My husband, Casey, and I decided early in the year that we would each take vacations of our own whims this year. His was a baseball marathon in Baltimore in May with my in-laws. Mine was Homecoming, surrounded by strong, beautiful women, motivational workshops, crisp firey autumnal sights and smells, and heart-warming, home-cooked meals. And my intention of this gift was to pause before the long, cold winter months and reflect on my inner core - my motivation, my talents, my gifts and my room(s) to grow.
I'm not a big journal keeper, but I like to bring one with me whenever there is a chance of down time. And there was just the right mix of solitude in the warm sun amid flaming foliage and crisp autumn air to journal.
I titled this blog entry "stealth" reflections, because that's what I want to share here today - my personal, too-often subterranean observations and reflections on the experiences, stimulus and learnings of such important pauses. I am one who values experiential learning above almost all else - but perhaps most poignant to me this weekend was the powerful learning that occurs in the pauses between the experiences.
Now, for my stealth reflections on the retreat on Panther Pond:
- For me, being a woman surrounded by other women often starts with an initial aloof catwalk around the circle, sniffing to see who is safe. I think that's how a lot of woman are. This weekend, the cat walk lasted about 10 minutes and then I was all in, being who I am at the core without regard for what others would think.
- The kind of woman leader that I want to be is one who can create the kind of space that Lael did this weekend - one that invites and allows people to be forthright, open and downright brilliant in sharing their gifts and talents for the betterment of all around them.
- In writing this blog, I was concerned about the "non-strategic" tactic this poses to who I am as a professional - to go subterranean in a public way. What pushed me over the edge was to realize that this is the whole point. What is life if we are not living and being our truest selves, publicly, everyday (with grace and respect for our emotional wake)? That is leadership, honesty and the meaning of life, in my opinion.
- Pull together a small group of women, and the collective memories of songs from all decades of life can keep a fire circle singing at the top of their lungs for hours - no matter how cold.
- Chubby bunny ... enough said.
- Fig-olive tapenade - made even more special by the fact that I had to email Rosemary (the chef) personally to request the recipe, despite all other recipes being available for everyone to scribe for the keeping. (I've emailed her and am crossing my fingers that she's still game for sharing! I'll post it if and when she does!)
- Journey Dance with Traca and the beautiful freedom of "ugly dancing" without mirrors.
- When given the choice, I prefer to be clean and manicured, even if I have no reason to be (as could be the case in this kind of camp scenario). I feel my best when I am put together on the outside and its not because I'm trying to impress anyone else. It just makes me feel good. It was liberating to realize this!
- Learning is my soul's purpose - and that I deeply believe that learning only happens through stimulus and exchanges with other people.
- Quotes by other women. Lael had laminated a bunch of moving quotes by powerful women and they were hung all over the camp - and then she invited us to take some home. I took a few and then was inspired to search for more.
Here are a few quotes I'm drawn to right now:
"[To simplify] is very nearly the whole of the higher artistic process; finding what conventions of form and what detail one can do without ... and yet preserve the spirit of the whole." - Willa Cather
"How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone." -Coco Chanel
And on those notes, I'll say goodbye for now.