Thursday, October 1, 2015

A magical Spark.

It was nearly 9 months ago I read about this place.
This Spark Retreat.
This exploration women had with each other, within themselves.
They wrote:
Kelle Hampton and Claire Bidwell Smith present Spark, a weekend retreat in Ojai, California for women who are looking to explore themselves on a deeper level, connect to their stories, and reinvest in their lives. Through the use of writing, group gatherings and empowerment exercises we will work in an intimate setting to explore our stories and ourselves on a deep level.
Ummm, yes please.
Every part of me cried, YES PLEASE.
But then. The fear. 4 days away on my own? Away from the kids? Is that fair to Nick? Not to mention the cost, the flight, the coordinating. Is this really realistic?
But after many frantic texts and pep talks with my girl Brooke, and encouraging words from Nicholas...we were in. (I actually think we were initially wait listed, but then got in- score!)
I wanted to do this.
I needed to do this.
But I was nervous. And excited. And nervous. But mostly excited.
Before the trip they asked us a bit about ourselves and why we decided to come to the retreat:
Hi. About me...isn't this a tough question to begin with? :) I'm a mama to two little ladies. A wife. A daughter, a sister and a loyal friend. I'm striving daily to find ways to slow this time right now, and to stay present. I love music and how it can transport you to a very specific time and space. I'm a 35 year old living in the big city, who still sometimes dreams of leaving it all and moving back to her small hometown. I'm quite obsessed with candles, holidays, and documenting. I'm scared of forgetting. I can be a bit neurotic, type-A, but I am always up for an impromptu adventure. I am old school: I still use a check register and a planner that allows me the ability to make my lists and cross things off. With highlighters.
I hope that I am kind.
That I'm a good listener.
I hope my girls always want to hold my hand.

Oh. And I give really good hugs, so get ready.
I signed up for Spark because I felt compelled. I guess that's the simplest way of stating it. I read about the weekend, and the experiences and the support of it all...and I wanted it. I was in. Scared, but in. I love writing and the satisfaction I feel when I can put my feelings and thoughts into somewhat eloquent words. I want to be inspired to find ways to do it more often. Help to find my voice in this often crazy, hectic world. I wanted time away to focus on me. To help me find tools of unraveling my story.
And then last week the time had come. Our Spark weekend had arrived...and any of the fears and anxieties I had melted away the moment I walked through the doors and was instantly welcomed with open arms, and the eyes of other women who, no doubt, were just as anxious as me.
Our weekend together was magical. Truly.
I felt a healing that I didn't know I really even needed as I wrote. I felt support in my sharing. I felt love for each of the amazing other 22 women and our leaders.
We cried and shared and wrote and laughed and ate beautiful food and did yoga and meditated and swam and drank wine and talked and wrote and shared and listened, and then talked and wrote and shared and listened some more.
We called each other family and hugged and prayed and learned about each others families and each others fears and losses and said "me too" so many times over.
I connected on such a deep level with these women who days earlier were total strangers, and I left being reminded of how innately we crave this connection.
This human connection that just cannot be recreated or replicated through an online presence. Through phone calls and texts.
I want to hold those close to me. To hug them and sit with them and really truly hear them.
I left inspired. Lighter.
I left wanting more. Wanting to be more.
I left carrying a piece of each of these women with me.
I can feel a change in me, and I hope so much I can keep that spark alive. Because it is so, so good.
It is so wonderful to come home after a weekend like be home with my girls and with Nick. To implement some of the things I learned and took away with me. To be reminded by my daily IG conversations with these women that we can do this. We are here together to lift each other up.
I'm so very thankful I went on this retreat. That I went out of my comfort zone.
That I was brave.
It was magic.







 "I don't know what I think until I write about it."
-Joan Didion

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