Last year I started to feel restless and overwhelmed with my life.
I remember listening to Molly on a podcast as she was reading her I am enough manifesto. I cried to myself because I knew there was something missing, something out of balance in my life.
It was a little voice inside of me that I couldn’t understand at the time.
Soon after, I began regularly following Stratejoy and connecting with the tribe of women online. I journeyed through the Joy Equation, and began discovering so much about myself that I’d never considered like where I was standing and where I wanted to go.
Through Stratejoy and Molly, what began as a dim light became a sparkle and now that sparkle is a burning flame. I learned so much about myself, and learned new tools to live with joy in this messy world. The answers flooded in once I started to listen to my inner-warrior-nurturer voice.
I didn’t knew how powerful the support of this community was going to be until I lost my dad earlier this year. My heart was broken and I was grieving. I was walking into a dark storm, with a bright star in the sky that was so out of reach. But, I found refuge in gratitude, which opened the door to Joy in the middle of the darkness and sorrow.
Right then and there I decided to sign up for Summer Camp.
Now, I’m going to camp with a fully open mind, heart and soul.
I want to learn about myself and connect with other strong, resilient women who have overcome adversity.
I want to feel the energy and support of this tribe up close and personal.
I want to explore myself deeper, in a safe place where I will get the chance to be authentic, free of restriction and judgement.
I want to listen and sing together with my inner nurturing voice. I want to live it up, fully and fiercely. Laugh out loud, carelessly, and cry with all my heart and soul with pure joy. Dance around the fire, open up my free spirit, let my sparkles fly away. Explore the healer in me that goes beyond the conventional. Be in communion with nature and feel the energy of the earth.
I’m going to camp because now I can understand that little voice inside me. And she says it’s time to release, renew, find freedom within, connect with the flow and to, finally, be at ease with who I am in the world.
It’s not easy to put into words why I am coming to camp. I first heard about it last summer just before camp started and thought to myself, “What a wonderful and powerful way to lift up women!”
And right then, I set the intention to make it happen in 2016.
Because in life, sometimes I am the lifter and sometimes the one being lifted. Most recently I need to be lifted.
Two years ago I divorced my husband for the second time. Yes, same man, two divorces. We have three children together, but do not make each other happy.
So, for now, I work at the high school in our small town. I do love my job and the people I spend my time with. But, my oldest son has begun dating and is preparing for the move to college. And I am discovering that I won’t always be center of my children’s life. If I’m being honest, although the little ones keep me on my toes for now, that feeling is uncomfortable!
Lately I’ve been considering where I find my own joy outside of parenting.
The bottom line for me when in came to deciding to come to camp is that, like so many women I know, I’m a mom, an employee and a daughter who has rarely put herself first. That usually feels okay for most of the year, but this summer I want 5 days that are about me.
To journal and bond, to connect and just have fun.
And even though I won’t know anyone when I get there, I’m ready to so ready to make new connections and to reconnect with the kid inside that doesn’t get enough opportunity to come out and play.
But, most of all, I’m looking forward to getting back to knowing myself.
I chose the name “Willow” as my name for Summer Camp this year.
The Willow tree is my favorite thing in nature. Like me, it is tall and it is strong. It is resilient with its flexible branches and strong roots, withstanding whatever mother nature throws at it, even the strongest winds.
I survived a massive heart attack in 2009, with two more damaging tears in my arteries since. But I’m still here, albeit a bit slow some days. The willow tree sums up me and my life right now.
Camping is in my blood and I couldn’t be more excited about it. But, truly, I’m still scared.
The part that is scary for me is doing this on my own. I am very much an introvert and am on the shy, quiet side when it comes to talking to and meeting people face to face. I paint murals for a living, which I love, but its a very solitary job which prevents me from making lasting connections with people.
And for the last 23 years I have mostly been Mom and Wife. Although my husband and I are separating, my focus has always on family. Now that the kids are mostly grown,I realized that I went from my parent’s house to my husband’s at 21 years old, and I’ve never had to fend for myself before. This transition in my life is scary, and sometimes lonesome, but every day gets a little better and a little easier.
With all of this change, my focus this year is, of course, on me. On learning to take care of myself, by myself and to love myself in the process. On learning to grow my business so it will support me, and meeting new people because I don’t have those strong connections.
So when summer camp popped up in my inbox one day (as well as several other signs about camping and connecting with others over the following days and weeks) – it felt like the universe was giving me a push to step outside my comfort zone and leap, even if I’m a little scared.
Even though it took me until the last minute, and despite the bits that make me anxious, I am coming to camp because I need it. For myself. For my heart.
Earlier this year, I created a giant vision board for 2016 that is now on my office wall. One of the central things on it all about making new friends and and having new adventures.
What better place to do that than at summer camp?
If you hear that little voice inside, want to find your own joy or are scared but know you have to do this anyway – it’s not too late. Tickets for Stratejoy Summer Camp are available through Monday, June 20th.