Each summer of my adult life I've spent a significant amount of time living out of a tent in the mountains. It's technically work, and sometimes it very genuinely feels like work. But more often, on the whole, I think about those months away as my annual retreat. I am unplugged from the world, and my universe shrinks down to the small community of people on my course--my co-instructors and the students I am responsible for. And in that shrinking and shedding, my world, paradoxically always expands.
It takes a little time, to stop worrying about the world out there. The to do lists. The people I love who are not with me in the mountains. My dog, who is no doubt wondering where I've gone. But with some time, I realize that the world out there is still spinning on just fine without me, and I get to wake up and be present to my life in the wilderness. And the old mental machinations eventually die down and new and better questions and perspectives always arise.
This summer, I didn't work a backpacking course. I took a job that required me to be in the city for the summer, and fall, and winter, and spring, ongoing. And now that summer has passed, I find myself looking into fall wondering what it will be like to move through a year without that touchstone of a retreat.
My previous work as a teacher allowed me to take off for the summer. But I don't have that luxury now. And neither do most people. So I am wondering if it is possible to distill some of the wisdom and spaciousness I got in those months in the mountains into my life in the front country.
I was delighted when my friend Shelley approached me to talk about co-facilitating a retreat this fall. While we don't have a whole month, we do have a three day weekend on the horizon, and we are pairing up October 5-8 to lead a Women's Circle Retreat in the mountains of North Carolina that will focus on, "Life Examined and Designed." We still have a few slots left, so if you know a women who is in need of a pause, of a chance to step out of the current of daily life and gain some wider perspective, please consider sharing the link above.
The retreat will incorporate creative expression, personal and group reflection, yoga classes, and authentic conversations all set against the backdrop of a beautiful lake in the NC mountains. Shelley brings her experience as a life coach, an artist, and a musician to the retreat, and I bring my experience as a 500 hour certified yoga instructor, a wilderness trip leader, and a mental health counselor to the retreat. We are joined by our dear friend Hannah Barry, co-creator of the Brevard Women's Circle, who will serve as lead chef for the weekend. Hannah is a jill of all trades: making exceptional food is just one of her many talents.
Mary Oliver famously asks, "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" If it's been a long time since you've considered who you are and what you are doing on a deeper level, perhaps you get to give yourself the gift of a pause this October.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.