The Power of Being Seen: What Rise Weekend Gave to My Mother & Me

I have been a daughter since the day I was born; and the day I was born, my mother became a mother


I have been a daughter since the day I was born; and the day I was born, my mother became a mother.  The bond between a mother and a daughter transforms throughout the lifespan. First the mother is the protector, the nourisher.  Then the mother becomes the shepherd, guiding the daughter through the most difficult, and most wonderful experiences in their life.  This guiding and shepherding continues on for as long as the daughter will allow. From navigating first friendships in elementary school, to first romantic relationships, to higher education, employment, marriage and so on.  Few are as lucky as my mother and I, because for my mother and I, we also became the best of friends.

My mother has always been in my corner.  My biggest supporter, my biggest advocate, and the one who knows many of the inter-workings of my brain, simply because we share so many traits.  Overly organized, compartmentalized, rational, and deeply empathic are some traits that we have always shared. The fact that no one truly understands us in the way that we understand each other has always lead us back to each other even after moving 285 miles apart.  Even after 25 years as mother and daughter, spending a weekend at Rise opened my eyes to new things that I learned about myself, and my mother that I had never seen before.

For us, Rise was a chance to recharge and reboot.  We entered the weekend looking forward to a retreat, a getaway that each of us so desperately needed; me from my incredibly emotionally and physically taxing career and her from her work-from-home life.  We looked forward to recharging and rebooting the batteries that power us through our day to day. My mom looked for workshops that connected her to her body and it’s incredible potential, while I worked to connect my mind and body in order to find balance and equilibrium.  Little did we know that as we experienced both workshops together and separately, that both of us would gain a new pride and acceptance in our bodies’ potential. We moved in ways that were both familiar and foreign, gaining new awareness of our inner-strength and how it manifests when women join together. Our evening consisted of retreating to our cottage to talk about our day and take in all of the other surprises I had planned for us throughout the weekend; coloring books, face masks, etc.  We learned that each of us had gained something different from each of our workshops but that the overarching theme was the same: YOU ARE ENOUGH.

We both prefer to fade into the background.  We live in our heads, constantly worrying about how others perceive our presence.  We scrutinize, logicize, rationalize until our anxiety kicks in. Neither of us knew what effect the large group experiences would have on our self-worth and our recognition of each other. Rise made each of us the star of our own experience.  In my mother’s words “Someone else saw something in me that I needed to see again”. I saw my mother forming lasting relationships with women she had just met (something that I don’t often see my mom relax enough to do) and my mother noticed me doing the same.  We each saw each other in a new light, able to branch out from the comfort of our own minds, and find ourselves in this awe-inspiring group of welcoming women.

Overall, what Rise gave us both was a chance to exist together, a chance to exist separately and a chance to be SEEN for who we each were as a mother, daughter and women.  We dripped in sweat through workouts, we took cleansing breaths in yoga, we talked each other’s ear off, and sat in silence just the same; but what rang true was that we were immersed in an experience that neither one of us will forget for the rest of our time as mother and daughter.  An experience that pushed our limits but supported and nurtured our strengths just the same. For that I am forever grateful.


About the Author: Lauren Cunkelman MA, R-DMT is a dance/movement therapist, mental health professional and most importantly a daughter and friend.  She is passionate about seeing all aspects of a person’s health and utilizing methods that connect the mind and body. Lauren can’t wait to return to the Weekend Getaway this year with her mother!