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The dramatic setting for the first evening of our women’s retreat at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health.

Renee Trudeau's picture

I’ve been leading women’s retreats for 25 years and every single time I’m humbled and amazed by how much I learn and am reminded of by the beautiful women who show up in our circle. (Read why I lead retreats.)

This past weekend I was at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health—one of my favorite retreat centers and the largest of its kind in North America-where I supported a large group of women from around the world in exploring new ways of being and learning the art/science of self-care. Every time I enter our magical retreat space, I try to always stay open to seeing and hearing things in new ways and to experiencing the weekend through the eyes of someone who is there for the first time. And every time these women bring me to my knees.

Here are some nuggets of wisdom I heard–and received–from our attendees this past weekend:

  • “My definition of self-care has been turned upside down. I thought it was just about scheduling ‘me time,’ but I now get that it’s about cultivating a whole new relationship with myself.”
  • “I forgot how much I loved to dance and sing and play. It brought tears to my eyes that I had abandoned this part of myself –for decades. I feel more alive than I have in a long time.”
  • “I realize now how much of my life is on auto-pilot. I am now rising to the challenge to ‘do it different’ and plan to start by entering each day with intention, maybe even a meditation!”
  • “Wow. I’ve never gathered with women like this, I had no idea this type of sisterhood was even possible. Women supporting women in this way is a gift I’ve never tapped.”
  • “I get it. I can now see that taking time to focus on my inner world-my hopes/fears/dreams/current state–is as essential as oxygen. And that my outer world IS a reflection of my inner world.”
  • “We’re all always learning; whether you’re 25 or 75 we all have things to teach each other. Experiencing this was refreshing and validating.” (The women in our retreat spanned five decades.)
  • “I was surprised by how deep my longing is to be authentic and to dialogue with other women around rich, meaningful topics. We all crave this. This is going to really shift how I relate to women I meet in my daily life.”
  • “When I go home, I’m planning to pause a lot more during the day to just check-in and ask, ‘What do I need?’ This is a radical concept for me, but I really get how essential this is!”

I know that it’s a privilege, joy and honor to hold space for women to find their way back to their truth. To connect with their Wise Selves–that part of them that sees their highest and best (read more).

Today as I went about my day–making breakfast for my family, walking with a friend, going to a school meeting, working and replying to emails–I couldn’t stop thinking about Marie. A sweet mother of four kids ranging from elementary to high school age, Marie attended one of my retreats and shared with me it was her first time ever to be away from her family and do something like this. I wonder how her experience (she called it life-changing) will impact her and her loved ones and how many positive ripples will be created for years to come.

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