‘Tis the season to reflect on the year gone by. In the series of events that shaped my past year, there was one dazzling five-day period that stands out against the rest. I had been dreaming for many years of making the trip to the Denver area for a women’s journal writing retreat hosted by Kay Adams of The Center for Journal Therapy. I earned my certification to teach Journal to the Self, with Kay, through the Center about 8 years ago and always had a wish to work with Kay in person. On June 20, 2011 that dream came true for me.
I was picked up at Denver airport along with three other retreat attendees. We chatted at length on the forty-minute (or so) drive to the Loretto Spiritual Center in Littleton, Colorado, as though we were long-lost friends. First impressions were positive and by the time we arrived at our destination, I was already feeling comfortable with these ladies I had never met before. At the retreat, we met the rest of the ladies who had driven in for the occasion. There were nine of us altogether, ten including Kay. By the time we finished our “opening write” session, I had already experienced compassionate hugs from one of them and validation in many forms from each of the rest. I knew this was going to be a life-changing experience.
Our days were packed with group writing, individual writing and the sharing of both our writing and thoughts. We sang, danced and made art together. We dined together and supported each other. We risked, we opened our hearts and we created.
At the end of the retreat, we were reluctant to travel back to our real lives. We looked at each other with a knowing that even our best friends don’t have of us and we craved more time. As we were departing, one member of the group asked, “Who are you really? What do you go home to?” We had been so wrapped up in our expressive and authentic selves that we hadn’t had time to discuss the other parts of our lives.
Since June, thanks to Skype, I have been fortunate to stay in very close touch with 3 ladies from the retreat. We came together for our writing but we stay together for the support. We consider ourselves a “success group.”
So, ever since Dec. 15th I’ve been too excited to sleep. It is not because I am expecting a jolly ol’ man to slide down my chimney as I sleep on Christmas Eve but rather due to the fact that I am expecting “my girls” to arrive at mid-day on January 7th and last week was our final Skype date to discuss our plans. Each of them comes from a different northern state and I get to host them here in Canada. For me, this is as good as, if not better than, Christmas.