“I feel there is something unexplored about women that only a woman can explore.” ~Georgia O’Keeffe
I love creating retreat experiences for women. To gather groups of seekers in beautiful settings. The energy created could light the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center for the entire holiday season.
Oh, it doesn’t happen in a flash, it builds slowly as we circle each other in conversation. As we listen and share and laugh or hand each other Kleenex to dab at unexpected tears. I watch the magic unfold every time. The power of vulnerability melts barriers of all sorts in the room and, soon, it transforms into sacred space.
It takes courage to be vulnerable. It takes an Olympian effort to be vulnerable in public. But I have found that the most genuine friendships and meaningful connections with other people take place in that space.
Though I am inspired by valiant acts and articulate speeches by dynamic leaders of all sorts, my heart is often left unchanged. I suspect greater power lies in shared seeking. Taking time out of life to reassess who we are at this particular stage and who we want to be, or what we wish to accomplish, in the next chapter.
It is often a relief to engage in important conversations that explore shared truths or weaknesses, that offer glimpses into our collective hopes, dreams, pain or uncertainties. It is a relief to let down our guards and be imperfect. To embrace our imperfections and exhale. And did I mention the amount of laughter and good-natured sarcasm that comes with all of this? (When is the last time you laughed until your sides ached?)
Trust is built at this level. Vulnerability is the soil that will bear the fruit of growth and inner peace.
Travel offers unique opportunities for emotional, intellectual and spiritual growth. When we venture beyond the boundaries of our everyday lives and slip out of our cultural constraints, we find ourselves opening to possibility, imagining a life of greater meaning, and seeing ourselves in a new light. Our creative energies have room to churn and bubble to the surface. New friends expand our worlds in beautiful ways.
Adventure is a basic human need. New landscapes, colors, textures, foods and flavors. The sounds of other languages and diversity of cultures. Inspiration happens in such circumstance. A journey feeds the soul.
I encourage you to grant yourself and those you love these formative experiences. They are life affirming, life changing, and just plain fun. If you feel drawn to a destination, find a way to make it happen! It is calling you and waiting to reveal its lessons to you. The beach, the mountains, the hustle bustle of a large city, Italy, Bali… you get the idea. Life is for living!
If you feel a call to the creative energy of Santa Fe and the rugged beauty and colors of New Mexico, please join me in September for Writer Travel Santa Fe! O’Keeffe country is the perfect destination to explore the artist in all of us. (Talk about a strong and inspiring woman!)
In closing, please enjoy one of my favorite poems by Macrina Wiederkehr.
Have a vulnerable day! ~ Susan
The Sacrament of Letting Go
She celebrated the sacrament of
First she surrendered her Green
Then the Orange, yellow, and Red…
Finally she let go of her Brown…
Shedding her last leaf
She stood empty and silent, stripped bare
Leaning against the sky she began her vigil of trust…
Shedding her last leaf
She watched its journey to the ground…
She stood in silence,
Wearing the color of emptiness
Her branches wondering:
How do you give shade, with so much gone?
And then, the sacrament of waiting began
The sunrise and sunset watched with
Tenderness, clothing her with silhouettes
They kept her hope alive.
They helped her understand that
her dependence and need
her readiness to receive
were giving her a new kind of beauty.
Every morning and every evening she stood in silence and celebrated
the sacrament of waiting.
For more information about our upcoming retreat in Santa Fe, please go to www.writertravelsanta fe.weebly.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org