Written by Girlvana girl Marley Beckett
Waking up to the sound of frogs and the sun poking in through the crack in the cotton curtains, there was only one word to describe the feeling that overwhelmed me from the core out: blessed. Blessed to have had the previous experiences that we have. Blessed to know that I am safe. Blessed to be in this beautiful place with so many outstanding young women.
As the morning furthered, we met in the lodge for a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, hash browns, fresh avocado toast, and the famous Bodega Ridge granola. With our bellies and hearts full, we migrated into the yoga room for a morning of sharing. Together, we sat and held space as we anticipated that magic was brewing in the air. Today’s mantra, as offered by Ally, was “I trust myself.” Intuition is a part of us that we often ignore. We search our surroundings for an answer, when many times it is acutely already there.
The question “If you really knew me you would know…” was presented to us. I won’t lie, I was scared. I was scared to open my heart to new possibilities and to break down the walls that I have spent so much time building in order to protect myself. However, as soon as my sisters in the room began to share the deepest and most authentic parts of themselves, I knew that I was safe. I knew that I was here for a purpose, and that I will always remember the moments.
After sharing, we headed down to the ocean for some of us to take a quick dip and refresh our minds. As we held hands, we quieted our voices to honour those women who swam before us in our “goddess dip”. The cold water stung the skin on our legs, but it felt right - it felt needed in a moment like this.
The afternoon sun began to set in, and we were given free time to rest, digest, and relax after a morning of opening our hearts in ways that many of us have never experienced before. Naps were had, hummus and pita chips were ingested, and the surrounding property was explored.
As a group, we met before dinner to set our intentions for the upcoming spring — to let go of something in order to bring in something new. We each set new intentions in pieces of nature—fir, pine, rosemary, lavender sprigs—and wrapped them in a prayer bundle. As we watched the prayer bundle burn, we held onto our sisters' hands, and I knew I was safe. This is a moment that will forever be imprinted in my heart.
Ash and Jess lead us through a beautiful “Feelosophy” practice. We spent countless breaths in each pose as the two of them massaged our legs, arms and backs to a point of extreme presence and relaxation. Touch is something that we are often scared of, but many of us learned how powerful it can be if it comes from a place of care, compassion, and utmost LOVE.
Dinner: a meal I will never forget. We ate a beautiful spread of roasted root vegetables, oyster mushrooms, dandelion and squash salad, and miso gravy that filled each of out stomachs to the brim. I don't remember a time that I have laughed and smiled as much as dinner that night. Impromptu dance performances were witnessed, and though provoking questions were asked.
After dinner, some of us gathered in the yoga room to watch “Moana” on the projector screen, however others went to bed after a long and eventful day.
I ended the day exactly as I started it — feeling blessed. I can’t describe the feelings that have emerged from the retreat, other than it is like nothing I have ever felt before. As I glance around the room, I see powerful, strong and beautiful women. After knowing them for three days, I already feel a connection to them that I can’t describe, and that is the Girlvana magic.