Here I am, 3 days later, on the bus headed home.
My first thought as I opened up my app to begin this journal: wow….it’s only been 3 days?
I feel like I’ve grown an entire lifetime. I’ve gained the knowledge and passion of 7 other women, and strengthened my own in ways i’d never known possible. How am I the same person I was 3 days ago? How did I spend my life not feeling like this?
As I thought about blogging this, I had intended to blog about the adventures of Luminous Wild. But then as I wrote them all out in my workbook and diary I realized that the actual experiences and magic that happened….they were sacred. They were kept to our tribe, the first Luminous Wild tribe, and that’s where they’ll stay. In the land, in our minds, our hearts, our memories.
This retreat wasn’t so much a retreat as it was a rebirth. Every single person changed. Grew. Transformed. We did it together, we did it as a tribe.
So while I won’t relay my weekend word for word here, I’m going to mention the most meaningful and changing parts of it. The rest will remain in my heart and in my journal.
As Jen and I puled up, past 8:30 at night after a terrifying drive around curves at the edge of cliffs, we were greeted with this sign, and received into the coziest place I could ever have imagined. There were hugs, cookies, and hot cider.
As I sat there, looking around, I asked myself: what did I get myself into? Why am I here?
I was weary from 26 hours of travel, yet as I sat there I was wide awake and ready to begin. I felt renewed, invigorated, alive.
The first night was just a taste of what was to come. There was already that small seed planted in us, ready for us to take notice and let it grow. Let ourselves grow. We laughed, we talked, we began to knock down the walls we had built around ourselves.
4 1/2 hours of on/off sleep later, I was awake again. I was the first to rise, and as I crept around the art barn as to not disturb my sleeping partner, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I slipped on my boots and scarf and crept out into the crisp morning air as the sun began to rise.
I’m awake. I’m alive.
I walked to the bridge nearby and looked out into my surroundings and was greeted with the most beautiful sight.
It took my breath away, and as I leaned against the rail I felt a little bit of my anxiety and stress begin to slip away. I made it, I was there, I was ready to be open and just let things happen. I felt like an open book, a blank page, ready to be imprinted on.
Even as I type this out now in the dimming light, I cannot believe this was just yesterday morning. How had so much changed in the course of one day?
Now, the magic that happened cannot be explained with words and blogs. It was something that had to be felt, experienced, and seen.
But magic was made. It was made in our minds and souls, it was made, literally, in the middle of a river.
It was made with the wind. With food. With love. With glitter. With music. With hugs. With sharing. With all of us there, together, being true to who we were and just letting go.
We all began to realize, this was real. We are special. We are powerful. We are goddesses.
As the sun went down we embarked on a secret walk, which turned in to a wild version of the girlscouts. On magic. Huffing glitter.
Ok that was an exaggeration. BUT there was a walk, and singing, and dancing in the middle of the road for oncoming and unsuspecting cars. (Car car….C-A-R…. you girls know the rest.) We laughed so much I thought I wouldn’t be able to walk. As I type this I’m laughing to myself, remembering what we did. I’m also getting funny looks but that’s besides the point.
Our walk ended with a surprise beyond surprises. And all I have to say for this part is that we met one of -the- coolest and sweetest most loving people. And we were fed like goddesses.
It’s dark now, as I’m typing this, which is the perfect time to write the next part. To me, the best part of the whole experience.
This fire changed my life. Right there. Right then. My whole word shifted directions, so many questions were answered….questions I didn’t even know I had. But the way it felt. It felt so right.
Around this very fire, 6 of us sat. We took turns drumming out beats within us
But then the real magic happened. I danced with fire. The very amazing woman in that photo with me brought her fire dancing poi’s, fans, and fingers. She asked if I wanted to try it.
My first mental response was: but you don’t know how. Don’t do it, you’ll look stupid and mess up.
But then my wild self took over my mouth. “Hell yeah! Light me up!”
But i’d said it. I was on my feet like an excited kid, grinning ear to ear as she went over the safety with me and fastened 4 fingers on to me. Then I lit up.
It was then, right then and there. I felt it. I felt empowered and alive, I felt the fire heating my skin warming me despite being in a tanktop at night. I felt the energy rushing through me. And then I felt myself moving.
What the fuck was I doing? I don’t even know. But there were drums, and I found myself dancing with fire. Dancing with my desire. Dancing with power.
I was on fire, both literally and metaphorically. I wanted more, I wanted to keep going. So we brought out the fire fans. When I lit up it was like a blast of pure power. The fire took over, whooshing around my body, dancing over my skin, spinning into the darkness. And when it was gone, when i’d spun and danced my fire out…..I was reborn. I was changed. I felt passion that i’d never felt before. THIS was what I needed to do. I needed this in my life. I swear that fire was calling me.
The night wore on, and we danced, drummed, and surrounded ourselves with fire. We were rained on, but we kept dancing, lifting our faces to the moon and howling. Drumming. We were wild, we were on fire, we were alive.
That night lasted an eternity, and it will forever be in my heart. I found myself open to more than I thought I could be. I was letting myself be wild and being okay with it.
I realized the world wasn’t going to fall apart if I just threw my head back and howled, and let myself be wild. I don’t always have to be held together, I don’t always have to be mature and structured. It was okay to just….be.
2am rolled around and I was passed out on the couch with a smile on my face. Hell, yes. That had happened. This was real.
Morning came to me bright and early, with sun shining through the window onto my face. it was the last day, but in a way, it was the first. The first day of our new starts. I wrote in my journal until i’d recollected everything from the previous night, and the day began with some delicious food, fit for a goddess.
Prepared by some.
The magic that happened was too perfect for words, and too private to share with the world. But it was real, and it was wonderful, and it was intense.
Then we gathered up our wild selves for a group picture – in the hot tub.
And to finish off the perfect retreat, there had to be a little sillyness
And after a ride home with Jen as we let the weekend sink in and shared our thoughts and feelings of it, I’m here. I’m going back home.
So to work towards an end to this massive post, this changed my life. This retreat, that was once just an idea, just a possibility….happened. And it was wild. It was luminous. It was packed full of everything we needed for our new starts.
It was a privilege and an honor to watch as we all transformed into creatures we only dreamed we could be. To watch as each light of our candle was filled with a little more strength, a little more certainty. To go from whispering our names in shyness and uncertainty to declaring we were goddesses and howling.
So thank you, to Contessa and Veronica. You did this. You brought us together. And we all rocked it. Thank you for sharing, for teaching, for inspiring, for guiding, for listening, and for loving. Thank you for the food, the hugs, the laughter, the singing, and the magic. Thank you.
And thank you to each wonderful woman I shared the circle with. We’re a tribe and a family. And you all have helped change me. You are always in my hearts, and I will always be there to answer your calls.
In conclusion…The lessons I learned can’t be written out, the inspiration I gained can’t be explained. The strength I feel can’t be described. But I can say, without a doubt, that I’m a goddess of fire. And I’m fucking Luminous Wild.
When we are here, when we are wild, we are our true selves – Veronica Varlow