"Your love keeps liftin' me higher": A Sacred Weekend of Sisterhood

While I'm no J. Alfred Prufrock measuring my life in coffee spoons, I do have a small obsession with the passage of time. Dates always stand out for me, and this weekend brought a whole stream of numbers and time to the fore.

One year ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease and kicked gluten to the curb (along with my two-month stint on okcupid).

Eight months ago, I recognized that I couldn't keep living the way I'd been and adopted 13 resolutions that would start me on a path of living a more fulfilled life.

Four months ago, I relinquished my disdain for yoga pants and the women who wear them and took a game-changing free class at Athleta on Newbury Street the night before my first endoscopy. And another one. And another one.

Three months ago, after continuing to take advantage of free classes at Athleta on Newbury Street, I eventually ended up at a Saturday morning one with a very special teacher named Catherine. Her smile was exceptionally contagious and her real-talk approach of "no 'yoga face'"totally resonated with a beginner like me, surrounded by serious people in yoga classes and desperately trying not to take yoga so seriously. She radiated confidence, presence, and enlightenment without the aloofness of your stereotypical yoga teacher. Some unknowable force allowed me to resist my urge to be intimidated by all her beauty and find the conviction and courage to talk to her after the class and within the week, I hired her as a life coach. Within days of my first session with her, I attended this curious and wondrous gathering she runs called a women's circle, which I would write about here on this blog.

Not knowing what the next three months would bring, I also signed up for a yoga retreat in New Hampshire that would also be led by Catherine. Much like the women's circle, I had no idea what I was getting into signing up to join this retreat. But the space at Dragonfly Yoga Barn looked beautiful and I hoped that by the time I showed up there I'd actually know what I was doing on my mat--and better yet, what I was doing with my life.

August 23rd finally arrived, and in both cases--yoga and greater purpose--I had actually made some progress. It all kinda snuck up on me in a melee of little revelations, big conversations, and constant unrolling and re-rolling of yoga mats. And I came into the weekend fearing that somehow being around thirteen other women in close quarters would somehow throw it all into jeopardy (blame it on watching reruns of 'America's Next Top Model'). What ran through my head on the drive up and in the first hours was some combination of, "You don't deserve to be here," "No one is going to love you, let alone like you, in this group" "This is an expensive, illogical, and pointless use of my time," and "3 days isn't going to heal everything that's still wrong with you."

The only one of those statements that was even somewhat correct was the last one. The truth of that final statement is more like, "3 days isn't enough to heal everything that needs healing, but it's a remarkable start."

Part of me feels that sharing anything about what happened at Dragonfly would rob the experience of all its magic while another part of me wants to sing about every moment from the top of my lungs so every woman I know can hear about how glorious a time it was and dare to dive into a similar experience of sisterhood.

As it is in these situations, there's a balance that needs to be found. Part of the experience needs to stay there, in Sandwich, NH, just where it happened, but not for fear of losing the magic. After all the magic is being carried in each of the fourteen of us, aged between 17 and 60, hailing from coast to coast, who carried--and left behind--all sorts of baggage, shared countless stories, imparted incredible wisdom, and brought our chosen soul qualities into our shared space: embracing change, openness, open-heartedness, open/love, love, resilience, honesty, truth, compassion, forgiveness, presence, sweetness, acceptance (in case you weren't there and you had wondered, I chose freedom). The real work is ahead--bringing all that we learned in the circle, in the barn, at the dinner table, in the darkness, and in the light back out into our lives, which are unquestionably connected.

I remain incredulous that these women, in as little as two days, have come to know me more deeply than some of my closest friends, than people I've known for years. I've spent the afternoon and evening trying to analyze how this is possible, but I'm going to surrender to this one to the universe and in the spirit of acceptance, resist the urge to spend the rest of this post parsing events and interactions and embrace the beauty of the weekend without a magnifying glass.

How miraculous that, in under 48 hours of greetings, chanting, hugs, tears, giggling, hot-tubbing, hiking, dancing, hand-holding, yoga-posing, and--of course--singing, this only child came back to Boston with a tribe of thirteen sisters.

If I could sing you all one more song tonight, it would be this.

Please remember every day and until next time:  You are beautiful. You are amazing. You are loved.

Thank you for everything so far and everything to come.