I can’t believe it has already been two weeks since the Fox Pen Retreat! Evan Watson, the owner of Flow Into Yoga and I have been planning this weekend for right at a year! I have wanted for days to put into words the growth and friendship that came out of the four days the 11 of us spent together in South Georgia.
Well, the 11 of us, some mosquitos, grasshoppers, butterflies, squirrels, owls, a scorpion (!!), and even a lone little snake that found its way into the circle. Let’s not get it twisted. While I enjoy nature and being outside in this gorgeous early fall weather, I fully respect that I have my dance space…and all the creepy crawlies have theirs. I much prefer that never the twain shall meet. Fortunately, our little friends were very polite bystanders who just wanted to check things out and proceed on their merry way with minimal fanfare. That is, except for the chickens. They had free rein and made it clear that we were guests in their home. They observed yoga, contributed to conversations, and even gathered around the bar with us in the evening.
Food. Food. F.O.O.D. Oysters, fish fry, 24-hour smoked BBQ, grilled wings, Mezza plate style lunch, tzatziki, enchiladas, garden salads, fresh herbs, nacho bar, yogurt/granola/berries, fresh venison sausage, bacon, homemade pancakes…and bananas. SO many bananas. (Note to self: you do not need as many bananas as you think you do.) The food was plentiful, hearty, and family-style. Which was a perfect fit with the hand-built cabins and expansive wooded Fox Pen property we roamed during our stay. Gorgeous pines, oak trees, and fan palms as far as the eye could see during the day, and a sky glittering with stars you can only see in the country at night were our surroundings for the weekend. It was simply a magical place in nearly every sense of the word.
While the accommodations and landscape were a haven all on their own. Another haven formed as the 11 of us came together. Each in different stages of life. Each with our own reasons for taking the time to invest in ourselves for the weekend. Each with our own superpowers and insecurities. And yet, within a few hours, someone said, “How did I JUST meet you?" We all agreed it seemed we had known each other long before that first celebratory glass of champagne Thursday evening. A quote came to mind over the following days and into the next week. “What if we’re all the same, in different kinds of ways?” It’s a familiar For King and Country lyric that has hit so differently these last two weeks.
The yoga, nature, and thought-work sessions were all a flow of activities and meditations around the themes of arrival, unpacking, discovery, and celebration. We spent time learning how to mentally clear our minds, shift perspective, and celebrate ourselves. All while we were physically strengthening our balance, releasing stress from the body, inviting rest, and openly noticing and understanding the beauty around us. The synergy between mind, body, and spirit was palpable. The vulnerability of everyone in our new circle added to the warmth of acceptance and worth. I genuinely could not have asked for more.
But… More is exactly what I received.
Here is what I learned from this group of beautiful people. We ALL have a light to share. I know we say that often, and we certainly have no problem believing it about others. I feel, however, that we dismiss the gravity of this truth in our own lives. As the coordinator of a retreat, you would expect that one would have something to share. Some reason, tool, or truth they want to impart throughout a weekend such as this. Evan and I did. We were prepared and intentional. We wanted to create a safe, family-style circle and pour ourselves into providing growth, rest, and play for those who chose to trust us with their time.
Little did I know how much MY spirit would be filled by the
willingness of each person there to trust the rest of us with their light.
During our conversations, we shared stories about health, blocks concerning worthiness, self-love disguised as criticism, fear and the choke-hold it can have on our joy. How large a role busyness plays in our ability to fully understand ourselves and what we truly need and want from our present and future selves. Each experience shared sparked gratitude and brought with it an overwhelming feeling of love for every person in the circle. Including myself.
Sometimes after an event, I feel depleted and loneliness has a way of creeping up on me as the dust settles. Not this time. Anytime I began to feel frustrated because I didn’t have the option to sleep uninterrupted for DAYS, I would remember a comment, moment, or hug from the weekend and a rush of joy would flood my person… head to toe.
The last night we each shared something from the weekend for which we were grateful. Bevin, our ray of pure sunshine, listed qualities that she felt embodied each one of us. Assigning one phrase she would take home to remember the connections made that weekend. Here are a few:
Adventurous. Strong. Leader.
Creative. Conqueror. Example to all.
Courageous. Grounded. Calming. Inspiring.
Wisdom. Ball of light. Strength.
And to add one of my own: Whole. We were 11 beautiful, growing, imperfect, seeking, kind, strong, fearful, loving… WHOLE human beings. All unique…and yet, so much the same in different kinds of ways.
How can you be surrounded by the embodiment of all of that and NOT walk away a little stronger, wiser, and more full than you arrived? I am so proud to have been a part of this incredible weekend and cannot wait for the next one. I am thinking… Blue Ridge Mountains… in the Spring? All of that planning will come in time, but for now, I think I will ride the Fox Pen Retreat magical wave just a bit longer.
Want to know more about Flow Into Yoga, a traveling yoga venture, and its effervescent owner, Evan Watson? You do... trust me. So, here you go:
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This blog is a personal collection of my thoughts, wins, losses, memories, and crossroad moments. Almost all of which were hashed out around my kitchen counter and in my journals. If any of it resonates with you and you are ready to empower your inner badass and move into your Next with confidence, I can help. It’s time… Click the link and Let’s chat.