A Place for Women

Last week I visited an amazing place in Rockford, Illinois – an organization called Womanspace. Started by two forward thinking (and somewhat rebellious) Roman Catholic nuns back in 1974, their headquarters are warm and inviting, nestled near a pine forest—a quiet place away from the madding crowd with a meditation garden nearby and beyond, the most extraordinary labyrinth.

Stepping into this thoughtfully designed haven, one feels immediately as if she has come home. Meant to be a refuge, it has the spirit of a sanctuary—peaceful, calm, and oh, so welcoming.  That they could imagine, way back when, that such a place would be a necessity, not just a luxury in a world changing too fast for anyone’s good, is indeed a blessing.

I had long since known that primitive tribes so revere a woman’s spirit—her intuition and instinct to be precise– that they send their women away eight times a year to such a place. The tribal fathers had a knowing that all would be well if women could be  off duty and together in a natural setting, free from work to simply feel safe and contemplate what really matters.

It occurred to me that we all need sacred space—womanspace. The world so often comes crashing in on us compassionate people-pleasers that if we don’t find our own refuge we too, will crash.

I returned home moved and determined–intent on redesigning my office, making it my haven, a place with only objects and artwork of my choosing. And because I love the sound of water, I am purchasing one of those fountains that you plug in and it gurgles away all day long.

All women should have a material place within their home and a place outside—in nature—to which she can retreat. Where would that be for you and can you find a corner in your abode? Happy hunting and do indulge yourself.

Nordic Ski Races

Last week I found myself in Ketchum, Idaho visiting my grandkids—an out doors playground for the rich, famous, and very fit!  A highlight of the trip was trudging out to an immense field of snowy mountains to watch the Nordic Ski races. Some three hundred very fit and very young skiers had flown in from all over the world to compete for 4 days in this winter wonderland. It was thrilling to be close up and personal with Olympians and others working their way toward such accomplishment.

For a while it was exciting to watch event after event as these thin, trim, muscular men and women did their thing, each motion smooth and skilled, each stride seemingly effortless. It wasn’t until they crossed the finish line and collapsed, (literally!) that I realized what training and discipline it must take to be accomplished in this sport.

Eager to take it all in, I attempted to run from one trail to another to catch a glimpse of the front runners but alas, both the altitude (6500 feet) and my no longer youthful somewhat out of shape body inhibited me from seeing much. I found myself wishing I had had an individual sport when I was young—that I would have cared more about conditioning and athletics, both of which would have come in handy with the onslaught of aging.

As I watched the awards being handed out and the beaming faces standing before me on the podium, I vowed to begin once again and give my body the attention it deserves. I bought myself a pedometer—10,000 steps a day, they say, will not only jump start one’s metabolism but keep the doctor away.

Try walking that far—it’s actually fun competing against yourself.