Cutting Loose, Day 11, Online Retreat

Last night I took some of my own medicine and had a gathering of four women, three of whom had been with me on Iona. Invited for a glass of wine I put out some cheese and crackers, a few grapes, lit the fire, and uncorked a fine Pinot Noir as well as a Chardonnay. They arrived promptly at 5 and as like-minded women often do, we got right into it—discussing Iona of course, but then marriage, hopes, future endeavors, and dreams imagined as well as dreams tarnished. What was meant to be a quick drink turned into a five hour chatty marathon, made all the more interesting because we ranged in age from 30 to 65.

If you recall at the beginning of this on-line retreat, I insisted that this exercise not just be  about self improvement– it was also about having fun. Some of my suggestions were to enjoy a glass of fine wine, have lunch with a friend, get a massage, or buy yourself some fresh flowers.

Probably the most important thing for a woman to do during this hectic holiday season is to stop the doing and make time for being. That is precisely what we each must have needed last night as we seemed determined to revel in the spirit of friendship.

May you each find time not only for yourselves but for others whose company you truly enjoy.

20 thoughts on “Cutting Loose, Day 11, Online Retreat

  1. You don’t know how timely this online retreat has been for me. I look forward to reading everyone’s comments. In the last 48 hours so much has changed. Yes I had my eyebrows waxed as previously mentioned, but I also found a shelter dog with special needs that spoke to me. I’ve been missing a furry companion for five years now, and have been searching for some time. While I hope his family finds him for the holidays, he is already in my heart. Then my husband comes home to say he has worked his last day as a firefighter and is retired. I woke this morning softly crying. A pity party of the feminine kind, I’m afraid. My husband, I call him Hoover because he is like a vacuum that soaks me into everything he is doing, will never be idle, but it will be hard for him when I have a need for privacy. I could do that before when he was at the station. I will have to work so hard establish myself and my time, while others critique. You see, I have always been one of those woman who put the needs of others first. He and I talked about all of this, and he understands, but another adjustment is ahead…so what else is new? This may just kick me into “my” gear, the one that drives me to the destination of my choosing. My new sidekick may be a 3 legged golden. I’m hoping.

  2. What a gift this journey has been. For those of us who are unable to attend the Iona journey it has been wonderful to have a journey of our own and I am so grateful for all of my fellow cyber travelers for their input, knowledge and encouragement. I absolutely love the idea of a female energy and thought gathering, what power we have and often don’t even realize it. I am absolutely taking the time to just be during this holiday season, many stressors continue to occur that I allowed to ruin the last holiday but refuse to let it define me this year. Taking the time to be grateful of the many blessings that I do have which certainly outweight the negative problems, it is a beautiful time, taking my walks, breathing and remembering all the lessions that Joan has taught as well as those taught by each of the women who have spoken during this time. Happy Holidays & Happy Life. Let’s continue this journey, it really seems amazing.

    • Vicki, I appreciated how you are going to enjoy being in the holidays. My goals this holiday is to be in the NOW, stay grateful, go slow, do exactly what I want to do, and seek pleasure. I think that is an excellent description of a Holyday!

  3. Ladies…you are all a picture of strength and caring. I’ve come to realize that life is actually just one adjustment after another, whether it’s raising kids, moving into a new home, making new friends, getting or losing a job, or making a happy life after losing a loved one. The last 10 years have been much of this…not to mention menopause and weight gain, but I get up each morning and walk with my quirky neighbor. We never lack for things to talk about. Oddly, we haven’t talked much about this topic or life. I’m going to change that and take the conversation to a new level! That will be good. Now, I’ve worked all morning, had lunch and I’m going to get my toes done and eyebrows waxed. I can’t pluck anymore…my glasses are in the way and can’t see without them. Another adjustment! Anna Kelso

  4. Picture is Whidbey…memories…wonderful ones.

    Today is beautiful here, sun shining, but…yea, lonely…not needy… so…I opened up your “retreat”, saw the familiar picture, rought back awesome memories of laughter, fun,much wisdom…walks to an outdoor shower…and…not so lonely.

    Much love,


    • We all have great memories…why not create scrapbooks for ourselves of those great times so remember as well as recall what we did for ME

  5. Joan and all,
    Thank you so much for the sunshine and the spirits you share. A good girlpower fest would be delightful. As I read all those entries above me I feel warmth and power coming in. Thank you. We will get through whatever storm we have come through or will face because we have each other. ShePower!

    Joan thank you for the pictures they really let me run off with you. I feel so connected.

    • Even I neee girlpower from time to time. Many of my friends don’t understand what I do, what I am about. You are all becoming my new power with the online comments. Thank you everyone.


  6. Hi Anna and Tracey…No you are not alone in wanting more from life. It was not until recently I was having a conversation with Joan about my life, when we both realized that what I was doing for all these years was wanting more from life. I know now that I am exactly where I should be and it has taken a lot of work and a very long time getting here. Keep searching for who you are and where you want to be. Be with gals who want more from life and challenge yourself. Joan changed my life.
    I wish for you both a wonderful journey getting there

    • and Sylvia contiinues to change mine…one of her strengths is counting her blessings. I love her attitude and whenever I need a shift I call her!

  7. I have been following the Iona trip, truly awesome, interesting and a goal of mine NOW…..

    Seeing the happy faces at your 5-hour gab-session has inspired me

    Four weeks ago today, I lost my husband of 43 years very suddenly. I know that I am still in some level of shock, but am determined to get back my spirit in his memory.

    I have been to two of Joan’s retreats, they are outstanding…

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Bless us all!!!

    • Colleen

      Grief takes a while…don’t rush it.If you have deep grief it only means you had a real connection. In Africa they give people as much time to grieve…not just 3 days…because no one knows how long it will take to process the parting of one person or another.

      I wish you well…I wish you time to be what this means. Joan

  8. I’ve been in a holiday fog for a week. Time to wake up again. I love the picture of smiling faces. In the new year I’d like to get a group of women together for the express purpose of forward thinking…trying to remember what it was that rocked my boat when I was younger and bringing that joy and wonder into today’s life. Yes, I have friends. We play bunco, go out to lunch, volunteer. But most don’t seem to have the same need for more out of life. Am I alone with all of this? I’m not materialistic, just have always been wanting more to experience. I’ll start by doing a little something for me each day, and reread your book A Weekend to Change Your Life. That might provide a guide line for conversation with other women that goes a little deeper and is a little more heartfelt. Thank you for giving me so much to think about.

    • Anna K– ditto. I’ve read A Weekend to Change Your Life over and over (underlines, highlights, etc.) I’m living in St. Louis and I bought it when I was on a retreat by myself (flew into Salt Lake City and drove round trip to my family farm in Northern Montana). That’s when I was married and needed a little time to myself. My husband and I ran a couple of businesses together. Now we are divorced and this is my first Christmas alone. It is soooo much tougher than I thought it would be–especially since I am unemployed now, too. So I know exactly what you meant by “holiday fog”. Hang in there! And thank you Joan for inspiring women who read your books.

      • Holiday is weird for me too One son in Idaho and the other living alone and separated.Where do we all fit?It is tough and yet I think we all need to get out some white candles (for clarity and purity) light them, revere ourselves and sing.

    • Hi Anna
      No you are not alone in feeling you want to experience more out of life. We only have this life to live so let’s make it the best it can be. I have a couple of great friends who are on the same page as me and their company is always a tonic, an injection of laughter and spirit. We are all searchers on a journey to find what? Haven’t worked it out yet, but it’s fun trying, maybe just living your best life every day. I wear a slim ring band imprinted with ‘everyday is a good day’ someone said but that isn’t true, I said it depends on perspective if you believe it then it’s true. It’s a quick reminder to myself when I see it to take life as it comes, live in the moment and enjoy it. Hope you get to meet new friend that are on the same path as you.

    • Anna: The way I began this search was first talking with a friend who gave me the book Women Who Run With the Wolves.Then forming a book club to read that book together one chapter at a time.Then we all bonded as a result of the discussions and before you knew it we were all catapaulted onto new journeys

      You go girl Joan.

  9. Joan,

    Oh, do I wish I could have been part of the “fun” circle last night!!
    There is just nothing any better than having a five hour “gab” fest!


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