Last month I took myself away for a weekend in Wales for Lou Archell’s Sisterhood Retreat. It was totally out of character for me to leave my family, hop in my car with two strangers, and drive 5 hours down the M4 to a remote part of Wales.
In the week running up to it I panicked and wondered if I’d made a mistake, telling myself I wasn’t creative enough to do something like this, and breathing in gulps of fear about not knowing anyone. But I rode through that fear and reminded myself how good it would be to get some respite and space to retune myself after a month solo parenting.
I need not have worried, the women I met that weekend were remarkable, kind, open and generous with their time and their conversation. Many were mothers, who like me had left behind their most precious loved ones and made the long journey to some place and some thing unknown. All the women I met were creative in some way or other; potters, weavers, painters, photographers, glass blowers, writers, bloggers, stylists, florists. Whilst we were all so different, we had one thing in common: we wanted to reconnect with ourselves and with other women in a safe and open space. We wanted to step out of our hectic daily lives and take some time just for us.
It turns out a weekend spent with beautiful, strong and supportive women was just the ticket. I left camp feeling refreshed, physically and mentally recharged and inspired by the conversations and connections I had made during my stay.
Lou has created something very special in Sisterhood. It’s not in the least bit cliquey like I had feared and there was a sense of ‘anything goes’ amongst us. We could say anything, share anything, open our hearts and bear our vulnerabilities.
There was plenty of light heartedness, giggling and merriment woven through the weekend. Creativity was abundant with workshops including foraging for wild flowers and learning how to make an arrangement of blooms with guidance from Erin; we learnt the art of mindfulness and how to truly listen to our gut instinct from Sas; we gathered around large tables decorated by the incredible talent that is Hannah; we ate wholesome, delicious food, chatted, laughed and shared together; we watched as Elinor (the hilarious Beach Hut Cook) made Shakshuka over an open fire and then shared in the feast together.
It was a weekend I will always cherish, one that moved me and changed me in the simplest of ways. Mostly I felt encouraged, that we are all good enough, that women together can be a wonderful thing, and that taking time out just for you is one of the most important things we can do as mothers. I’m looking forward to next year’s retreat already.