BLOSSOM: A Reflection on the Spring Equinox Retreat
By Stephanie Warner Jenkins
Even though it’s summer, I find myself thinking back to spring. More specifically, I am remembering the beautiful energy that unfurled in the midst of this year’s first annual Spring Equinox retreat titled “Blossom.”
Blossom. A word that embodies the energy, promise and beauty inherit in the season of spring. As I recall the profound sense of community that unfolded in that sacred circle of women, it is clear that this event truly lived up to its name.
There are just some moments in life where the truth of the goodness and beauty of what is strikes deep, and suddenly, for a brief moment, your eyes are opened to see how grand and glorious this life really is. I’m sure you’ve all had moments like this. The Spring Equinox retreat was one of those for me.
Twenty-five diverse and dynamic women, most of them strangers to one another, set aside the day to attend the retreat as a way to notice and encourage the blossoming of our own souls through discussion, journaling, movement, meditation, art and planting.
We explored the idea of seasons in our own lives, and specifically looked at the various seasons of the female life-cycle as well as the unique blessings and challenges inherent in each one. Having women in attendance from the ages 15 to 70+ provided a wealth of experience and insight that made for dynamic discussion.
And although the practices and content were certainly meaningful, it was the surprising depth of community that has my heart still feeling warm as I remember the event.
As a co-leader of the retreat, I was tremendously blessed to witness the authenticity and vulnerability with which this group of women engaged. Each woman came with an open heart ready to both give and receive. The energy of the group was vibrant and enlivening. There was laughter and tears, sharing and silence. And with each passing minute, it seemed to me that every heart was opening wider. Each woman was finding her voice, her place in the circle, and the power that comes from sharing even just a small slice our journey with one another.
Even though we each arrived to the retreat as individuals, by the end of our time together, we all left feeling connected to a larger community, a sisterhood.
I wasn’t the only one to sense this. Here are what a few participants had to share about the retreat:
“The retreat provided a beautiful sense of community. Even not knowing each other I felt very connected. Most importantly, I take away the knowledge that we, as women, share so very much. And we can support and encourage each other in some kind of bonding that I feel is exclusive to women.”
“There are always sisters around me that are experiencing similar and different walks and I can both glean from them and also give to them. We are all connected. Rituals help us stay that way, traditions, gatherings…things that women make happen. I will take away STRENGTH IN MY WOMANHOOD.”
“Women together are a powerful force.”
As the retreat came to a close, we circled together under an old and gnarled pepper tree in the glow of sunset. We spoke words of blessing over ourselves and one another. We anointed ourselves with sweet orange oil, and deep in our hearts, we felt the warmth and the wonder of community. Someone whispered to me with a secret smile, “it feels like we are all sisters.”
And indeed, I think we each knew in that moment that we are all sisters; the time together had simply revealed the deep truth of our own connectedness in a fresh and vibrant way.
As I think about the magic and miracle of that moment, I am excited to see what other beauty emerges from the vision of Alive and Well Women.
In what ways have you sensed this deep sense of community in your own life?
For more about Stephanie, please see her bio on our team page.