A sacred pause

That was the purpose of the retreat I went on this weekend with She Recovers . I have yet to process it all, but it was awesome and I have to share my immediate thoughts!

We were 29 women from various walks of life and with various pasts. All of us had struggled with life issues and we’re looking to take the weekend as a break for ourselves. That sacred pause. To do yoga, eat beautiful food from the farm and to rest, read, or spend time talking with other women who wanted to share their honest stories.

I went into the weekend looking forward to the discussions. I had considered bringing some self help books to work on myself (I had bought Debbie Ford’s The Dark Side of the Light Changes), but I changed my mind and decided this wasn’t a weekend for self evaluation. It was a weekend for self acceptance, care and enjoyment. I was glad I did that.

Each day brought an opportunity to nourish and revive my spirit in yoga. Taryn, the yoga teacher, led us through beautiful classes designed to open our hearts. And they did. Even my shoulders and neck released and I can feel the lightness and openness in my heart.

And the talking! I heard so many stories of love, heartache, struggle and strength. I shared my own. And every time I did I realized just how proud of myself I am that I am no longer trapped in active addiction. I have chosen the harder path and it has been so worthwhile.

Each meal was a celebration. The food prepared by the staff at the farm was unbelievable. Fresh, delicious. Beautiful. We all ate together, sharing laughter and love.

The women at the retreat truly became sisters. I could see my own struggles in them, and the ability to overcome, try, fail and try again. Strength you could never imagine. Light that shone so brightly.

Each of us received a beautiful mala bracelet to signify our connection at the retreat. They are special and powerful (check out the She Recovers website. They are starting to sell them soon and they are worth every single penny). And we each got a semi colon henna tattoo, signifying that sacred pause that we all need to take to protect our mental and physical health.

I left the island with a full heart. A peaceful soul. And the recognition that I don’t need a retreat, or a recovery meeting to find a connection with others. Everyone has challenges in their lives. Everyone has had struggles. Sometimes it just take one person to be brave enough to start the conversation. I will be that person whenever I can. Because sharing is a celebration of life.

When I first quit drinking the idea of recovery scared me. I didn’t want to have to work at this forever. I just wanted to quit drinking and be normal. That seems so funny now. If I wasn’t recovering I would be missing all these amazing opportunities.

You might not see it, but I am glowing.

Stillness and peace

Anne

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33 thoughts on “A sacred pause

    1. It was. And it was so amazing to feel the same connection, even with the women who were dealing with issues other than addiction.
      Inside we are all the same. Scared, excited, uncertain, kind.

  1. I will be heading over to the link you provided, I am so appreciative that you took time to write about the weekend. I want in on the next one 🙂

    Anne, every word you write inspires me. Thank you so much, and I’m so glad you had such a wonderful weekend!

    1. Thank you.
      Of course, there were things about the retreat that made me sad. There were a few mother daughter couples and their willingness to try to improve their relationship must my heart and made me jealous, while I was still happy for them.
      I shared that with the group and it helped me to voice my feelings of loss. And to recognize, again, that there is so much power in telling the truth.

  2. Sounds peaceful, relaxing and truly amazing. I din’t have to see you to know that you are glowing. It comed through the words.

  3. Your words – “Scared, excited, uncertain, kind.”

    That’s why yoga is so powerful – “In the absence of clarity take action” we can actually do something with our bodies to reshape our minds.

    Namaste,
    bren

  4. Anne…I love this. I looked it up and saw that the next retreat is already sold out. I love the idea of people coming together in such an undefined, yet healing way. I’m happy for you to have discovered this experience.
    Jenn

  5. You’ve inspired me to create some “mini-retreats” (sounds a lot like self-care too) in my own daily life. We don’t have to be on a retreat to be in touch with our recovery and connect with other people do we?

    1. No. We just need to find those moments to take care of ourselves.

      It is nice to talk to others. Blogging helps with that. Hearing those common fears and hopes really helps me feel more “normal”.

      1. I sometimes feel like this recovery world is a place where I am okay to be vulnerable, or wrong or broken…and not be judged. But then there’s this whole rest of world where I have to be poised and together…where women are destructivly competitive…and I wonder if there’s a way to bring these two worlds together.

      2. My experience is that no one really wants to be competitive. They are all afraid of being found out.
        So I have decided to make the first move.

        On my plan ride home I met a woman who I could have told I was at a yoga retreat. Instead I told her it was a recovery retreat and that I was sober.

        She told me her story of abuse, depression and alcoholic parents.

        She said she was shocked she did as normally she wouldn’t have.

        We are now friends.

        I might occasionally tell someone who is judgemental. If they want to think poorly of me, to hide their own pain, it is their loss. There is freedom in showing our scars.

        This has taken a while to develop. I’m not sure what changed, but I stopped being scared along the way.

  6. Read your post, logged onto the She Recovers website, and see the November retreat is sold out!!! Hope there’ll be more. I’m glad you had a lovely time; it sounds amazing, and you deserve it. Annie x

  7. Sounds great! I’m glad the semicolon tattoo is catching on. It started with people who had depression, suicidal ideation, or self-harming behaviors, and it was a way to say, “I could have ended the story of my life, the way a period ends a sentence. But instead, I chose to continue living, the way a semicolon continues a sentence.”

  8. I can see the glow from what you wrote! Yoga eases my mind and spirit. Recovery is the first time in my life I’ve ever accepted my body. Accepted and loved. Thank you for sharing this. I’ve heard about She Recovers from another blog and it intrigues me. It also reminds me to sign up for more yoga classes–it’s been a whole month since my last class!

  9. this is awesome anne!
    can’t wait to hear more about it.
    I’m not usually one for these types of retreats..i like my solitude, but i just went on a long weekend with another group and it was really good..i surprised myself. It’s once again the surprise in the ways that I have changed, and haven’t caught up to myself again yet! I may gee one of these a try!
    I STILL cannot figure out how to get your blog delivered to my email, but it’s fun to come back and read and catch up too.

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