Words are powerful. They shape our communication, understanding, and connection to one another. Every word holds images, emotions, biases, and past experiences unique to each person. We have the dictionary definitions and then we have all the ways we have defined the words through our filter to the world. When we hear a word, we don’t go to the dictionary in our minds, we go to a feeling. Try it:
Did you define it or did you feel it, see it, remember it?
Because the word sacred may hold many meanings to each woman, let us explain our use of sacred for the purposes of Sacred Mothers Retreat. By sacred we mean honored, revered, regarded with great respect. There’s some holiness, goddess, and connection to a greater power. There’s a sense of divine purpose, access to wisdom, some worthiness of veneration. The retreat is a space we hold for a sacred experience, and all mamas are sacred beings. We are sacred beings doing some of the most important (and sometimes unrecognized) work on the planet. You can’t find our retreat’s definition of sacred in the dictionary. Sacred mamas (that’s every mama) are given this title to bring reverence to the motherhood experience.
In order to stay anchored in our vision for the retreat, each organizer of Sacred Mothers Retreat has chosen a word that holds special meaning to her. A word that guides our decisions about the experience we provide mamas. A word that ties our actions to our greatest intentions. You may have seen our anchor words on the website, business cards and posters:
REJUVENATE. LOVE. HEAL. CONNECT. HONOR.
As we are faced with choices about this sacred experience, we continuously ask ourselves, “Does it rejuvenate? Will it embody love? Does it create space to heal? Can mamas connect to themselves and others? Will it honor the journey of each woman?” To understand more about our anchoring words, each sacred mama explains her purposeful choice.
REJUVENATE. A word from Ann Rivera.
To me, rejuvenate signifies an action to bring one's self back to center. A return to a state of calm, well-being, and liveliness. I am constantly trying to find ways to rejuvenate myself in this motherhood journey. There have been many chapters as a mother when I have felt lifeless, tired, tapped out, and uninspired for self care. This can be a damaging place to be for me physically, spiritually, and emotionally. When I am here I have nothing left to give. When I think of rejuvenation, I envision a mother with wild long hair with her arms extended standing beneath a waterfall as the water pours down over her, washing her clean inside and out, and she steps forward rejuvenated, restored, reawakened, re-energized, refreshed. She is revived.
There was a dark chapter in motherhood I experienced recently where the challenges of caring for my kids were overwhelming and suffocating. I had lost touch with my self-care routine since the sleep patterns of my littles were inconsistent and exhausting. I had to nap myself any time both kids were asleep at the same time which didn't allow for any meditation, yoga, writing, connection with others, healthy food choices, and all the other things that make me feel my best. I was just trying to get through hour to hour. Then I was invited to a women's retreat, and this was the catalyst for a big shift for me. I felt nurtured, heard, rested, inspired, and most of all, I walked away rejuvenated. Motivated to rise above my challenges as a mother and committed to my self care. I was full of life again.
Rejuvenation reminds me of getting a massage. The body is released of tension. You are soothed, calmed, and your overall well-being improves. Rejuvenation at the Sacred Mothers Retreat is like a massage for your heart and soul. With gentle and intentional strokes, the retreat will relieve you from the inside out, helping to restore you at a deep level to help maintain that feeling even after you leave.
LOVE. A word from Lauren Van Coutren.
I chose love as my anchor word because I believe that love is the the root of everything. I believe it is as important and essential to humans as water is. I also believe moms especially need the love because they are giving so much of it and are not always on the receiving end as much as they need or desire.
Love has helped me through life more times than I can count. At times when I have felt the lowest of lows, someone has reached out and has shown me the most beautiful unconditional love. In that moment, I am able to overcome the darkness because I have been shown the light of love. Love is so powerful and there is not one human that can not benefit from it. You can't get too much love!
I can't wait to love on mamas at our retreat. As I said before, I believe moms need extra amounts of love. Moms are so good at giving and sharing the love and not always so good at receiving or taking time for self care and love. I want to listen to moms share their inner most truths. I want to see moms for the beautiful goddesses that they are and make sure they know how beautiful they are.
HEAL. A word from Camden Sabat
I've spent the last year or so working on healing myself and reconciling past trauma. I've found that participating in women's circles and meditation have really helped me in that. So, when we began discussing the possibility of putting Sacred Mothers Retreat together, it felt really important to me to bring that experience to other women.
After the birth of my second son, I really started questioning who I am beyond my roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister, niece, and friend. I started looking at my relationship patterns and trying to discern why they exist and what I can do to change them. I learned that the foundation for who we are and what we feel can be established through trauma, especially childhood trauma. In trying to heal that trauma and change those patterns, I'm rediscovering myself and what I value in life and in my relationships with others.
We have worked hard to create a sacred space for participants to feel safe in expressing themselves openly and honestly. In addition to holding space, I feel like several of the weekend's activities, including meditation, circle, inner exploration, and ceremony, provide an opportunity to heal.
CONNECT. A word from Shanti O’Connor.
Through my own personal experience, I have learned that connection is one of my basic human needs. When I say connection, I mean having meaningful connection to myself as well as other people. The more I live this beautiful life of mine, the more I realize the importance of having a loving connection with myself.
Without connection, without honoring myself and my needs, I become overwhelmed, easily frustrated, and angry. Without meaningful connection with other women, I find my life to be isolating, lonely, hard, and challenging. For me, healthy connection is my lifeblood, my pulse. Connection is healing for me and it helps me to strive to be a better human being.
Connection to others and myself has taught me valuable lessons. It has taught me empathy, compassion, love, and joy. It has also taught me greater tolerance and acceptance of myself and my mistakes which allows me to do the same for another person.
The more I have been able to foster a connection with myself through honoring and acknowledging my thoughts and feelings, the more anchored I am in my body. The more anchored in my body, the easier it is to authentically connect with other people. My connection to self has shown me what is and isn’t mine and how to honor myself with healthy boundaries.
So, I chose connection as my anchor word because I hope to teach women the healing power of true, authentic, raw, vulnerable, and loving connection with the self first and then others.
It is my goal as an organizer and facilitator to have connection as the foundation of our retreat. We have created activities like circle time to allow for connection to easily and naturally happen. We have purposely chosen every activity that will foster and create deep connection. I see every woman in this retreat being fully seen and heard by her peers and being held in the truth of who she is. I see connection being the catalyst that allows each woman to be vulnerable and open to the deeper more hidden parts of herself. I see connection creating a container that allows women to begin the inner healing process.
HONOR. A word from Rhea Grogan.
I chose honor as a retreat anchoring word because I wish to honor the unique wisdom, experience, and journey of every woman. I want to be anchored in honor for the heartbreaking, exhausting, and trying themes of the motherhood journey, as well as the heart healing, life giving, and enlightening experiences we share as mothers. And likewise, we honor the ways in which each of us has taken a different journey, without judgment, comparison, or competition. Just a sense of honor.
I’ve spent lots of my life trying to figure out what people want from me. Trying to shape myself in a way that pleases, to fit in, to be noticed in all the right ways, to achieve, and be damn near “perfect.” I’ve gotten so good at looking outward for information about how to be, I’ve had to relearn how to listen to myself, how to know what’s best for me, how to honor my own intuition. Shortly after my second child was born, the walls holding me up began to crumble. Those walls were built with bricks of outside approval, held together with praise, stacked with opinions of others. Motherhood has broken me open and sent me on an inner journey. I have been prompted to break down and rebuild my inner structure. My new building has a foundation of self knowing, bricks of acceptance, and mortar of trust for my intuition. There is no place for the nails of judgment and comparison. I am learning to honor Myself, while honoring others.
The space of our retreat is rooted in a sense of honor for the imperfectly perfect journey each Mama is taking, as she navigates her Self, her relationships and her highest Truth. It is all very beautiful.
Words are important. In sharing the personal experiences and intentions behind the words of Sacred Mothers Retreat, we hope to create greater understanding, greater connection. Not only for mamas who can be at the retreat, or mamas we know, but we hope to foster a greater connection with all mamas on this sacred journey. We are not alone. We are in this together. Word, Mamas.