I got my sparkle back in Manzanita, Oregon.
It is an extraordinary group of women from all over the country. We are all artists. We are mostly bloggers. We are all different, but share a few important things in common: A commitment to authenticity, growth, and telling our stories. We are all on a journey toward a deep knowing of who we are, of recognizing our gifts, of bringing our own special kind of medicine to the world.
The first year we met was last year and we were a little unsure. Many of us didn’t know each other and we arrived with our worries as well as a lot of hope and faith in our hearts. Throw 13 women in the same room and your 7th grade stuff is bound to come up, right? Are they going to like me? Do I have anything to offer? They’re all so pretty. Do I even belong here?
But there is a culture of kindness, generosity, and support that is paramount in this circle. We really, really adore and respect each other. That said, it was still a vulnerable act for each of us to come. This year was like a big exhale. We didn’t bring lots of gifts, we didn’t talk about work, we didn’t have to prove anything or being anything special. We just brought ourselves and some really good chocolate.
Maybe it was the singing along really loud to Lionel Richie, or the gin and tonics I had on Saturday night. Or maybe it happened while Kelly Rae and I did the pony dance (slapping our own behinds) and the running man in the living room. Maybe it was all the love and friendship in the room. But there were moments when I felt like I was really, truly coming alive, waking up pieces of myself that have been alseep for a very long time.
I laughed a lot. I cracked myself up. I felt like me.
I called Matt that night and gushed to him into the phone. “Matt, I’m having so much fun, and I’m being so funny.” I could feel his smile on the other end of the line. “You deserve every bit of that fun!” While still in Oregon, I got a call from an old friend and excitedly told her how much fun I was having too. “When was the last time I was lighthearted?” She didn’t skip a beat. “Since right before you went through infertility.”
That was five years ago.
We have probably all heard about Jill Bolte Taylor and her Stroke of Insight, right? I have thought of her work and story a lot and how she says that different thoughts create grooves in our mind. The more we think those same thoughts, the deeper the grooves become. After her stroke, she was able to consciously choose which thoughts she wanted to put back in the mix. If they didn’t make her feel good, they didn’t make the cut. She encourages us to do the same. Certain thoughts and ways of being are habit and we can choose to reinforce them or not.
This weekend awakened visceral memories for me of times when I felt truly happy, truly alive, light and free. It was like I was awakening those synapses again and inviting them to fire away. We want more of you! Welcome to my world! I feel more balanced as a result. My intensity is still there, my uptightness, my attraction to the dark, but I feel as if I widened my range to include more joy and laughter too. It has been profound and healing.
There is more to share and lots more photos, but I will begin here, in case anyone else is in needing of finding a lost sparkle. If I had known I had lost it, I would have prayed for it. If I had known where to find it, I would have hightailed it there fast. Sometimes it sneaks up on you though, in the midst of shaking your booty to a song called Low, in the most raucous kind of fun.
P.S. If you are inspired by this idea and longing for a community for yourself, I encourage you to extend an invitation to some people in your circle. You can start small and see where it goes… All you need are a few like-minded souls who are hungry to connect, support and celebrate with you. It really is magic.
It could be anything from a meetup in your city to a full on travel adventure. Like Kelly Rae said on her blog today, sometimes we need to create the kind of times we’re longing for. For any of you taking the Mondo Beyondo course, this might be a great Mondo Beyondo dream to put on your list!