One year ago today I was nearing the end of a week that has completely changed my path. I was too overcome with emotion, too exhausted from the internal work I had done, to write about it then. But having just spent another beautiful week at my second Sacred Pregnancy retreat, one year later, the words must finally come out.
When I first heard about the Sacred Pregnancy movement I had come across a post in the DC Doula yahoo group from a doula who had attended a workshop in Ojai, CA. As I read about her experience I was instantly drawn in and quickly jumped over to Amazon.com to purchase the Sacred Pregnancy book by Anni Daulter. It arrived the next day and I spent that weekend reading it cover to cover, several times! From the deeply rich and gorgeous photos to the words that lept off the pages and into my heart, I loved the book intensely and the connection was undeniable.
I didn't waste any time and signed up as soon as I found out that there was a workshop being held in Virginia only a few months later. The Gore, Virginia Sacred Pregnancy Instructor Workshop in March of 2013 was the first time I had ever attended a retreat of any kind. It was the first time I had sat in a circle of sisters, gathered with women from all walks of life, and shared space in that way. It was beautiful and from the moment arrived I knew that my heart was safe in that space, with those amazing women.
The workshop was so much more of a deeply personal experience than I had envisioned, so much more than learning how to lead Sacred Pregnancy classes. In order to help women on their journey we ourselves had to go on our own journey. Each days activity encouraged connection, introspection, self discovery and realizations. I thought that my heart had been called to attend this workshop but what I learned was that my heart had been the one calling me to it, and that it had been for a long long time. Now that I had found it I dug deep. I went to all the scary places inside myself and found the most amazing thing there...me!! Not the me that I had known, but the me that had been waiting to be set free.
In allowing those precious women to support and hold me, I learned how to hold space for other women so that they could walk their true path as well. I made heart connections that will stay with me forever and even found a beautiful new friend who I still talk to almost every day (I love you Christa West)!
I left the workshop with all of the tools I needed to bring Sacred Pregnancy back to my community and so excited to share my experience with others. But first I had a lot of work to do, I had to speak my truth and walk the path that my heart could no longer deny. I had to get my world right first and truly honor the spirit of the Sacred Pregnancy movement by allowing my authentic voice to be heard, which isn't always easy...or popular. In fact it has downright sucked at times but the harder it is, the closer I am to getting to where I know I need to be.
And then one day several months ago I woke up and the sun was shining again. I had let go of all that had held me back and all that was left was love and joy. I remember a friend saying to me "love wins" and thinking that for the first time my heart could agree. It's not that things suddenly became perfect, it just became authentic and pure. I knew I still had work to do (and will forever) but I realized that I was now on that path I had seen for myself a year ago and I was ready for more. I knew it was time to attend another SP retreat!
When I contacted Anni about attending the Pacific Palisades, CA retreat scheduled for earlier this month I knew I was in for a deeply meaningful experience. I never could have imagined how good it would feel to go through the journey again, only this time at a completely different place in my life. From the moment I opened the door to the cottage overlooking the ocean, my senses were overcome with joyous energy. Anni and the other women I would come to call my sisters were sitting in a big beautiful open room, full of colorful tapestries and delicious scents. They greeted me with happy smiles and warm hugs and my heart SANG. We gathered in circle that morning and as we passed the goddess around and introduced ourselves I could feel the amazing women that had chosen to be there were creating a blissfully intimate experience that surpassed my hopes.
I set my intention each morning to enter the circle each with an open heart and open mind and to be fully present in the experience. I welcomed each woman into my heart and felt them open their hearts to me. Through art, meditation, food, song, and even dance, we created connection and an unbreakable sisterhood. I discovered another fear that needed release (into the ocean...see photo) and pushed the boundaries of my comfort zone by taking risks and allowing myself to be vulnerable. I had learned from last time that to truly support others in their ever changing journey, I had to continue to allow myself to go there honestly and deeply.
I am bursting with energy and excitement about what this next chapter will bring. I see myself at as many future retreats as possible and set the intention daily to work hard enough to one day become a part of leading these workshops so that I can bring this sisterhood to every possible corner of the world!
And to you Anni, it's still hard to find the words to adequately thank you. You inspire me every day with this profound work that you do and I am so blessed to know you and to have you in my tribe. I am so grateful to be a part of this movement you work TIRELESSLY to create and nurture and I promise to honor the spirit of your work in all that I do. This profound work that you have brought to the world has changed my life in ways that I never imagined possible and I thank you thank you thank you. I love you!