I'm going away this weekend on a women's retreat. I'm looking forward to it, which in a way is odd for me. I haven't always been the type of gal of who really digs hanging out with a big group of other women (To be quite honest, a lot of women just get on my nerves. I absolutely cannot cope with soul stirring conversations on lip gloss and wallpaper or extended man-bashing rants and the latest tidbits of juicy gossip. Can we have some substance please?). It took me a while to decide that it was ok. I've been going to this thing for about 12 years. I used to go just because I needed to get away. It could have been to the Seventeenth Symposium on Seaweed for all I cared at that point. It was a change of pace where no one was grabbing at me with a list of demands to be filled. Someone made my bed for me, cleaned my bathroom, cooked my meals, and cleaned up. I've got a vivid enough imagination to entertain myself through boring speakers in exchange for having no real responsibility for a couple of days. Plus there was enough free time and some great hiking trails, a climbing wall, and this wild thing called a power swing where they hoist you up and cut you loose. For a kid who used to dream of pumping high enough on the swings at recess to flip all the way around the top, the power swing is VERY cool.
Somewhere along the line I started to actually look forward to this weekend for more than just getting away from it all. I started to enjoy some of the women (although some of them I still cut a wide circle around). I got to know some of them better and found one or two kindred spirits. Some of them have gone and some are still there. Because some of the absences are notable this year I almost chose not to go but I'm heading out after all and looking forward to it. The speaker this year is a woman with some real depth. I also know I will see some other women find their voices and some strength they didn't know they had. Some will share some things they've held inside and find support they never knew they had. There will be a sisterhood celebrated with laughter and tears, serious meditation and incredible silliness. This week, I'm counting that.