In the Pursuit of Happiness: Part II – Community and Laughter

September 18, 2017


I am writing this with heavy eyelids and complete exhaustion, but with more excitement, empowerment and motivation than I’ve had in a while.  I just finished my first ever WILD Women retreat.  I wasn’t sure what to expect of 3 days in the mountains with 15 women of all walks of life who were trekking into some new terrain (literally and figuratively).  I planned out a weekend of what I thought would be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging.  A weekend that would be inspiring and instigate self-reflection.  A retreat different from any other I had ever attended or coached where women would be out of their comfort zone, without a set itinerary or schedule but just embracing what presented itself.  A place of laughter, tears, learning, cussing, and rawness.  A way to gain back a part of themselves that had possibly been lost or hadn’t yet been found.

Like I said, I didn’t know what to expect, but like most things in life I did have expectations.  Those expectations were met, but in SUCH a different way than I ever could have imagined.  I had my little purple binder prepped with notes on all the topics of discussion I hoped would give these amazing women something to ponder.  I had fun “activities” to hopefully help with engagement.  Of everything on “the list”, two of the things actually happened as a group, but the others happened organically.  It was never the right time to just break apart intimate conversations and dive into group discussions.  It was never the right time to stop the constant laughter and chatter of these buzzing women.  The energy was electric, they were all bonding and that was the ultimate goal!

As I have mentioned in the past, I am an introvert who throws herself into extrovert situations.  A girl whose passion is being in the woods by herself, chose to be in nature with 15 other women!  My nerves and anxiety were through the roof going into the weekend but quickly settled into pure excitement and happiness as I saw what the weekend was going to be and continued to be. I learned so much.  I learned things I will do differently on the next retreat, things that went great, things that I need to add and take out.  It was affirmed yet again that when a group of women get together, powerful things happen.  I truly believe we create our own happiness, but I think the biggest take away for me this weekend was choosing to surround yourself with good people and laughing your face off as much as you can sure does help.  Yes, we all know that women are strong as hell, but women are also really frickin funny!

A weekend that had several things go wrong (we didn’t have oil for cooking, we had two people get lost on the way there, we had people struggling on the hike, we had breast pumps break and boobs almost explode, it was freezing and we couldn’t have a fire because of the fire ban)… but everyone kept a great attitude, we all picked each other up when someone was down, we reminded each other of the strength they had when things got tough.  We all brought our own talents to contribute to the group as a whole.  A chiropractor adjusted women with headaches. A midwife taught a women how to extract milk without a pump.  A domestic goddess taught me how to cook with heavy cream.  We were a tribe.  We were a community… if even just for 3 days.

I spent a lot of time observing, because that’s what I do, and I’m not sure that in 3 days there were 5 minutes without laughter.  Sometimes just one or two women giggling, but typically gut busting, tear producing, cheek cramping laughter.  I don’t think I have laughed that hard for that long in years.  It was freeing.  It was contagious.  It was therapeutic.

When you surround yourself by like-minded people who will push you to challenge yourself, call you on your shit, and make you see life in a positive way, you have a community.  When you have a supportive community, magical things happen and you have happiness.  When you surround yourself with people who constantly pull you down, question or threaten your dreams and make you feel bad, you have a recipe for disaster.

I challenge you to look around you.  Who do you choose to be around?  Who do you spend most of your time with?  Do they support you?  Do you support them?  Do you have things in common but also differ enough to push each other?  Do you learn and grow with your community or are you stagnant?  Do you laugh?  Do you laugh often?

I am so tired right now from weeks of prep, the execution of the weekend and the clean up that still has to happen.  But I am home feeling revived, inspired and happy.  Truly happy!  Thank you to my WILD Women tribe.

#HeyJenny #10ishMiles #HikeLiar #FM (all inside jokes from the weekend).

This weeks “Favorites” won’t include an exercise or recipe… just been too busy.  But a quote to think about.

“When a flower doesn’t bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower.” ~Alexander Den Heijer

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