Have you ever been called to do something that pushed you to the edge of your comfort zone? This soft edge is where we can learn so much about ourselves. We can observe how we respond to the challenge. We can hear the stories we tell ourselves. At this uncomfortable edge we can choose to step back from the fear and stay safe.
Or we can choose to move toward the discomfort and uncertainty and say YES to this thing that excites us and scares us, knowing that something big and beautiful is bound to happen when we do.
In 2006 I had never considered going on a retreat. In fact, I really didn’t even know what it entailed. I hated sleepover camp and I prefer small groups and my own bed.
But I been reading Christine Kane’s blog for several months, connecting with her words, resonating with the themes and ideas she shared. So when she announced that she was leading a women’s retreat in Asheville, North Carolina, something deep and strong inside of me said, hmmmm.
But then all of the other louder, more familiar voices chimed in. North Carolina?? That is all the way across the country. In NORTH CAROLINA! It was certainly NOT a state I ever intended to visit.
And it was expensive. PLUS the cost of the travel to get there. And I had never been to a retreat before.
I was overwhelmed with the unknown.
What would it be like to spend a weekend with myself? With people I didn’t know? I never went to sleep away camp as a kid and, in high school, when I did go to a week long summer camp, I cried the first few days because I was homesick.
And what if I didn’t like my roommate. Or the food. Or. Or. Or.
But that deep strong voice that said hmmmm, was saying YES! GO! FIND A WAY. THIS IS SOMETHING YOU NEED TO DO.
I asked my friend who lived in Chicago if she might want to go with me. She said she’d think about it. Meanwhile, I imagined what it might be like to do this thing that excited me and scared me at the same time. And, as scary as it was, I knew I wanted to do it.
I looked at airfares and car rentals and even considered driving from Arizona to the east coast. And then my friend called and said yes, she would go. So we made a plan to both fly into Nashville and drive together on a three hour mini road trip to Asheville.
Just saying YES changed so much in my life. I knew I was stepping bigger, stepping deeper into knowing myself and taking care of myself.
This was the first time I was doing something just for me.
Of course, the entire experience was magical. From the traveling and the road-tripping to the actual retreat weekend.
My body rejoiced being in the lush mountains, so different from the Arizona desert. I loved the quiet time, the deep questions, being nourished with delicious food and intimate conversation.
And even though my friend and I shared a room, we actually spent very little time together during the retreat. Each of us focused on connecting with ourselves, and with different women. So we had lots to talk about on the drive back to Nashville.
I returned for the fall retreat, this time by myself. It was the same place, the same basic agenda, but I was different, the season was different and it was a completely new experience for me. I met women there that I’m still friends with, almost a decade later. And I’ve been to several other retreats since then.
Retreats immediately take you out of the comfort and predictability of your regular life. You are usually in a beautiful place, surrounded by nature, and fed incredible food. There is space and time and your whole body breathes. And even the tightest places in our heart peek open to the light.If the idea of a retreat scares you and excites you at the same time, maybe it’s time to try it.
The Wonder, Women & Waves retreat is in November and early bird pricing ends September 30.
Are you ready to step to your edge?