Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Hope Springs Eternal

love and light, sistergarteners. i added some seeds to my garden. quite a bit of water and sunshine, too.

i don't really know where the beginning of this story is (perhaps in a womb somewhere 20-"some-odd" years ago), so i'll just start somewhere in the middle. a few weeks ago, i attended the hope springs institute's first annual women's poetry and performance retreat. according to their website, hope springs is "a retreat center in the Appalachian foothills, [and] a place of rest, peace and benevolence. It is situated in an exceptional natural environment, and offers educational programs that help people live mindful, creative, healthy lives." after my experience there, i'm at a bit of a loss for words, so those will have to do for now. i can only add that i was on sacred ground-- "holy in ways my words can't explain, but maybe three little birds could" (-rhythm, "Soul Reacher- Bob Marley" from Libations, Vol. 1). yep, i just quoted myself.

i've been avoiding writing about this experience for a few reasons. first, i simply don't have the words to describe the magnitude to which this experience affected my life. secondly, a part of me wants to keep the experience sacred and personal. so to that end, i've decided not to share many details. when anyone has asked me "how was it?" my response has been, "life changing." that's the best i can do. for the benefit of the sister- (and brother)garteners, i'll add that the housing was welcoming and comfortable. the food was AMAZING...so much so i made myself miserable on the second day with a lovely combination of heartburn and plain old glutton-belly. the women were inspiring...i have made vital bonds. the land and sacred spaces were nurturing. the whole long weekend actually was a retreat in every sense of the word. i was well taken care of.

i'd be remiss if i didn't mention the writing workshops. every day, i was faced with the challenge of reaching deep within myself and pouring the contents (beautiful, ugly, or otherwise) out on the page. and as writers (and in particular poets), we challenge ourselves to do this often, in an effort to honor the gift we have been given. but as humans, we also can retreat from this challenge when the ugly gets too ugly. i am so eternally grateful that the truth and beauty of hope springs wouldn't allow me to do that. i dug deep. deeper than i could have imagined. and i found so much healing in that journey and in the supportive circle of women (and a blessed angel-baby) from various geographic locations, racial and ethnic backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, and ages. and i began to peel back a few more layers of my true self. most importantly, i was reminded to keep peeling.

"and that's all i have to say about that." -forrest gump

be. fly.



Tenisha said...

you're many steps ahead of me. i still can't put it into words. "life changing" indeed. i am forever grateful for your digging. glad i was able to be apart of it.

Tina said...

WOW!!! How often do experiences like yours occur in a person's lifetime?! And the opportunity to interact and form bonds with a group of diverse women (the wonderful and amazing things that women can do when we work together as one). Truly amazing cousin...

Rhythm said...

we ARE quite amazing, aren't we?


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