Less than two months to go until my favourite weekend of the year. On the second weekend in May I'll be packing up my tent, my warm fleeces and waterproofs, my sturdy wellies and a collection of chocolate bars (of course) and I'll be heading off to... where is it I go to? I'm not sure where in the country it is! I think it's somewhere near Sheffield. To be honest 'where' is less important that 'what' I'm heading for. It could be anywhere beautiful (which it is). I'll be getting in the car with two wonderful friends and on the way there we'll talk, a lot! And then, when we get there, we'll spend the whole weekend doing what I love best - being among women, real women, women who care, women who care deeply, women who know how to be strong and loving and powerful and challenging. Women who know how to be vulnerable and scared. Women who inspire me every time I spend time with them. OK, so I'm being a bit cryptic! It's not my intention to keep you guessing, really. I'm going to be a staff member on a women's weekend workshop called Women in Power. I've been staffing this workshop (as a volunteer) for the past 4 years and the year before that I attended as a participant. I left that first weekend a with something I'm finding hard to put into words (in fact I've been sitting here staring at this page for about 15 minutes searching for the right ones!)
2 hours later....Oh dear! When it comes to describing my experience I feel about as articulate as the kitchen table I'm sitting at! Empowered, connected, free, alive, peaceful, womanly, excited, part of something... those are some words that come to mind.
I'm talking about this workshop here, on this blog, because it's something I'm passionate about - women being women, women spending time with other women, women embracing everything that we are, instead of hiding or squeezing parts of ourselves away because other people might well find it challenging or won't like or accept us. Women being willing to feel and express and hold; emotions, thoughts, sensations... even when they're not pretty, even when they are scary or ugly or messy. And the more I do this kind of work, the less I feel the need to stuff myself. I don't have to push the frightening thoughts down tightly with another packet of crisps. I don’t have to agree with everyone and shut myself up and then hide at home eating myself into a stupor because I feel so spineless and ashamed. The more I am willing to own all the parts of myself and stop trying so hard to get it right, to please, to look good, to say and do the right thing, to fit in... the taller I stand, the better I feel, the less I overeat.
I don't want to live my life wanting to have another body, pouring my energies into changing what I have because it's not good enough. I refuse to squeeze myself into jeans that are too small and beliefs that I haven't examined and embraced for myself, just because they are what most people believe. After my Women in Power weekend I started to listen to myself and trust that what I have to offer today is not just good enough, it's just right.
I have a feeling a few Beyond Chocolaters have signed up for the May weekend already. You could join us! www.womeninpowerprogram.com