Sunday, July 12, 2015

Why go away on a Women's Retreat?

I have been exploring and making lists about what makes a woman's retreat so wonderful. This time next year, I will be leading a women's retreat at the beautiful Bend of Ivy Lodge​ just outside of Asheville. To generate interest, I am posting some of what I know is true. I will add to it as the days go by. If you have other reasons and stories to share, please do! :D

Why go on a Women's Retreat?

Sisterhood: There is nothing quite as transformative and regenerative as sitting in circle with other women sharing stories and making discoveries.

Self-care: Women are the primary nurturers of the world. Our ultimate challenge is to direct all those loving, compassionate qualities upon ourselves. Going on a retreat is a declaration to those around us and to ourselves that self-care is no longer perceived as selfish but is instead a necessity. Our well-being is a pre-requisite for the well being of all those around us.

Solitude: Going on retreat gives you the space and the time to reconnect with aspects of yourself that you have forgotten or put on the back burner. On retreat, you get the opportunity to bridge that gap.

Silence: “Your life is always talking to you - are you listening?”
A woman needs to step away from the outer cacophony of voices, to hear her own innate wisdom. She needs the time and space to know the sound of her own voice, to speak it, and then choose to honor it. Taking the time while on retreat to sit quietly in nature is a wonderful way to listen to your heart. If you are highly verbal like myself, a retreat can teach you the value and pleasure of silence in the quiet of solitude and tranquility.

Peace and quiet: you get to go to away to a location that is removed from your routine life, often some place with nature as its beautiful surroundings. This kind of peace and quiet is infinitely healing.

Like-minded people: You have a unique opportunity to meet people who are more or less in the same situation as you are, looking for the same support and solutions. As in every group, you will connect with some and stay in touch with others.

Me-time: the retreat time, however long, is all about YOU. Forget work or the kids. Concentrate on you and just you.

Thinking: You do get a lot of time to think. So you can tackle a problem, solve an issue or discuss future plans with women you grow to trust.

Discovery: A retreat is all about discovery. Of yourself, of other people, of a new place, of new tips and tricks. Be open and remain curious. You may very well learn new ways of thinking and being.

That is the beginning of my list. I have more, but for now I would LOVE to hear from some of you who have participated in Women's Retreats. Let me know what you found to be true with your experience.

Friday, July 10, 2015

What I Believe

Me (left) and three of my four sisters. 
My dream is to connect with other women in a deep, powerful, profound and transformative way. Here is what I believe. What do you believe?

  • I believe women united are a powerful and transformative force.
  • I believe this culture and this world seeks (sometimes consciously and sometimes not) to prevent women from discovering and tapping into the truth of their power and the transformative force that they are.
  • I believe deep and lasting change starts from within, from the relationship we have with ourselves.
  • I believe what we say to ourselves both out loud and in private, how we respond to our own needs, wants, hopes, dreams, desires … this relationship with ourselves determines how we are in the world. It determines how we are at work, how we are with our families, how we are with money, and how we are with our health.
  • I believe the degree to which we experience love and joy and connectedness in the outer world is in direct proportion to how much love and joy and connectedness we experience in relationship with ourselves.
  • I believe the way to improve the relationship with ourselves is the same way we would seek to improve any relationship. We treat it with value and respect. We make it a priority. We put ourselves first.
  • I believe as women we must use our voices and our stories to connect with one another, create change, and to know, really know that we are not alone, and that together we have power.
  • I believe there is transformative power and healing when women gather in talking circles, on retreats, and in creative workshops to explore, discover, and celebrate all of who they are.

I challenge, implore, beseech you. Connect with other women. Sit in women’s circles. Attend women’s retreats. Participate in women’s workshops. Share your stories. Tell the truth of who you are. Allow yourself to be seen. Explore. Discover. Find those aspects of yourself that have been discarded, lost, and long ago forgotten. Know who you are. Love who you are. Find your pack. Then unabashedly tell the world about it. I will tell you who I am. Tell me who you are.