Everyone who showed up for Rise was welcoming, kind, genuine, respectful, warm sincere and wanting to truly connect, learn and share with the focused intention to help themselves and others. There was no space for judgement of any kind, only seeing into and holding space for collective worth, struggles, and brightness.
My time at Rise started with a sentiment of appreciation. Appreciation for time away from the rigors of the everyday. Appreciation for the opportunity to explore something new. Appreciation for sunshine. Appreciation for the steps I took to allow myself to be at Rise and to assure my family that it would be ok for them too. Appreciation for my team at home continuing our work. Appreciation for the other women who showed up despite the announcement of a power outage. Appreciation for all of the hard work that goes into planning something like this and the disappointing possibility that this work might not reach it’s full potential due to the loss of power. Appreciation for the work behind the scenes to let the weekend happen as planned. And finally, relief that the weekend could go on as planned.
From appreciation to vulnerability. Rachel and Tami wasted no time on the path to opening hearts. Warm up yoga led to learning a new dance to the Rise theme song, “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman. While a bit uncomfortable for a dyslexic dancer like me, the movement was light, fun, energized, exciting, and safe. Everyone was doing something new. Everyone was vulnerable. Everyone was in it together. I even witnessed my mom doing her best with something very outside of her comfort zone and smiling. It was comforting for me to see my mom in this way. I know I will need to do things outside my comfort zone for my daughter and it was a nice moment to see my mom paving the way for me. At the end of the song, I could be in the words “this is me” with a little more confidence than when I arrived.
Onto a Women’s Circle workshop for a little more vulnerability. Paige led us through a way to share safely and to listen wholly. I felt the other women holding space for me and I felt supportive and helpful to them at the same time. I felt acknowledged, worthy, seen and loved by a group of complete strangers who quickly no longer felt like strangers.
At the bonfire that evening, there continued to be safety in vulnerability. The sharing continued. I observed the feeling that not only was I starting to stand more confidently in who I am but others were starting to see this as me too. The sharing and shedding of things that hold us back, the collective experience of the things that hold us back gave way to more fully opened hearts and an ease in connecting with others for the remainder of the weekend.
On Saturday, my day started with Dannah, a psychic guidance and intuitive counselor. Dannah was warm, friendly and nurturing. During our brief meeting, she immediately honed in on an important fact about my household growing up. We spent a lot of time tiptoeing around my Dad and his bouts with ADHD. We talked about how I have been conditioned to protect myself as a result of that experience but also how I am no longer in that position and no longer need to tiptoe in the way I once did. I released fear in this acknowledgement. We also talked about my children and from this, I felt a new and better way to appreciate their unique qualities and to support their individuality. When I came home from Rise and saw my daughter, I saw something different light and energy in her than I was able to see before.
Following the reading, I went to a hypnosis meditation session with Morgan. In the workshop, we described to a partner the qualities we want to see in ourselves. I said I want to be feel free, light, relaxed, flowing, bouncy and smooth. She looked at me with so much sincerity and said “when I look at you, I already see those things.” I was stunned in that moment that she could see in me what I hadn’t been able to see. After a relaxation exercise, I saw these things in myself too. Through the hypnosis meditation, I saw an image of myself when I was a child. I saw a silly, free spirited, fun loving girl. I was a little girl dressed in a favorite green bathing suit with sunglasses posing on a beach towel on my grandmother’s front lawn. I saw me. I saw my daughter. I cried. Again, I released something through this. I knew in that moment that I could be that free spirited confident, little red head again and I knew that I could love these qualities in my four year old daughter now and forever. I talked to Morgan after the workshop and explained some chronic pain that I have had in my sciatic for a long time and how I feel this is connected to an emotion. She called it a memory. Since I’ve returned from Rise, the pain in my sciatic has lessened greatly.
Finally, it was lunch! At this meal, I was determined to sit with and meet someone new. I sat where the spirit moved me to sit. I met Erin. Erin was the instructor for the mindful parenting workshop. As we talked, we found so much common ground and a shared mentor. The excitement grew as we uncovered a business opportunity that would benefit both of us. We both lit up as we discovered this new opportunity awaiting us. It seemed divine.
After lunch, it was time to play. I attended Stacy’s Pleasure Principles workshop. I left feeling more empowered about sex as fun. I shed more negative imprints and could see a path towards having more fun.
Rachel’s Kettlebell Kundalini was next. I loved the powerful, sweeping movements of this exercise. I loved the feeling of strength and power that sealed in all that had just shifted in me.
As Saturday came to a close, my sentiments again turned to appreciation. I almost cried when Tami thanked the camp chefs for the delicious, healthy food they prepared over the weekend. The pride of these men was palpable. Their creativity recognized. The meals prepared were out of the comfort zone but the rose to the occasion and one could witness the impact of rise outside of the women who attended the event.
After dinner, the closing ceremony was moving, touching and filled with thoughtful detail. Sitting around the Mandala, I again felt appreciation. Appreciation for all of the women who came and shared and accepted me. I felt appreciation for the detail and thought that went into the planning and appreciation for the experience of these few short days. I felt appreciation for the support of my mom and that I didn’t need to show up alone.
Again the group danced to “This is Me”. This time I felt joy and awe admiring the women around me. The dancing continued. I danced resisting what would have normally held me back. I let that go and I danced for me and observed the exquisite beauty in others.
I am truly grateful for this lovely, sweet time.