The year was 2008. I was living on my own in an adorable studio apartment. This sacred space held my heart as I began an epic search to unearth who I was and what I stood for. Like so many times in my life, I felt lost in this great big world. The eternal question “why am I here and what is my purpose?” played on repeat in my head.
I reached for books and devoured blog post seeking inspiration in hopes that it would help guide me down the path I was meant to travel. Deep in my heart, I knew I had to stop playing small and give myself permission to be seen. The only problem was, I had no idea how to do that or if I was really capable of it.
In the midst of this swirling unknown; I took a leap. I saw that Andrea Scher was teaching a photography class at SQUAM Arts Workshop and I signed up. This meant that I would spend four days in the woods of New Hampshire with a bunch of people I have never met before.
Traveling with strangers was not new to me. Before college started I took a trip to Quebec with other students starting freshman year for a pre-orientation. Then while in college did an alternative spring break program with a group where we went to Oaxaca to help out in the community. I also jumped in a car with a friend and someone she knew but I had never met to treck across the US.
There was something thrilling to me about traveling with individuals I’ve never met. Each trip I learned more about myself, met fabulous people, plus got to see some pretty epic places. So four days in the woods, why not?
I listened to the tiny whispers in my heart, trusted my intuition and said yes to SQUAM. What I didn't realize at the time was that I wasn’t just saying yes to attending the workshop, what I was really saying yes to was myself. I was taking the first steps towards standing in my own light and I didn’t even realize it.
Those four days in the woods shifted me in a way I didn’t know I needed shifting. We all began as strangers but left with a deep sense of connection. My heart was blown wide open as I was given myself permission to play and explore.
Looking back on the person I was eleven years ago I appreciate the courage it took to take the chance. I am proud of myself for going despite the huge unknown. I can see now the strength I had then, the strength I didn’t see in myself at the time.
Moving through moments like that has laid the groundwork for where I am today. Had I never attended SQUAM I am sure my life would look very different than it does at this moment.
It is incredible how one moment can change everything.
We seldom know when we are in one of those life-altering moments. At the time we have no idea that we are weaving together pieces of our future. With each step forward we are setting ourselves up to expand in new and incredible ways.
What we do know is that it takes courage to show up and that it will most likely be accompanied by discomfort. It took a whole lot of courage for me to say yes and what followed was navigating that discomfort But once I settled in, my world expanded and I was changed for the better. there were many moments of discomfort as I navigated this new terrain. But once I settled in my world expanded.
Eleven years ago I began to lay the groundwork for where I am standing today. At that moment I had no idea that this was the path I was going to take, but I knew that I had to trust my instincts. And that is what I keep doing, trusting and moving forward. Leaping and learning.
How are you laying the stepping stones for your future self? Know that each decision you make is weaving together a beautiful tapestry that is YOU! Choose what lights you up and takes you beyond your comfort zone. The world needs to see the brilliance that is inside of you. Give yourself permission to shine!
Are you looking for an opportunity to lay down your own stepping stones for the future? Maybe shake up what’s inside and unearth your path forward? Do you crave connection with like-minded souls?
As human beings, we need these moments to help us grow into who we are meant to be. Retreat is a beautiful and sacred way to cultivate this. It provides an opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and reconnect to your great big beautiful heart!