Written by Girlvana girl Lacey Koughan
Waking up with a view of the mountains, the ocean and the sun as my first sight gave me no option other than to smile to myself. Being so far away from home actually feels very freeing to me.
When I got up, I headed into the lodge where I drank not one, not two, but three coffees within the hour. I think I was doing it to calm my nerves a bit. We were told the night before to interview our cabin mate and ask them what they are most proud of. My cabin mate and I decided to have our conversation in the morning instead. I found myself opening up very deeply, very quickly. I felt so much comfort and support from this girl and I had never even spoken to her before. I’m not sure what exactly it was, but I left the conversation feeling incredibly inspired and like I had just met a longtime friend.
After breakfast (which was an amazing vegan dish) we had a conversation about our bodies and how we treat them. We all shared something we wanted our bodies to forgive us for, and then went on to write a letter to our body from us, asking for forgiveness. This was really difficult for me, as I have been trying to cover up my true feelings towards my body for a while now. After writing my honest feelings out, and getting those thoughts out of my head, I started crying. It felt like I had just let go of something that was holding me down for so long. We all burned these letters in the fire, watching them literally go up in flames. This was incredibly powerful and really made me feel a huge sense of release. I took a few moments after burning my letter to go for a walk and let it sink in. Since that moment, I haven’t once thought about my body negatively. In fact, it’s been the complete opposite.
We had an incredible yoga practice after our session, where I really felt my body and its strength for the first time in a long time. I was fully present in the movements and my breath, it felt amazing. I didn’t care that my belly was hanging out when I went into downward dog, and that is a big thing for someone who has been so self-conscious for so long.
The practice ended with a song that really spoke to me. The lyrics were “You can’t rush your healing.” Probably the truest statement I have ever heard, and it was exactly what I needed to hear. I find that in our society, there are so many people and companies preaching these instant fixes, in almost everything, but I have come to learn that you truly cannot rush your healing. It is going to take time and patience for you to become fully healed. I couldn’t have ended the yoga practice in a better way.
After lunch, we went for a hike - my first hike ever. Which is crazy, but true. Hiking was another way for me to recognize the strength and ability in my body. Hiking up was honestly a bit of a struggle at some points, but the conversations that I had and the view at the top were so worth it. When we reached the top, the view was absolutely beautiful. Most of the girls were taking photos on their phones of the view, but I decided yesterday morning that I was going to turn off my phone for the entire retreat, so that I could fully experience everything without any distractions. I took tons of mental pictures throughout the hike that will last forever. On the hike back down, I had an incredibly inspiring and reassuring conversation with one of the mentors. We talked the entire way down, holding back the group a little bit, but it was so worth it. I knew I was going to connect with this mentor from the start, and I was right. Having real conversations with other girls and women is something very special.
After the hike, we threw on the BEST playlist and drove back to the Ridge, where we were given some time to ourselves before dinner. I used this time to reflect through writing as well as vlogging – video blogging. I turned on my camera and just talked (to myself I guess) about everything that I was feeling. Speaking my thoughts out loud was very clarifying.
We had TACOS for dinner, which I have never had before - crazy, I know. Never hiked and never had tacos… well, I enjoyed both very much!
The evening for me was pretty relaxing. I didn’t say much, but decided to listen more. It was such an incredibly inspiring day full of tons of emotions, that all I wanted to do was sit and let it all sink in.
SO many inspiring ladies and work being done, and it had only been ONE DAY. I cannot even process that. I feel so close to these girls already and I cannot wait to see where these friendships take me.
Best #spraaangbreak yet.