April 14, 2011, Vol. 9 Issue 4
For Your Well Being:
I feel like I’ve been recalibrated. Yes, that’s the word. It’s the power of a women’s retreat. Last month my friend Linda and I drove over the mountains to Sisters in Central Oregon for a women’s retreat sponsored by my favorite seminar company, WINGS Seminars in Eugene, Oregon. At the time we signed up for it last August, the theme, “Permission Granted,” didn’t hit a personal note — just the idea of a women’s retreat in March sounded good — a retreat at a spa sounds good to me anytime of year, and WINGS Seminars have always been profound for me.
The Power of a Women’s Retreat
Just because I work in the motivational speaking business, does not mean I am immune to the doldrums. As I prepared for this retreat, I was feeling a little disenchanted — flat-lining might be a good description. Here in the Northwest, we can blame it on the winter (and late spring, lack of spring) weather, but I knew intuitively, it wasn’t about the weather, it was about me. As the date approached, just the process of preparation moved me into hopeful anticipation and out of feeling stuck.
We were asked to bring a decorative box, no bigger than a shoe box. I decided to make mine, so I dug a plain white cardboard box with an attached folded lid, out of the garage, and got out the Mod Podge. I covered it in some very cool white tissue paper with gold infinity swirls on it and glued on a sand dollar, some colored stones, an angel ornament, and my name. Beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder . . . and I loved my creation. In it, we were asked to place something that represented a goal, a dream, a desire. This is the kind of thing one shouldn’t think about too hard. What came to me was a Goddess charm necklace that my friend Holly had given me several years ago in celebration of our friendship. During my arthritic knee crisis three years ago, I was at a pain doctor appointment, and when I pulled off my turtleneck, the chain broke. Sadly, it got shelved and put away in the drawer, broken. My goal, dream, and desire, this weekend, as represented by this necklace, was to feel the joy and power and wholeness that necklace had represented to me as the person I thought of myself as — being a proponent for health and wellness — BEFORE my knees betrayed me.
When we gathered, we were 21 women in an intimate circle who got to declare our goals, dreams, desires, and be supported. The setting was warm, serene, welcoming, if a bit smokey from time to time: there was a real wood fireplace in the meeting room. Our sleeping room, a cabin, was out of this world. Cabin? — no, it was a small house with a lovely fireplace (gas – smokeless) sitting area, a bathroom the size of my office and a soaking tub the size of my bathroom with water streaming from the ceiling — on purpose! How cool is that! Actually, it’s VERY surprising, if you turn the water on and don’t anticipate that the water is going to stream down from the ceiling. Oh, and did I mention that there were doors that opened from the soaking tub so one could enjoy the view of the fireplace in the other room from the tub . . .
But seriously, we had come for the seminar. I love how Kris King facilitates a seminar. She is a powerful, intuitive woman, and I trust her. Magic always happens when she presides and I felt it personally several times over the weekend. After sharing our boxes and symbols, and placing them in the middle of our circle, we each received several “Free Pass to Life of Your Choosing” slips, which said “I grant myself permission to ___________” and another set of slips to share with our co-creators, that said “I encourage you to step forward and __________.”
Several times during the weekend, we each stood up and declared our intentions, received support, and lit a candle to put fire to our desires. And, best of all, we got to write the permission slips supporting our sisters. I was like a kid in a candy store. I LOVED writing those slips and putting them in the other women’s boxes. The boxes were so fun — finding each person’s box and supporting her. Eventually we would get to open our boxes. It felt like Christmas to me. I couldn’t wait for Christmas morning to get my rewards — better than a stocking full of candy and fruit any day. It felt joyful, and playful to me, and I needed that.
On Sunday, we each chose four of our Permission Granted desires, and took some time to write about behavior changes to support them, as well as circumstances and people who might be supportive or might be barriers to our new intentions. Then we shared them with a partner. Thinking about support and obstacles was particularly powerful for me, because it’s easy to dream in a secure environment, but then in the real world, the s_it hits the fan. Or not. I actually got to realize how much support I have, and that was a great feeling.
Then there was the woman who didn’t bring a box or a symbol of a dream. In the opening ceremony Friday night, she said that she’d never had a goal, or a dream . . . there was an audible pause in the room. I was shocked, as I think others were. When it was time to distribute Permission Granted slips, everyone was supporting her and stuffing them into her hands. Who needs a box? On Sunday morning, I noticed an empty glass had become her container for permission slips. Imagine our surprise then, on Sunday afternoon, when it was time to open our magical boxes, and this woman walked into the circle and picked up a beautiful carved wooden box and took it back to her seat. Turns out that during the lunch break, she’d gone downtown and purchased a box for herself, a beautiful box now stuffed with messages of support for the dreams she’d discovered inside herself and, in the course of the retreat, gained the courage to declare.
As for me, the chain that held my Goddess charm has been repaired, and both she and the chain are all shined up. The symbol is restored and so is my body, mind and soul.
So, the power of a women’s retreat? Any questions . . . ?
Other than needing help planning one? Give us a call at 503-699-5031.
A WORD ABOUT KRIS
I have to say a few words about Kris King as a facilitator, speaker and woman. Kris is long-term breast cancer survivor, and an incredible woman who has helped facilitate change in thousands of lives. When I first attended WINGS seminars in 2001, I was most impressed with two things. The processes we experienced to learn new ways of being, were integrated to access all levels — body, mind and spirit. I could feel all of those levels working together, and I’d never before felt that. I knew it was not happenstance, that is was thoughtfully orchestrated. Secondly, I appreciated that Kris was in the process WITH us. She did not put herself above us, yet she was definitely the leader. And for me, I got for the first time, that I was not climbing a self-development ladder. There were no levels to master. It would be a ride for the rest of my life, applying tools that would help me get up when I fall, and sail when the currents are favorable. For a taste of Kris’s work, check out the video clip on our website.
FIVE PINE LODGE
And if you’re looking for a great place for a conference, or a romantic getaway, check out Five Pine Lodge and Conference Center, in Sisters, Oregon. The soaking tub is the best!
Don’t Fence Me In
We just had the most interesting backyard experience. The fence between our neighbor’s yard and ours had to be replaced. Our biggest worry was making sure Bella the beagle did not escape during the process, as their yard is not secure. Living among the big fir trees, Bella’s biggest goal (and entertainment) in life, is protecting us from the squirrels that rule the neighborhood, so she spends a lot of time defending her borders. Once the old fence was taken down, it was amazing to see the yards opened up. More amazing, with the fence down, Bella pretty much stayed in our yard. Huh? She looked over there, but she did not run over there — it was like an invisible barrier around what she sees as her territory. It reminded me of the reports about elephants who do not move out of a small circle after being staked all their lives and then are un-staked. And I couldn’t help but think, here is an example, in my own backyard, of “permission granted.” How often do the barriers to our goals and dreams come down, yet we’re still confined to the barriers we think are up. Think about it. I am. My beagle, my teacher.
Until next time, take care of yourself for your well being and those you love.
PLEASE NOTE: The information shared in this e-news is designed to help you make informed decisions about speakers and the programs they offer. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment prescribed by a doctor. If you suspect you have a medical problem, seek competent medical help.