A few short weeks ago, a close friend, a mentor – one of my fellow moms whom I have learned from and leaned on heavily over the course of 8 years called and invited me to a retreat. I am a cautious person, I enter novel situations and environment cautiously and with much anxiety. When she said “please come” I did not hesitate. If she thinks I should go I go.
And so grateful and joyous am I that I went.
A. held down the fort, support workers stepped up to the plate and I pulled myself together and headed an hour away (yay – usually everything is at least 2 hours away). It was exhausting, it was invigorating. Our facilitator referred to opening up to new experiences and thinking as “stretching”. Oh my I did a lot of stretching. I ate food I had never had (here is a confession – until this past weekend I had never had salmon or risotto, I had and loved both), I spent probably the most time I ever have in the presence of many people who share so many of the same visions and dreams I do, I asked people questions and learned about their lives. I shared openly and I hugged strangers who quickly were no longer strangers. I experienced love and acceptance on a whole new level. I danced to drums with abandon and then played the drums in a drumming circle. I was filled to the brim with hope, possibilities, shared stories, laughter and vulnerability.
We stayed in a striking hotel with amazing suites with a penchant for detail. The beds were luxurious. But we hardly spent any time in our rooms – every moment was packed with togetherness but much of that was spent in silent contemplation. I meditated for the first time ever and found that I really enjoyed it and for the first time in my life one of my horrific migraines resolved without the use of medication.
I met some of my hero’s in the world of inclusion – not education inclusion political speak to appease people. REAL inclusion. People who listen, learn and help people live their dreams. To build lives free from the restrictions that have been placed on vulnerable people because of misperceptions and preconceived ideas. The best is that I did not just meet these people – I ate and laughed with them. We shared drink and our stories. We drummed and danced side by side and their energy filled me up.
I know I have so much to say but I need to process it without losing it and letting my everyday life pull it away from me.
One of the things we did at the retreat was watch this video. It is funny and inspiring and powerful. Take some time to watch it, you won’t regret it.
Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability | Video on TED.com
I am exhausted and exhilarated all at the same time.