellas of Mana Counseling 
Danielle Weiss of Mindful Healing Boulder
Kelly Walsh, Craniosacral Practitioner, Soul + Spirit Medicine Woman of Boulder Healing Arts
 
We hope you will join us in community
At the end of the day, I believe the meaning of life is to be skillfully human. We don’t become skillful alone, but through our relational encounters with others and, frankly, our willingness to be pummeled and expanded by life itself.
 
We hope you will join us in our pursuit to create the space for healers to create a truly felt community. Let’s get real, together.
 
Warmly,
 
Lesley Glenner 
 
Lesley Glenner MA
Owner, Coach, Psychotherapist

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