This past weekend was anything but ordinary, it was extraordinary, but not because of the accommodations (serene and clean), nor because of the food (Master Chef quality), nor even because of the presenters (passionate and professional.) What made the weekend extraordinary were the open hearts and minds of the participants. Some attended in groups of 3 or 4, others with a best friend, and even more came alone, ready to embark on a personal journey of self-discovery. As one participant shared her initial hesitancy in participating in a foam-roller Pilates class, I couldn't help but acknowledge my own early reluctance to assist in the event. Whether participant or presenter we were similar as part of the human race; we all have fears, we all occasionally hear that voice of self-doubt, the voice that suggests there is safety in isolation rather than in participation, the voice that tells us we are crazy to want to commit to a health-related endeavor such as a wellness retreat, the voice that says you don't have the time, money, support to take time for yourself. Fortunately, I have become wise to this voice and recognize this is not the voice of Truth but rather the voice of fear which is not the force I desire to drive my life. So although it still speaks up sporadically I have become more adept at recognizing it and ignoring it by simply saying, "Yes, yes count me in."
Julianne Hutchcraft, coordinator of the event, designed Joy Cards and distributed them throughout Cedar Valley Resort...dining room tables, end tables, lounge rooms, workshops...no matter where you were there was encouragement to seek joy. As I shared at the event's closing ceremony, my Pilates practice parallels my life. Physically my muscles can get over-used, short and tight. Certain habits contribute to these changes (for instance my forward-head posture as I sit here and type...or simply the fact I am sitting!) Pilates seeks to diminish imbalances, to decrease tension and tightness and restore flexibility. The same can be true of my thinking muscle, my brain. We may become quite restricted in our thought processes, we may erroneously strengthen our negative thinking muscles through excess criticism and judgement. Just as we physically create faulty movement patterns due to overuse and underuse of certain muscles we create faulty thinking patterns through an imbalance of our reasoning processes. Stories of not being good enough, strong enough, thin enough, rich enough...when actually who we are is enough, we are complete. It is often not flexible bodies that we need but flexible minds. (Paraphrase from the renown movement specialist who said, “What I’m after isn’t flexible bodies, but flexible brains…to restore each person to their human dignity. ”--Moshe Feldenkrais)
With respect to the lovely vendors, practitioners, and participants we had nearly 45 people in attendance. Some spent the night while others commuted for the two-day event. Warm melodies by Dennis Hawk accompanied yoga classes as well as the welcome and farewell ceremony. Delicious aromas wafted through the resort as the chefs prepared abundant buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner, appealing to all dietary demands. Life-coaching, acupuncture, massage, yoga, Pilates, Restorative Exercise, healthy eating and essential oil classes ensured participants could learn and stay occupied as much or as little as possible. Some chose to skip a class simply to relax in their room or read a book while others took advantage of the winter sunshine and elected to snow-shoe through acres of wooded trails. At the conclusion of the event, as we were loading our cars with supplies, mats, rollers, and bolsters, the final participant, a busy mom of 3, emerged from her room with suitcase in tow, pleased to have taken advantage of the unique, last moments of solitude to reflect on all she had received during the weekend. It was a time of joy, laughter, kindness, knowledge, and camaraderie. Kindred spirits seeking to nurture and support each other, but most importantly seeking to nurture and support their own being emotionally, physically and spiritually.
We hope to see you next year for the EnJOY Wellness event! Thank you for your participation and support as well as the support from so many local businesses. I highly suggest a weekend to relax, restore, and rekindle your own magnificent Light at Cedar Valley Resort!
Thank you for reading.
Thank you for reading.