I’ve been leading retreats for women for 25 years (read why I lead retreats) and every single time I’m amazed by how much I learn and am reminded of by the women who show up in the circle.
This past weekend I was at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health—one of my favorite retreat centers and the largest of its kind in North America-where I supported 50 women from around the world in reconnecting with who they are and learning the art/science of self-care. Every time I enter the Sunset room where our retreat is held, I try to stay open to seeing and hearing things in new ways and to experiencing the weekend through the eyes of someone who is there for the first time. And every time these women bring me to my knees.
Here are some nuggets of wisdom I heard–and overheard-from our attendees this past weekend:
“The more I let go, am present and let things unfold—the more rich my life is. When I try and control everything, I miss opportunities and limit what ‘could’ be.”
“We all want to be seen, heard and connect–and magically when these things happen, we feel transformed. We feel whole.”
“Wow. I’ve never gathered with women like this. I had no idea this type of experience was possible. Women supporting women in this way is a gift I’ve never tapped.”
“I get it. Tending to our inner life is as important as dealing with what’s going on around us. I can see now that my outer world is truly a reflection of what’s going on internally.”
“We’re all always learning. Whether you’re 25 or 75 we all have things to teach each other. Experiencing this was refreshing and validating.” (The women in our retreat spanned six decades.)
“I experienced how deep my longing is to be authentic/real and connect with women around meaningful topics. We all crave this. This is going to really shift how I relate to women I meet in my daily life.”
“My definition of self-care has been turned upside down. I thought it was just about scheduling ‘me time,’ but I now get that it’s about cultivating a whole new relationship with myself.”
I know that it’s a privilege and honor to hold space for women to find their way back to their truth. To what I call their Wise Selves–that part of them that sees their highest and best. Yet I continue to be humbled by the experience.
Today as I went about my day–making breakfast for my family, walking with a friend, going to a school meeting, working and replying to emails–I couldn’t stop thinking about Marie. A sweet mother of four kids ranging from elementary to high school age, Marie attended our retreat and shared with me it was her first time ever to be away from her family and do something like this. I wonder how her experience–which she said was life-changing–will impact her and her loved ones. Next week … and for years to come.
TAKE ACTION: Curious why someone would invest the time and resources to go away for a weekend and spend time with people they’ve never met? Read 5 reasons I take retreats and check out my 2015 retreat schedule. Or email workshops at reneetrudeau dot come to hire me to design a custom 1/2 day or full day self-renewal retreat for your team, organization or group this spring. P.S. You asked for it: we’re working on a June CA retreat and a one-day late April Austin retreat–more to come!
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance teacher and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining Personal Renewal Groups based on her award-winning curriculum. She is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 12 year-old son. More on her background here.