I went on a 3 day women's spiritual retreat this past weekend and came home filled. Filled with gratitude for what is, filled with gratitude for what I had to go through to get to this place, and filled with gratitude that the women I met are seeing and believing that hope is real. Change is possible. The kind of change that is inevitable when we look at our past and shake our heads and say ...No, not any more! Our past does not have to be our future. I think our world is saying that now too, don't you?
This retreat is always held in the dark days of January when the frenzy of the December holidays is put to rest and when, at times, the cold dark seems to be endless. Each of us has her own limit of Enough of this! Let the light of spring start showing up! And then we notice.
No, the days are not as short as they were at the close of the year. We realize that the dawn has come earlier, and there is that little bit of extra sunlight as we make dinner or get ready to leave work. Almost imperceptibly the season is changing and we, like our formothers, know that the shift continues even as our own bodies shift monthly and remind us of the renewal of life.
At the end of our retreat, one of the women organizers had each of us look under our chair. Some who had tags received little surprise gifts and some had little stickers and others just had chairs! One of the women who was a bit disappointed to have 'just a sticker' said to me (who had a chair!) Well here - you can have it! She stuck it on the sleeve of my sweatshirt and I proudly wore the little lion. Other women who saw me said Do you know you have a sticker on your sleeve? Yes, I do...do you want to hear me roar?!?!? I joked.
But on the way home, I thought of the words that came to me about that sticker as I drove through the beautiful farmland of Maryland. Lionhearted. Heart on my sleeve. Simba Jike - the name given to the heroine of a novel I'd just read. It was enough confirmation for me that I'm in the right place, I am who I am, a woman who is an open book, who wears her heart on her sleeve, and who wants to love fiercely but doesn't roar enough - yet.
I felt that this retreat was - as they always are - a time apart that fit so perfectly with our current world situation. When I listened to the other women, spoke with them, danced near them and with them, cried my own tears at their pain or their joy, I knew deep in my soul how truly We Are One. It's not just a political slogan for me who comes from so many years in politics. It's a core belief, a knowing. I write this today so that I can remember what I feel, that I can be reminded of what I truly believe when I get mired in the minutia of life, as I know I will, and as I know you will. I love knowing that there are others out in the blogosphere both near and far who 'get it'.
You are pieces of my life that I treasure and you are loved, even if I haven't 'met' you yet. So Thank you! for helping me to roar!
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the last of the baklava in 2011
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