Ken Nelson, Paula Harris and I led this joyful group at a glorious location on Cape Cod. The moon was almost full.

I’m just back home after leading two women’s retreats in Massachusetts, one in the Berkshires, the other on the Cape. Both were filled with extraordinary women who carved out time in their lives to focus on themselves for a few days.

How often do YOU take time just for you? I believe that the first success you achieve is simply showing up on your own behalf

  • at a distant location and
  • give yourself the gift of time and attention.

One of my favorite exercises that I used with each group is the selection of an image that speaks to where you are in a current life transition. These are shared in pairs, then in larger groups, as everyone sees something else in what you’ve selected. That feedback is powerful, often surprising and enlightening. It’s a retreat favorite, and I love using it.

Ken Nelson, my co-leader, and I played along in our own pairing. The one I selected for myself was a tray full of test tubes with a different colored solution in each vial. An eye-dropper was adding something to each of the small glass containers. My interpretation of it is that I am in an experimental stage right now. I have so many options on the horizon and by feeding in a solution to each one, I will see different results and outcomes. Ken mentioned that “it only takes a drop” to make a difference.

The second image was a very close up shot of a woman receiving acupuncture on her face. It wasn’t lost on me that there’s the hint of a smile on her face. My analysis was that she/I will go to any lengths–including having needles inserted into my skin–to move myself towards my future.

It’s often difficult to articulate exactly where you are in your life at the moment, where you want to go or the feeling you want to have once you get there. These collections of photographs and artwork offer an alternative to trying to come up with an answer that is hard to express. Rather, the image finds the seeker and she knows it when she sees it. Each experience is unique and different.

My plan now is to set aside three days on my calendar for my own personal retreat, to book an Airbnb, and to pack up my planning gear and put myself in a location where I can think, plan, visualize and commit to what will make my heart sing in 2020.

Or, as one retreat-er said, “What makes you tingle?” Yeah, that’s what I’m going for!



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