"One woman's problem is a variation of another's past history, or a reminder of another's painful childhood, or is similar to something going on in another's current life. To acknowledge this may be an opportunity to see the effect that such (once forbidden) conversations can have, when truth is called forth." - Jean Sinoda Bolen, M.D. (The Millionth Circle)
A friend of mine recently returned from teaching at Squam. Aside from the classes and connection that took place, she shared with me a bit about her experience of communing with trees, water and rustic cabins and what that time in nature, away from her everyday life, gifted her with.
During this same conversation I shared with her that I was feeling extremely cloudy in thought and in dire need of some answers to some long-standing questions, specifically related to expansion and movement in both my career and at home including the hows and the whens that go along with that. She suggested that perhaps what I needed was to sit with some nature and a kindred sister for a wee bit, not unlike she just had.
Before she finished her thought I think I blurted out YES! That was exactly what I needed! A mini-retreat, close to home where I could unplug from my everyday life noise - everything from city noise to internet noise to my inner noise - and plug into quiet. The only agenda at this retreat would be to come with an open heart, zero expectation, my sense of humor and an understanding that none of us walk this path alone. The schedule would include breathing in the summery warm butterscotch scent of the trees, listening to the songs of nature, looking to wild life (and wild women) for some council, and to marvel at all those shimmering stars that are usually invisible in my big city sky.
My comadre was also ready to get back to the wild and with a wave of her magic wand the space was created. Two weeks later we were off on a quick and sacred retreat to a healing mountain that the Chumash Indians call the center of the universe. Chills, right? An hour out of Los Angeles and I soon found myself in a beautiful, spacious cabin nestled in the trees with no ones needs to tend to but my own.
I drank a glass of wine outdoors in the afternoon and sketched trees under the morning sun on a redwood deck. I hiked through wildflowers (nevermind that damn stinging ant that bit me!) and circled around a campfire with some wise and beautiful souls. I was visited by hawk, coyote, deer and jack rabbits galore. I did nothing, and everything. I was out of go-mode and simply breathing. The very best part was having her with me on this 24-hour journey. She was my trusted guide on the dusty trail.
I didn't go necessarily looking for any answers, but I suppose that is what happens when we allow ourselves to turn down the noise. Information I was seeking began to reveal itself in wild and unexpected ways yet also in very predictable ones. The answers were of course ones I had been carrying for years already - forest for the trees as the saying goes. They just needed to be called forward. This is the magic of allowing ourselves to share what's inside and be heard. This is where we find the freedom to step into our truth.
And now here I am back in the city noise. Back to the noise of my everday life. Back in the arms of my family who are the source of my everything. I return home carried by the wisdom of this sacred mountain hoping I can use the tools I gethered while there to return to that place of silence when I need to.
As I drove home late Sunday morning I thought about other mamas who walk in my same shoes. Mamas who are at home raising their children, nurturing their families and perhaps are also building a business and are hungry to nourish some part of themselves. Mamas who are surrounded by more concrete than trees or perhaps in the midst of some type of life transition. Mamas who benefit from stepping into their vulnerability so they may listen, learn and grow from the experience. Mamas who can benefit from a break (and can't we all?) but perhaps only have a day or two to step away from their lives.
Mamas who understand that retreating helps us return more whole allowing us to be more present mothers, partners and friends. You can give yourself permission to step away from go mode when you need to.
Is this something that speaks to you? If so I wonder if this kind of retreat is something you could use too? Do you need to plug into some quiet, or perhaps call forward some truth? Does the thought of sitting in a safe space with a small group of women in a beautiful setting stir something inside of you? Do you live in Southern California? Or want to visit Southern California?
Or perhaps you are a husband, partner or friend to a mama who could benefit from a bit of cloud clearing. Maybe you are not a mama at all, but are just feeling a recharge would be beneficial.
If so, I would be so grateful if you would leave me a comment or email me privately at stacied at mac dot com. I would like to create this space for you, and with you. For us.