Sunday, May 06, 2012

Spring Break Part III - Retreat (finally!)

It's taken forever, but now, on a quiet Sunday afternoon, as Eliza plays the piano and the boys play the game of Life together, it's a good time to finish my blogging about Spring Break with the grand finale - the Power of Moms Retreat in Palo Alto. All photos are courtesy of Rachel Jacobsen. Thanks for being such a wonderful Retreat photographer and helping with so many things, Rachel!

SUCH great women helped present, helped with food and brought their ideas and energy to the table as attendees. As always, I learn so much at these Retreats and thrive on the energy and excitement in the air when so many fabulous deliberate women gather to learn and share. It was great to present this Retreat in partnership with my old friend from Study Abroad in London 20 years ago – Julia Carmack Jacobsen. And it was so fun to re-connect with a lot of different wonderful people on this trip - a friend from my days at Wellesley College, friends from church when we used to live in Santa Clara, even the younger sister of a friend who grew up in my neighborhood in Salt Lake City.  All the women there were so wonderful and I wished I could have had longer to learn from each of them.

Our fabulous core team: Linda (our hostess and keynote speaker),
Julia (speaker and Retreat Manager), me, Heather and Rachel (spoke and did food)

Eliza has always wanted to come to a Retreat. This one was the perfect time for her to be with me
and help me explain some things from a kid's perspective.
I loved having here there on the front row smiling up at me.
 I thought she might get bored - but she didn't.
It's so fun to share these experiences with my kids when I can!

The setting was perfect - the Etherington home is full of light and love and gorgeous artwork thanks to our hostess, Linda Etherington's great talents in art. I loved hearing her share how she balanced her passion for art and the ongoing development and use of her talents with raising her seven daughters. I also loved hearing Linda's wonderful keynote speech where she shared her wisdom on what to do more of and what to do less of. I'm working on my goal of giving at least 4 hugs a day to everyone in my family. And I'm working on listening and praising more effectively. I loved that she encouraged us to do "less good things." What? She pointed out that often we do so many "good" things that we don't have time for the excellent and truly important things in life. I wish I'd had a whole lot longer to listen to Linda.

Our other keynote speaker, Kristine Westerlind, brought up great points about what it really means to be a deliberate mother. She held up a scale - one of those brass ones with the two trays on each side - and talked about how we have to think carefully about what we put on that scale to keep things balanced. She also taught us that just as we can't wear someone else's perscription eyeglasses and have success seeing things properly, we need to understand that we all need to mother in our own unique ways and that we'll all see things and do things differently - and that's not only OK, that's beautiful.

Then Julia and I presented about how to take care of the person inside the mom for the rest of the morning. We talked about nurturing ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and socially so that we can do the same for our kids. We talked about how important it is to set boundaries, to learn to say no, and to have margin in our lives to give us room to really enjoy our lives.

We had some wonderful women participate on panels and share what's worked for them.

We also had Heather present about taking care of our physical selves and she got everyone laughing and doing squats to fun, loud music while helping us understand that a little can go a long ways when it comes to exercise.

In the afternoon, we talked about some principles and concrete ideas for setting up Family Systems to help our kids want to behave in positive ways, to teach them about work and money, and to build a strong family culture. Everyone had such great ideas!

And of course, we ate lots of delicious (and mostly very healthy) food. Thanks again to our lunch sponsor - Bumble (wish there was a Bumble near me - what a great concept!).

Most importantly, we learned from each other. I love that it's so hard to get people to come back together after small group discussions. EVERY woman there had wonderful ideas and insights to share. We spent a good portion of the day discussing different topics with different small groups of women and also spent some time doing personal self-reflection and planning for how we'd be implementing our favorite ideas.

Here are some quick glimpses at small group discussions and the great learning and sharing and laughing that took place during breaks.

No matter how many times I do these Retreats, I learn so many new things each time and I come away with renewed joy in my mothering and renewed hope for the world. My heart is full as I sit there with so many valiant, deliberate mothers, each charting their own course and fighting their own battles and building the best future they can for their children and the hundreds and thousands who will ultimately be touched by their influence and posterity. I love this quote:

“One form of heroism...the most common, and yet the least remembered of all—is the heroism of a mother. And when I think of that broad fact, I gather hope again for poor humanity; and this dark world looks bright
more...because, whatever else it is not full of, it is at least full of mothers.”
- Charles Kingsley

Doing this post makes me excited for our Retreat this Friday and Saturday at my parents' house near Park City.  We've still got a just a few spots left and registration closes on Wednesday. Click below for details:


Eyrealm said...

How truly exciting to see this retreat! LOVE the feeling that the photos give. The excitement of deliberate motherhood jumps right out of the computer!

Can't wait for this weekend. Thanks for the fab quote!

Jani said...

Thank you so much for this post. I attended a retreat at your parents house last year, I think? It was great. It got me "rolling" with with mothering ideas. I was in charge of a learning circle for 6 months and loved every bit of it. I just had my third and have moved. I feel like I am starting to learn all over. This post got me excited again. I have been in a rut and I need to get out of it. This is the start of climbing out. Thank you for everything you do.


impresionante, no sabes como os envidio!! aqui en España,no conozco ningún grupo que haga este tipo de reuniones ni actividades. Me parece formidable. Me encanta tu blog y tu manera de ver la vida. ¡¡¡felicidades!!


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