Finding the Rock Beneath Me
Our Tide Risers retreat this past weekend focused our attention on the resources we can call upon when we need strength — strength for decision-making, for challenging conversations, and for the major and minor life choices that impact us for years to come.
In a magical, waterside nature preserve far from anywhere, we had the opportunity to really step outside of ourselves and call upon a little bit of useful perspective. Here are some of the things we discovered:
1. We grow from challenges.
We had a sunrise yoga class led by Regina from Wolf Medicine on the expansive porch of a gorgeous lodge overlooking the water. Regina took us through a series of poses working on the root, sacral, and throat chakras, representing connection and accepting others and new experiences; confidence and ability to be in control of our lives; and ability to communicate. Regina teaches a beautiful, joyful practice, and yet, I found this one to be particularly challenging, having just rolled out of bed and skimped on morning coffee. While I was struggling to keep my arms over my head in a position that happens to be rather difficult for me, Regina reminded us that when things get hard, that’s when the growth happens.
2. We are stronger together.
In our first-ever outdoor UnstickHer session, we talked about strength in decision-making, and when we have been able to find the power to make difficult choices in our lives. I was touched as many Tide Risers openly shared some really personal and difficult episodes. It felt to me that at this point in our Tide Risers journey, we have developed a community of trust and support. It reminded me that one place we can find strength is within one another.
3. We are surrounded by healing and strengthening powers.
Vanessa Chakour, former pro-boxer, herbalist, and founder of a martial art form called Sacred Warrior, introduced us to medicinal plants that were growing wild at our retreat center. Turns out all this time, without knowing it, I have been stepping on plants that provide a natural resource for healing and strength. One that many of us were taken by was Cinquefoil, an herb believed to give us the power of eloquent asks, ensuring that favors are usually granted (in addition to its health benefits). A few of us who serve as fundraisers for nonprofits pocketed a bit of Cinquefoil thinking, well, this can’t hurt!
4. We can be tremendously diverse and yet share so much.
The afternoon gave me the opportunity to meet for 30-minute, one-one-one coaching sessions with each Tide Risers member in attendance. The brevity of these meetings was helpful in keeping our work efficient and to the point. Again, I was struck with the ability of our members to allow themselves to be vulnerable and to be open to new challenges and different perspectives. We are a tremendously diverse group, each of us in various stages of development of our own projects and ventures. As women working in mission-driven fields, however, we share so many commonalities. We are stronger when we open our minds to the diversity that surrounds us, exploring our differences, and celebrating our commonalities.
5. Relaxation enables us to center and focus on the essential.
Some of our members had the opportunity to go right from their coaching session with me into Abhyanga massages with Hilary Clark, founder of Citrine Pilates and Wellness. This style of massage detoxifies with herbal oils to restore the flow of energy in your body and is followed by a warm, ginger decoction to relieve stress and lower back discomfort. Suffice it to say we had some very relaxed people by dinner time. This level of relaxation enables us to find our center and focus on the things that are truly important to us. So many of us are pulled in many different directions, leading us to be scattered and frantic in our approach to our work. Focusing on what is truly essential becomes possible when we relax and center.
6. For best results, just add delicious and nutritious food.
Speaking of dinner, those of you who know me well know that I don’t mess around when it comes to food. Meals have to be frequent and of high quality, always. So, we brought along with us Ame Gilbert, chef and artist, who cooked for us the whole weekend. We had goat cheese brandy-soaked fig quiche, carrot ginger soup, ham and fig jam on buckwheat baguette, braised boneless chicken thighs with scallion dumplings, lemon mousse with fresh berries and more… It was divine.
7. We can conjure strength when we need it.
While this was all great, Sunday morning was my favorite part. We took a hike to the Boulder Field, which is an 18-acre natural geological wonder most likely created when glaciers receded after the last ice age. It’s a sight to behold: massive boulders in a field so huge it’s hard to comprehend. My Tide Risers members followed me through an exercise I use to draw strength up from the rocks. This is strength we can call upon wherever we are. Even back in our work environments in the city, we can always call upon the rock beneath us for strength in hard times.
As always, I walked away from my time with our Tide Risers members feeling strengthened and rejuvenated. This past weekend in particular was especially valuable for me in that our time together was so intensive and our conversations so deep. I feel ready to move forward with extra intention and ability. I hope you all do too.
I am including in this blog post full-color photos, even though the brand guidelines tzar that lives in my head is complaining. The venue for our retreat was way too gorgeous to be relegated to black and white, so I'm just going to assume you all will forgive the break from the Tide Risers color palette. I'm not sure, however, that I'll be forgiven by our master brand designer, Maiken Erstad, of Coffee and a Danish!