The Measurement of Time…we mark it on our calendars in the form of deadlines, appointments, meetings, events, special occasions. It’s measured in the memories we make, the pictures we take, the stories we tell. Over this past year I’ve also come to realize that time can also be measured in two very fundamentally different ways: it can be measured in tears and it can be measured in laughter. I’ve also come to realize the extent to which they both equally matter…they both make the memories worth remembering, the pictures worth taking, and the stories worth telling.
Three hundred and sixty five days had passed when I found myself in that spot again…that exact spot where the familiar met the unfamiliar. It was that kind of spot where the setting was the same but the circumstances had changed, the people had changed (I had changed anyway), where experiences had happened (some good, some unfortunate). As I stood there in the quiet of that magical spot, I found myself thinking…I wonder what it will be like this year…
This year was my third year attending the Simply Blossoming retreat and while each year the intention has been to focus on thyself… each year has been proven to be a very different experience for me. On the first trip I found myself swimming in the newness of a situation that was somewhat unfamiliar to me. It was a situation in which I found myself taking a step back, clearing my mind of all things unrelated to being there in that moment. It was a trip that forced me to look inwardly…to look at myself and where I felt I fit in in the grand scheme of this story we call life. That year I found myself outside of the titles I had been branded by those significant people in my life. I learned that there was indeed an extension to ME that existed beyond everyone else in my life and that it was okay to think of myself, to put myself first and to meet my own needs. That was the year I found my footing.
The second year I attended the retreat I found myself in a very different place then where I was the previous year. Instead of trying to discover my sense of self, I looked outwardly to see if I could figure out how I wanted to fit into the world around me. By that time I was already comfortable in my own skin, now it was time to discover how thick my skin really was. It was time to figure out what I wanted to do outside of my daily type casted roles. Trying to step outwardly was very challenging for me mostly because I became so comfortable with what I was doing and had already accepted the preconceived notion that it didn’t matter what I did or how hard I tired I would never achieve what I had always dreamed of achieving. It was easier to sit and wait for things to happen instead of making them happen myself. It was that trip that allowed me to face my fears, to understand them and deal with them and more importantly, to get over them. And I did.
This third year has proven to be an even greater personal experience for me. In that same spot I realized what I was in desperate need of, and what was my life in this moment lacking – Connections. The workshops were, as they have been every year, wonderful and I was able to extract from them the valuable information I knew I would benefit from on a personal level. But this year for me offered up something a bit different. This year was about reconnecting with the women I had grown so close to in the previous years. It was also about making new connections, with different women while in turn fostering the friendships I had already established. That was the piece of my life that I had felt was in desperate need of resuscitation.
I can’t say that my life in any way lacks wonderful female friendships, but there’s something to be said about the whispers and laughter you hear hustling through the branches of tall trees, the stories shared in closed quarters or under the stars on a cold dark night, the sound of voices coming together in unison over the setting of a table or eating a meal together. There was no judgment. There was no criticism. There was no animosity, no envy, no jealousy. Instead, there was listening…pure, open, unadulterated listening. There was sharing…the kind of sharing that expects nothing in return. There was understanding, compassion and trust. But the best part of all…there were a lot of tears and a lot of laughter…the kind that make the memories worth remembering, the pictures worth taking and the stories worth telling…