The power of community is strong. The power of women in community is very strong. I had the privilege to plan a weekend for some amazing women recently. I tried to plan for everything. I wanted them to feel safe and pampered and encourage them to be reflective. To take time out to be mindful and let this weekend be more than a “girls weekend”, but truly a restorative event. I planned meditation experiences, writing prompts, something crafty to do with our hands, restorative yoga etc. And then I released it to be whatever it was going to be. The goal was to provide these women what they needed. You know what they needed most? To talk and to be heard. To discuss old hurts and new worries. To share guidance, love and support for each other. It was moving to watch strangers connect so quickly.
I’ve been attending events through the “Brainstorm Experience” sponsored by the Avielle foundation. Their purpose is to change “the way we think about brain health and illness, prevent violence, and build compassion”, “connect science to the everyday citizen through community engagement and education” to “educate, connect, inspire, and empower groups and individuals to practice and develop protective factors that foster a deep sense of compassion.” The speakers, like Sally Kohn on our physical reaction to anything foreign, Elizabeth Lesser on on the mind body relationship, Brene Brown on taking communication and compassion into the workplace.
I created ZenDitty to offer things I wanted to offer in person through a retreat experience. I wanted to give people a “pause” in their life to turn inward and identify personal truths. I wanted this to relieve stress and help to focus priorities to live a fuller and richer life. I hope I accomplished some of that this past weekend with my first retreat, but what I didn’t expect was the building of a new community and the understanding and compassion they all carry around with them now as a result of it. You see, when we share in another’s story we are no longer ignorant of it and when we go back into the world we carry that new compassion with us. By sharing more compassion we shine our lights a little brighter. By shining our lights a little brighter we help to distinguish a bit of the darkness around us. I knew bringing women together in community would have good results for them, but I think the brainstorm experience for teaching me that it’s impact is far greater.
We all have different backgrounds, different stories to share. To share and receive these things is powerful in itself and we don’t always have the opportunity to do so. To be able to debate tough topics with respect and kindness truly leads us to a better place. Let’s spread that!
Restorative Retreat, March 2019
I think one of the most important things in our lives is the connections we make with one another. They help us to understand more about the world, about how people think and view things differently, and even help us to understand ourselves.
Community is always a theme with me!