I'm up at 5am after the 3rd Women's Wellness Retreat we've held at The Homestead. The idea started with an herbalist, natural living mama friend, Mandi Sanders, who said, "I really crave a space where we can nourish and be nourished by other women."
"Let's do it," I said. She is a good friend because I have had three c-sections and used lots of pharmaceuticals and she still loves me.
I admit to being somewhat of a social chameleon. I am comfortable in a lot of different groups of people. I like people and find them fascinating and frustrating. I've got crunchy friends, doctors' wives friends, international friends, and a collection of friends I've gathered up from moving all over the country when I was younger. But the group of women who showed up at the first Women's Wellness Weekend made me nervous!
In fact, the first year I was so nervous I drank too much during the keynote address and had a terrible headache the next day. These women were touchy-feely, they cried about everything, and their spiritual practices made my Presbyterian head spin.
It was only after the weekend was done, and I began my own health journey that I realized something: Those women were happy and awake, and I was not.
I reluctantly agreed to do another Women's Wellness Weekend the next year, and passed the baton on to a new organizer. The second year I only drank three glasses of wine and decided I would throw my somewhat jaded heart into the process. I met some amazing women last year. I saw brave women who wanted to be whole and healed and alive. I'm sure there were women like that the first year, but I was too freaked out to notice.
This year I just accepted the fact that there would be moments where I would be uncomfortable, and that being uncomfortable is probably good for us once in a while. Mostly, I looked forward to seeing women who I now count among friends. The surprise was how much joy I took in watching new women break wide open and BEAM!
In the closing circle yesterday, a woman who was so uncomfortable last year that she took my place with the hangover said, "I came back this year because I just love y'all, you tree-talking, hippy-dressing weirdos!" It was a compliment in the highest regard.
One of the participants posted this on the Facebook page last night, and I think it sums up the weekend for most women: Over the weekend, I laughed, I cried, I sang, I hugged, and I danced so hard I bruised my feet. I opened up my heart like I never have before. I gave so much love and received so much love. I feel restored, connected, supported and ready for the year thanks to all of you. Thank you all for offering such a peaceful loving environment! I love all of you!
Sometimes I feel like The Homestead is doing what I hoped it would do. Today is one of those days.