me, dancing on the dock at sunrise
photo credit: TORY WILLIAMS
Two weeks ago I went on a retreat in the UK. It’s not often that I get to go on retreats myself and it’s always an eye-opener as I remember what it feels like to be unsure, wondering why I was ever nuts enough to sign up for it in the first place and cursing myself in the days leading up to it that I could have possibly thought it was a good idea.
Who has the TIME for this? Can’t I have the same experience just sitting at home in the comfort of my living room reading a book about England?
I know, I am pathetic . . but still — each of us has our reasons for why we talk ourselves out of taking care of ourselves, no?
photo credit: TORY WILLIAMS
So it probably won’t surprise you if I tell you the retreat was everything I needed and so much more.
For me, it was so healing. Yes, healing. I have been really sick physically (totally boring, all fine, just protracted and annoying) and emotionally depleted. Heading over I was concerned that I wouldn’t get rest, that I would be more tired than when I left. Ha. Silly rabbit.
This circle of women empowered me. They nurtured and supported me. When I left I had such clarity, such a sense of well-being. It was magic, truly.
Why has it taken me a fortnight to write about it– to get back onto the page here? Well, so much simply can’t be put into words. It is an experience. I struggled with how to sum it up, how to share it– and, surprise, surprise — with each day that passed I began beating myself up about not putting up a damn post already, you lazy wench!
Seriously? Seriously– the hell? You would think I was beyond that– and actually, I am– I should say I tried to beat myself up about it but instead pretty much opened a window and threw those old voices out on the breeze and then took my dog Daisy for a long walk. Also– what helped me enormously was reading these two posts (below) about the Taproot Squam experience and seeing how it DOES take time to process, to assimilate — ahh, isn’t it always the best feeling when you find you are not alone?
It has been hard, of late, to see new beginnings as anything more than crushing endings. I was feeling ready to tackle countless projects and develop ideas into real things and share and radiate and move mountains when I came home from the Taproot Gathering. And now I wonder…was I really there? Did I make real, lasting connections? Did I begin to tell a story, but now have forgotten how to go on? What happened to the momentum I felt building as I journeyed through that weekend? ~ Shannon Herrick
I’ve been searching for a way to express how far I’ve come in the past year –
a year’s space that’s bookended in my mind by my first Squam and this most recent one.
I remember crying on Camille’s shoulder in the fall of 2012 that, in all my rush to feel safe in adulthood, I had forgotten how to be human, how to really be alive. I remember so clearly feeling incapable of speaking openly with other women that first year, like a baby learning how to walk and falling down again and again. ~ Jen Barlev
And so. I am here to tell you, there is time enough. If you are feeling overwhelmed. If you are feeling like not enough. Whatever you are feeling– sink into it. Know that it will pass.
For me the shift culminated yesterday when I stood in line at Whole Foods and there was a cd: the very best of Chicago. And, wait for it, I bought it. I know, right? How ancient am I? (Aaaaaaancient!)
But here’s the thing– I hadn’t listened to these songs in a thousand years and this one had me jumping all around the living room. And. That. Felt. So. Damn. Good.
That was only the beginning, of course— feeling stronger every day and so many others were like a shot to the arm.
But enough about me . . . what are the songs that lift you up? The ones that dust off your soul and throw it back into the game?
You don’t actually have to tell me– but I do hope you will make a point of seeking them out and playing them with the volume cranked. (dancing optional but, you know, highly recommended!)