Women’s Retreats

Taking time for reflection, new experiences and making connections.

I went on my first ever Women’s Self Care Retreat in May of 2021. I wasn’t sure what to expect. “Meditation, yoga on the beach, chanting, journaling, vision boards, etc.” It sounded way out of my comfort zone so naturally, I convinced a friend to come with me and share in the experience! We shared a cute little cabin overlooking Lake Huron that had 2 small bedrooms, living room, kitchen/dining and bathroom.

The retreat started with a welcome circle. There was an altar in the center and we had been instructed ahead of time to bring a little something personal to put there. It was at that moment that I wondered (for the first time) what the hell I had gotten myself into! It was very awkward to sit there, surrounded by strangers and my friend who was also probably wondering what the hell I had gotten her into! I took a deep breath and reminded myself that the reason I was doing this was to open up my mind to new experiences and step out of my comfort zone. I looked around the circle and realized that I probably wasn’t the only one who didn’t know what to expect. That made me feel more relaxed and I felt myself opening up. In fact, at one of our workshops I felt myself opening up way more than I had anticipated. I found myself crying while talking about my mom, twice! There were still awkward moments, have you ever chanted around a bonfire for what felt like hours with 8 mostly strangers? It felt very weird at first but I didn’t run back to my cabin. I stayed and tried it. That weekend we shared meals, trusted each other with our deepest feelings, made vision boards and did sunrise meditation. By the time I left on Sunday, I felt more in touch with myself that I had in a long time. Not the wife or the mother side of me, but just me. We forget as we travel through life that it is a solo journey. While we dearly love our family and friends, in the end we need to have that connection with ourselves too. I also felt a sisterhood with these women. With ALL women. It was empowering.

I knew I wanted to go back the next year and I had a friend who had been going through a lot of things and thought she could use a weekend away. A weekend to connect with herself and hopefully experience the same things I had. She said yes right away and we booked our cabin, my favorite one overlooking the lake. Some of the workshops were different this year. We still did yoga and chanting (which didn’t feel quite as weird this time), but we also did a workshop with sculpting clay, a session talking about our spirituality background and I even tried a reflexology session that turned out to be amazing. By opening myself up, I find myself more accepting of other points of view and new possibilities. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate with us that weekend. At one point during a circle time, we were all sitting under two pop up tents in the cold rain, huddled under blankets, periodically pushing on the top of the tent to knock off the pooling water. I remember watching the prayer flags we had made getting battered by the wind, water dripping off of them, yet they hung in there. Their words and meaning didn’t fade just because they faced adversity. The words representing what we hoped to achieve that weekend were still clear; balance, harmony, connection, peace. It was at that moment I realized how easily your thoughts can drift when you spend a weekend doing self reflection and everyone in the circle was waiting for my response to the question that had been asked! Rain and wandering thoughts aside, it was a great weekend. That was a very special group of women and I still keep in touch with many of them today.

The next retreat is coming up in just a few months and I am already looking forward to it. This year’s focus is the Full Moon and Lake Huron. We’ll be using crystals and stones, making drums and jumping in the lake during a full moon ceremony. None of that is familiar to me and that’s ok. It’s so easy to fall back into our comfortable routines and what feels familiar. I look forward to this annual reminder that it’s powerful to experience new things, especially things are a little uncomfortable. I’m excited to relax, let go, and hopefully see some of my retreat friends as well.

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