A Journey of Sisterhood in Avalon Springs
August 6, 2015
We all can use a little reawakening sometimes—a sense of heightened awareness that speaks to the spirit and calls to the light. Although this enlightened spirit is ultimately found within each of us, there is an amplified ignition when we gather to support one another on this journey to feel unity. Asking for help is one of the most powerful callings that we can gift to ourselves. There is so much to gain from the union of the collective—so much wisdom we can receive from our sisters. After all, all women can be seen as sisters. We share profound gifts and stories. This sense of the collective is what brought me to the Spring Awakening Women’s Retreat in Avalon Springs.
A journey of senses uplifted and spread, springing into the essence of our feminine touch; brought together by synchronistic union, we have lit up the energetic force of transcendence. On this journey together, we have formed a vibration of raised energy. We as women have infinite capacity to nourish one another and extend our hearts outward as we heal what we hold inside. To me, the Spring Awakening Women’s retreat served as a symbol of celebration, release and pleasure—facets of our lives that tend to be repressed. Oftentimes we forget to enjoy the practices we engage in. Our teachers, Amber Campion and Tawny Sterios, continued to remind us that most of all, we came to Avalon Springs to enjoy –our bodies, the company of other women, and our very own voices; and this is exactly what we did.
In learning how to give and receive, we played with finding a harmonious relationship between the two. Although it is part of our natural ways to receive, we oftentimes get tangled up in a pattern of overextending our infinite nurturing roles. It is important to find a balanced approach between the two roles so that we do not get depleted. As I listened carefully to each woman’s words and narratives, I found this overarching theme played out. There is a tendency to not believe that we are worthy enough of receiving fully and of feeling completely deserving; so why not come together and completely indulge in healing hot spring waters set between glorious mountains to sing, laugh, cry, dance, and play?
As we engaged in our yoga practice, ate nurturing fresh food, drank cleansing waters, massaged one another, soaked in the sun, created vision boards, and celebrated the New Moon, we created a bond of sisterhood. Moment to moment, we were reminded that our stories are significant and deserve to be heard and paid attention to. We are not weak if we are wounded; we are only more whole because this is what makes us strong. The value of connecting to one another through this lens is crucial in order to remember that we are not alone. I find that we tend to see more beauty and light in the other than experiencing judgment; we find a piece of ourselves in that of another, and if we realize this and let go of our inner critic, we can get closer to expressing ourselves authentically and therefore having genuine relationships. The best we can do to get closer to our truth is practice—practice compassion, openness, and support.
Letting go of what we perceive as holding us back is an essential part of this process. As Amber and Tawny guided us to think of a word that describes the struggles we face, they first encouraged to confront the innermost battle we wish to release. How can we empower one another to move forward, to step into our full power and potential? Through facing, accepting and sharing our burdens, we take hold of our illusions. Raising awareness and confrontation of or biggest fears and obstacles is a crucial part of letting go. We wrote the single most prevalent word on a rock that we exposed to a woman we partnered up with. Seeing my own weight in the eyes of another allowed me to lighten the load as we jointly dared to gain the courage to let go. Through promoting each other’s growth in this activity, we chucked each other’s rocks as we stood at the edge of a steep cliff. Our aerial perspective was all it took to see the light through the dark, to find surrender in our hearts. How powerful it is to stand side by side with a group of women and shout, throw, and jump through our fears—a leap of faith and an act of empowerment.
Through our movement practices, we replayed this notion of confrontation and letting go. Through yoga, Qi-gong, and meditation, we worked and played to find our center and lose the thought patterns that no longer serve us. Amber guided us through this chant: “I am not my body. I am not my mind. I am the divine.” Divine, indeed we are. We elevate the notion that we are move than our bodies and our minds. Saying this chant to myself repeatedly allowed me to access my essence, my core that is made of light and energy. Saying this chant alongside a group of beautiful women infused the room with magic and wonder, the unknowns of this world that fills life with sacred mystery. Releasing stuck energy and utilizing it in positive expressive ways through various healing modalities brings us one step closer to the greatest gifts we can offer. Owning these words instilled my body with ease and even more surrender.
This retreat served as a huge step in the direction of rising to my fullest potential. I asked for empowerment; I received friendship. The encouragement of sisters reassured me that there is so much room to grow and expand beyond our wildest dreams. We are reflections of each other, mirroring layers of lightness and darkness that can be collectively pieced together as one story. Opening ourselves to the harmonious harmonization of our visions allowed us to view each woman as a perfect collection of the divine feminine. To seek support on our paths is a step of courage—to know that we are one with these waters, this land and our sisters is an acceptance of truth.
Photos by Laurie Hobbs & Lotem Porat