They say that when a woman goes on a journey, she changes her community because she shares her found knowledge with everyone she knows. This is my platform to do that. Over the weekend, I took a trip to Black Mountain, NC and immersed myself in a community of women at the South East Wise Woman Conference.
For almost three days, I was part of this movement of give and take. I attended classes, soaking up knowledge about herbs and preparations, social and cultural dynamics, pediatric care, and spiritual awakening. At the same time, I gave myself completely to the ebb and flow of the process, learning but also contributing my heart to the ceremonies and the women around me, through dance, stories, and laughter.
Being away from my family was a humbling and life changing shift for me. While it was actually painful to be away from my children and husband, it also allowed me to reflect and reach out to strangers around me, which I wouldn’t have done if I had the safety net of my loved ones with me. This inner reflection and vulnerability helped me think about what kind of mother, wife, and woman I wanted to be when I returned home.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned was that I could take care of myself. I didn’t really have anyone to rely on while I was there and for the most part, felt somewhat like a wandering nomad. I ate most of my meals in solitude, sitting next to the lake by myself and watching everyone else engage with friends and family. My only meal spent with others was on my final morning, when I was finally able to find other solo flyers to talk to.
Through this somewhat lonely quest, I learned what feels like a lifetime of skills.
Other than having the opportunity to hear other women speak of herbs and see hands on demos of herbal preparations and medicines, the thing I enjoyed most was the tribal feeling I got from the ceremonies. These were women with a purpose- coming together and learning how to be better mothers, daughters, wives, teachers, healers, and listeners. Growing into better people for a better world.
October 11th was the “Day of the Girl,” and the wise women of Black Mountain did not let the day pass unnoticed. Instead they made sure that all girls were honored, even the ones we adults hold inside of us. To do this they expressed gratitude through song and movement, and young girls from toddler through teens danced- some in flowing fabrics, which they twirled and flapped around them like graceful butterflies. Each girl had the chance to voice why she was “proud to be a girl,” and it was very moving to hear the confidence and assurance flowing through these young minds. It made me so happy that there are girls being raised to see their true potential and not be afraid to show it…and it made me cry because I wished I had that kind of support when I was a young adolescent.
Going into this experience, I assumed that my transformation would be an intellectual one- picking up natural remedies and propelling my education in plants and ways to use them effectively. What I wasn’t expecting was a heart transformation- allowing myself to be raw and real. I didn’t shower, I didn’t wear makeup, and I didn’t have wi-fi. My cellphone usage in fact was extremely limited- I only had enough battery power to speak to my family a couple times, before it abandoned me and furthered my losses…from that point on I didn’t even have the ability to check time on my own. I also didn’t have any coffee or control over schedule- it was like existing in an alternate reality.
Through all of this, I was completely accepted by my fellow women- even though at times I felt very much alone, I found that when I opened up and reached out, I was embraced wholeheartedly. I made new friends, met other homeschoolers and bloggers that were soul searching just like me, and I even exchanged information with a kindred spirit. Most of all, I was supported totally by mother nature and divine consciousness- every day I prayed for direction and reassurance, and every day I cried. I think it was the intense overwhelming feeling of emotion and energy that I felt in this web of women- and it was cleansing as each hour, another piece of my ego fell away and I just allowed myself…to be me. Without judgment or worry about what others would think if I did.
Outsiders may think that Wise Woman is just another hippy love fest. Yes, there are hippies, and yes, there is love, but there is a thirst for greatness that I have not encountered anywhere else.
I was able to come back from my trip with more direction in my step, more love in my heart, and thankfulness on my lips. In the coming months, my hopes is to share with others what I have learned.
For now, I’m just going to relish in the fact that I am home…and all is well.