[October 8 – 9, 2016]
By: Meghan McAtasney
Words have power, we are powerful. Those are two of the most immediate truths I learned while attending Jennifer Oppelt’s Desire Map Retreat at Thank You Mama this past weekend. As one of five women who set out on this journey – the destination being way, way inside, where our core desired feelings hide – I discovered quite a few things about myself and this life that have ultimately changed me.
First, take a seat
For me, the hardest part has always been the beginning. Where do I start? Am I doing this right? Decision making stalls my activation, my creativity. This retreat was an invitation to be guided, to have little say in how things were planned, processed, or played. Yet, the outcome was powerful. All I had to do was take a seat. Right away, I noticed a white gift bag next to the cushion I picked and a card that read, “love the necessary hard work.” Being someone who has been completely overwhelmed with the to-do lists of a full-time working mother of four, I knew right away I was exactly where I needed to be. The right seat chose me.
Establish a connection
I scanned the room, observed. The smell, light, energy of the others around me, it was radiant. Before long, my journalist curiosity came creeping out. Who were these five other women in this circle? What are their stories? Will they judge me for my half-ass spiritual efforts, or my lack of meditation practice? I thought about the times I rejected things that felt too earthy or too stuck in previous decades, afraid I’d feel phony or strange. But when Jennifer got us talking, it was so entirely beautiful – so intrinsic. We were each in a different place, wanting completely separate things – but wide open. We’d blush when we were honest, or shed a tear because we felt broken. What we envied in the other made us smile. This was connection. This was authentic. This was raw. Was this sisterhood?
Work towards one collective goal
Then came some of the most necessary hard work I’ve ever been given: the writing portion. I made sure to get as comfy as possible during our writing exercises. I found rest on a heated massage bed in an empty room and let my pen do the heavy lifting. I was writing again – something I hadn’t been doing as often as soon as it became my job. But I wanted to discover truth, and had finally arrived at the right questions. What’s not working? What is? How can I be grateful for what I have with this innate longing to always want more? Now we were getting somewhere.
Pour your heart out
Now share. Release the worry, the stress, the times you felt like less than enough, let it burn. Time to put these feelings into words. Be still and silent, alert and rested. Listen to the soothing sound of Danielle LaPorte’s voice. Follow Jennifer’s guidance. Awaken your inner core. Share vision and fear. Find strength in the person sitting next to you. Declare it. How do you want to feel?
Keep the sacred space
The mapping was complete; we arrived at our core desired feelings. But when we left, would we still feel the strength of the sacred space we were leaving? I carried my words with me and admired the #truthbomb Jennifer selected for me: “Let your joy rise to the surface.” And in the days since, I’ve had the most wonderful conversations with the people I love. I feel full again; ready to laugh in the moments I formerly wanted to cry. I keep my sacred space with me in my car and at my desk at work. I let my mind find gratitude and peace in moments of chaos. Words have power, we are powerful.
My core desired feelings are treasured, carefree, replenished.
I am treasured. carefree. replenished.