Tree-talking, Hippy-dressing Weirdos

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!

Me caught with a look of, "What in the world is she saying!"

Me caught with a look of, "What in the world is she saying!"

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.

Alison