I spent the day yesterday at Harmony Hill Retreat Center with an amazing group of nonprofit women leaders. This group was formed years ago by a few thoughtful women in social service who believe in self care and wanted to pay that forward. These insightful leaders set up a fund at our local community foundation so that women in social service would be able to enjoy a retreat focused on self care every year. I am an alum of this program, so yesterday was a reunion for those of us that have been through the program.
The day was facilitated by a friend who is a wonderful young leader. She posed questions for us to contemplate, journal about and share with our colleagues.
I’m a pretty busy working full-time single mama, so I haven’t had a ton of time to feel my emotions recently. There is nothing like a day with inspiring women in a safe space and some free time to bring up feelings that are ready to be dealt with. Not comfortable, but very necessary and what a gift.
Some of the questions were harder than I thought they would be. The hardest one for me was “where are you going?” It’s a relatively simple question, right?! I love how we answer questions differently depending on where we are in life. 6 months ago, I would have said “I am getting married, going to grad school and starting a consulting business with my partner.” My partner and I broke up a couple of months ago. So yesterday, the question just made me cry and not stop crying for some time. As I sat with this question and my feeling of loss, eventually I came to a realization. Where I am going right now is – healing. It’s not exciting to say, but it is the right next phase for me. I miss him, and our vision to the future. I called him on the way home just to hear his voice. A little weird/needy but it’s all a process right?
Today starts a new day focused on where I am going instead of what I lost, what I am missing. I am setting intentions and moving in the direction of those goals. A couple of grad students in the group yesterday shared some insights about their women in leadership project. They interviewed many women leaders and what most of them said is that they had a plan. The plan may not have always worked out, but they knew the direction they were going and continually adjusted the plan as needed to move in the direction of their goals.
I’m working on my next plan. Some of the plan is being kind to myself and allowing the healing process to take however long it needs too. The next phases of the plan will unfold as they are meant too, all in due time.
Right now, I am grateful for the gift of yesterday. For women, community, sharing, laughter and the safe space provided to be real with each other and ourselves.
The women who started this retreat, have no idea how healing it has proven to be for me. I am so grateful to these thoughtful women who made the heartfelt decision years ago to create space for others. As part of my plan, I will be paying it forward too.