Walking through the forest more slowly than usual
feeling the crunch of every stone beneath my boots
with the weight of everything I required to meet my basic needs resting firmly on the width of my hips
started to expand
reaching for the trees around me.
At first I wondered if I was walking through a gauntlet of gossamer spiderwebs,
but a quick brush of my tingling forearms confirmed that I hadn’t.
that I was feeling gratitude
as though my every pore were reaching out like a gospel singer
toward the woods
The feeling went on for four days, even as we trekked up forty-five degree inclines,
even as the heat of July high noon began to close in around us.
I’ve led two reWILD retreats now, one slow, quiet gathering in which myself and the women present all toed our way closer to the discomfort and freedom of being before doing,
and this one,
each woman with her own unique intention
a desire to find answers to long-held questions in footsteps-on-earth, silence, openness, and wonder.
I’ve become wise enough to let Mother Earth and the force of women gathering take the lead
(holding little agenda other than safety, the promise of space held and good food)
in doing so,
have been just as transformed by the magic of the experience as the women themselves.
What lingers most for me
after I and the women whose lives and hearts I’ve kept close for a few short but intense days part ways
is the way we held our needs sacred with a simple mantra
– ask for what you need; offer what you can –
and how, once given permission to ask
and the surety of being well-met
that mantra became the air that moved around us; a group culture with a life of its own
that began to re-weave each woman’s self-trust.
And though the trail had different lessons for each of us,
what every woman (including me) experienced
an unshakeable connection
with the strength and ability of her own body and the spirit that quickens inside it
with her place in the arms of Mother Earth: a sense of belonging and safe haven that is both feet-on-earth and hair standing-on-end
blurring the lines between
what is Her
and what is Wild.