But this Retreat turned out to be a truly magical weekend for everyone there - including me. Sure, it was stressful being in charge of presenting quite a few sessions plus dealing with various hiccups with the facilities. But as everyone arrived on Friday morning, this positive energy and beauty took over and I knew this was going to be an extraordinary Retreat.
The presenters all did a fabulous job and complemented each other very well (it was especially fun to present with my mom and sister Shawni). The agenda flowed even better than I'd hoped (ideas for taking care of "the person inside the mom" first then moving on to concrete ideas for effective family systems then capping it all off with tools for living lives with increased purpose and progress and decreased stress). The setting was peaceful and lovely (and thankfully, the super hot weather of last week turned into perfect 70 and 80 degree weather for the two days of the Retreat).
But what really made the Retreat amazing was the feeling.
The energy, motivation and sheer goodness of the women who came made for a thick feeling of love and learning that permeated every part of the Retreat. Every comment made and thought shared was inspiring. During meal times and free times, everyone helped solve each other's problems and brainstormed wonderful ideas. I came away seriously loving each and every woman there and wishing I could hang out with all of them for much, much longer. It was hard to say goodbye!
Check out all the great photos on April's blog here. My sister Shawni was the official photographer so she'll have some great stuff but she's in DC with her family right now so it may be a few more days on those photos.
During one of the last sessions, when I got to sit there as part of the group and listen for a while, I felt this welling up of hope and joy as I thought about the POWER of that existed in that room full of 35 valiant, motivated, deliberate mothers. No matter how much bad stuff there may be in this old world, the goodness of a few great moms can create ripple effects that never end. This quote came to mind:
"When I think of the heroism of mothers, I gather hope for poor humanity; and this dark world looks bright because, whatever else it is not full of, it is at least full of mothers."
At the close of the Retreat, we held a train-the-trainer session for those who wanted to replicate these sorts of events (workshops as well as full Retreats) in their own communities. We had 6 people signed up for this session before the Retreat - but by the end of the Retreat, 11 women had decided to stay for the session and certify as trainers. Now they can go forth and get these ripple effects going big time.
This weekend made the vision that April and I have for Power of Moms more real and imminent for me. The stuff we've put together for Power of Moms WORKS. I wish with all my heart that all moms could feel what we all felt at this Retreat. So I'll keep doing all I can to make that happen!
Here are a few quotes from moms who were at the Retreat, just to give you a few other people's thoughts on how things went:
"I'm leaving this Retreat not just with my fire lit but with it BLAZING! I have a passion for my role as a mother and now an extreme desire to bring this to others. I love the specific tools we got to implement all the great ideas...I feel inspired - truly inspired!"
"So enriching, enlightening, motivating and comforting! Great to bond with wonderful like-minded mothers. What a fabulous supportive atmosphere!"
"Amazing, empowering plus very useful and practical. I can't wait to change my life and my family
for the better. It was everything I dreamed of and more. I'm so excited to become the best me I can be."
"It was so enjoyable to be in an atmosphere of women who seemed to care about each other even before we knew each other's names. Just knowing we had the common goal of wanting to be better moms made us immediately accepting of each other."
"I loved the chance to take a break and soak up true goodness."
"Fabulous, fabulous, FABULOUS"
"Awesome, rejuvenating, educational, motivating and also realistic."
So yeah, I'm feeling pretty happy about how things went! Can you tell (at least a little bit) how amazing these women were from their comments?
This week, I'm excited to focus this week on my own motherhood and take a little break from so much Power of Moms work to enjoy my wonderful children more fully. And I'm going to "take care of the person inside the mom" a little better too (I'm TIRED!). I'm armed and ready after this last weekend!