Writing & Retreating
I sat anxiously on the water ferry, slightly annoyed because I knew my prearranged ride was already late, but trying to push past that irritation in favor of the more zen and aligned me I was working towards. I didn’t quite know what that meant yet but I knew I was working towards it.
I got to the dock and waited for a bit in the sweltering Eleuthera sun, still slightly irritated but with the assurance that my mom was only a few minutes away. We drove the gorgeous stretch down to Governor’s Harbour. I looked at the trees pass, my mom made three stops. We arrived in the historic Governor’s Harbour. Streets lined with loyalists cottages and bougainvillea trees.
Truthfully, I didn’t really know what to expect when I signed up for this retreat. I ‘do’ yoga. I first started the practice quite honestly because I was about to turn 30 and thought it would be my last chance to do the splits. It transformed slowly, into a steady habit that grounded me for the day. I began reading more about the ego and less about contortions. I picked up little mantras that made the days a little easier and I could focus less on the static and more on what I found to be important. I ‘do’ yoga but I still consider myself to be a beginner, to be honest, even a fraud for proclaiming I practice. I ‘do’ yoga for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. Sometimes I get distracted by dog hair on the carpet and stop. Sometimes it’s the dirty dishes in the sink or realizing that I only have 45 minutes left to get ready for work. Whatever the reason, I don’t consider myself a ‘yogi’ but I enjoy practicing yoga. I enjoy learning about yoga. I enjoy being around people who get it and that’s why I signed myself up for a 5 days yoga and writing retreat.
I wanted to find a way to be better. That’s all ego talking but it’s the truth. I didn’t set out to be better spiritually. I wanted to be stronger. I wanted to handstand and flip over into a split. I wanted to crow for hours and I wanted to accomplish this in a week.
We settled in, and instantly I was humbled by my company. Mariah Moyle yoga teacher, author, budding botanist, part-time property manager, and full-time dog mommy was our host. She’d assembled a group of women who wanted to further their yoga practice and sharpen their writing skills under one roof and I am so grateful to her for this.
I next met Paulette Gloria Hardwood. It was as if a gust of wind preludes her. She fills the room with so much fresh air anytime she enters it’s truly a gift. Paulette is an author as well, a divorce coach, a doula, a ballerina, and dance instructor, a choreographer, a stand-up comedian a reiki master, a yoga teacher and probably the most interesting person I’d ever met.
Erin descended the staircase last but definitely not least. She was also a yoga teacher, an economist, somewhat of a diplomat and an actual angel on earth with a sharp wit and quick sense of humor. She has the biggest heart and is so giving but also so inspiring and inspired by women empowerment and entrepreneurship.
I was immediately humbled. How did I get here? How was I amongst such leaders and motivators? Again the thoughts of fraud crept into my mind. These women are so accomplished. So in tune with exactly who they are and that to me was so inviting, and comforting and nerve-racking but overall exhilarating. I silenced that thought. I was so ready to absorb everything I could from these women. I wanted to learn all they had to teach. I wanted to soak it all up like a life-sized sponge. I already knew that mentally and emotionally I’d be pushed to a point I’m not used to visiting, but I was ready.
Over the course of 5 days we bonded. We fellowshipped. We talked about our families and relationships, both past and current. We guided and were guides. There was such an exchange of energy, and positivity and ideas. I ate every second up. I found myself quiet, very often, staring at each woman I’m complete awe as they shared their stories and ideas.
This is what imagined a yoga retreat but perhaps not what I imagined at all. I had the idea of the most extreme version of hippies chanting and refusing to drink wine or eat ice cream. I thought we’d eat radishes and berries. What I got instead was a group of women willing to help me grow, willing to pause their practice to help me with my inversions, willing to brainstorm with me and provide ideas to help my writing grow. What I received and perhaps what I was ultimately looking for was sisterhood in a community I’m still very new to.
Perhaps, at the end of the 5 days, I wasn’t able to handstand into a split but perhaps, that’s the whole point. The goal was never the split, it’s everything you learn on the way down into it.