retreat goodness

What a time we had on retreat this weekend!

I hustled around Thursday preparing last minute details like goody boxes and homemade banana-granola muffins.  Mom arrived on Friday and after one more craft store stop, we headed to Chris’ Cottage in Danville, Kentucky.  We spent the evening visiting with Chris, setting up the retreat space and making accordion books on the kitchen porch.

And then the magic of retreat began.

The most amazing women showed up.  Artists and advocates and teachers.

We began our morning in the Cottage circling with journaling and dancing and visualizing.  My lunch of squash soup, salad, and apple crisp turned out just delicious-whew!  We enjoyed lunch over in the main farmhouse, settling ourselves between the kitchen porch and the kitchen table.  Chris Kubale, the Cottage Proprietress and one of my dear mentors joined us for lunch and answered the group’s questions about renewing over a lifetime.  It was so beautiful to hear her in action; she had told me her wish was/is to “sit around and be wise” and boy did this manifest on Saturday!  We stayed in the main house for most of the afternoon as we crafted renewal plans in our accordion books and enjoyed private massages in the Cottage.  At the end of the day, we circled one more time to wrap up all the juicy nuggets we were taking away from the day.

I was especially grateful to have so much loving help and support.  From my mom’s extra hands over and over to Chris’ hospitality, not to mention all the incredible love from the women on retreat. 

It was a beautiful circle of women.  Women listening to themselves and each other.  Women laughing and questioning and pondering and creating.  Women renewing.   

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wishcasting–on Thursday!


image from Jamie Ridler,

Our wishcasting question on Wednesday was this:  what luxury do you wish for? 

What fun!

Here’s what tops my list today:

  • the airstream, of course!
  • traveling back to Inverness, Ca to stay at Manka’s for a second honeymoon with my hubby
  • a kitchen makeover from say, perhaps Candice of Divine Design
  • a retreat at Kripalu to rejuvenate
  • a nanny so that my little guy can spend time close by while I work (or travel along in the airstream?)
  • a CSA membership from our local farmers–this year was so yummy!
  • fresh flowers from the farmer’s market this Saturday
  • Aveda shampoo and conditioner–the smells alone are luxury
  • a massage
  • a trip to San Diego with Harper to visit my sister and maybe even Legoland?
  • a visit with Stacy and Clinton…I’m in need of a fashion makeover that nails my style and spirit (I’ve been in Mommy gear a wee bit too long)
  • another session with Hiro or coaching with Havi
  • registration for next year’s Squam art workshops and Chris Z’s teacher training program
  • what else?

The dreaming could go on and on.  Try it for yourself. 

What I notice in this list is that some of them are just splurges, the extras that might make life a bit more luxurious.  Many of them are about community and connecting…with my loved ones, with other creative spirits, with my self.  Several of them are about growing and stretching and learning.  It feels like the themes bubbling up for me are around beauty, connectedness and health.  

And I think these are the things I am longing for more of these days.  Even though I have abundance of them already, I am longing for more.  And I’m okay with that.  In fact, I’m reveling in these revelations that my spirit is asking me to kick it up a notch!

What can you find in your own list? 

this monday

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“Over and over we have to go back to the beginning.  We should not be ashamed of this.  It is good.  It’s like drinking water.” ~ Natalie Goldberg

This Monday I am going back to some of my beginnings.  I am returning to my morning journaling practice, my whole foods (and caffeine-free!) diet, my retreat plans for this Saturday’s Renew Retreat.  How are you going back to the beginnings that suit you?

discovering joy

image from Jamie Ridler,

Today I am diving into the Next Chapter discussion on Martha Beck’s The Joy Diet.  I’ll be joining a circle of others to explore joy week by week and chapter by chapter. (You can join us, if you’d like; it’s open to all!)  

What brings me to this group?  Curiosity.  And definitely a desire to explore what joy means to me.  How is it different than happiness or fun or pleasure?  How do I want to define joyful living?  How do I reclaim joy when I can feel it seeping away at times?  Does it ebb and flow?  And what brings me joy right now?  

So here I am.  Starting with more questions than answers.

And that’s a good thing, I think.

As an advocate for women who have experienced personal power-based violence, as well as a coach for advocates who work in shelters and rape crisis centers, I see first-hand how joy can trickle out of our lives.  How really big and horrible things can zap it away in an instant.  I hear how joy seeps slowly out of my clients from week to week as they take on the world’s ugly realities.  They sometimes feel as if joy will never ever return.  And yet, I truly truly believe that it is possible–for all of us!–to cultivate joy even in the midst of the uglies.  To nurture it along and protect it and grow it.

So with all my curiosity and questions, I am diving in.  To be in the process myself of re-discovering.   

Our first chapter is about doing nothing.  And so I’m off.  To do nothing.  To sit with my questions and let them soak in and roll around a bit.  To hear what my soul already knows about joy.  To be reminded.  Stay tuned!  

at the beach

Oh what a week it was.

Mix together two Twilight series books, two seafood boils, countless card games, hot tub dips under the stars, one kite, at least five birthday celebrations, Marco Polo in the pool, one photographer, four days of rain, Dance of Shiva yoga and journaling most mornings, tea and Fat Tire beer (separate, of course!), horse shoe contests, and even some wild horses showing up on the front lawn.

Add a big dollop of cartoons for Harper and some splashes of sister talks and Fantasy Football drafts.  Mix slathers of sunscreen and a pail of seashells.  Stir it all to make my one mess of a vacation week.

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It wasn’t long enough.  With my boys.  Relaxing together.  Connecting.  Being with my parents and sister and her hubby.  I’m ready for the next one!

we’re off!

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We’re off to the beach for a week–yep, a week!  We’ll be spending our days with my family as we celebrate my folks’ 60th birthdays.  Yippee!

I’m wishing you and yours a lovely long weekend and will look forward to sharing photos when we return!

Wishcasting Wednesday

For today’s Wishcasting Wednesday, Jamie at Jamie Ridler Studios has asked, ‘what do you wish to begin?

What I most wish to begin is a mini retreat for women.  In a traveling airstream trailer.  I wish to fill it with inspiring books, candles and incense, pillows, Goddess cards and art supplies, handmade art on the walls, wholesome snacks and delicious teas.  I wish to partner with fabulous healers who can share yoga stretches and chair massages and healthy cooking.  I wish to coach circles of women to create self-caring rituals for themselves.  I wish to create space for them to gather together, to pause, stretch, breathe, dream and ponder.  I wish to somehow create this as a social enterprise, a way for their monies to circle back to women in need in the community as donations or scholarships of some sort. 

I wish to finally begin this dream of mine…the renewal retreat!  

p.s.  I’m also quite ready to begin my beach vacation–come Friday, we’re off!!