Finding My Mama Bliss

In February I experienced my first women’s retreat exclusively for mamas. I really had no idea what to expect going into it and would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I’m a hermit by nature and my heart raced at the thought of spending a whole weekend with people I didn’t know that well and most I didn’t know at all. The fear was for nought, for that weekend I dove into my soul alongside a roomful of amazing women. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing as I allowed myself to be vulnerable and expose hidden truths that I didn’t even know were there. It was the most emotionally exhausting weekend of my life, but it was also what I needed to happen at that point in my life; to break open my soul and explore the emotions that I didn’t know I had been avoiding for so long because I had thought it was easier to bury them rather than work through them.

I left the retreat feeling like a new butterfly fresh out of her cocoon just learning to spread her wings again. I also left feeling a connection – a feeling of sisterhood – with each and every one of the woman I had met that weekend. Upon leaving, I immediately knew I had to attend the next retreat, so I signed up then and there.

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Fast forward to this past weekend. The day I left for this retreat I asked my guides what message I should focus on for the weekend ahead. As I was shuffling the cards, The Lovers literally jumped out of the deck. I drew an additional two cards – Judgment and the Page of Wands. The message I received from my reading was one about self-love, transformation, and a new phase of life. The weekend did not disappoint.

moon on the water

When I arrived at the retreat I wasn’t nervous at all and instead I was filled with excitement for what was ahead. When I shared sacred space with these women again for the first time this weekend, I noticed a shift that had taken place within me. I could feel that I wasn’t the same person that had walked in at that first retreat just a few months prior. I could feel this self-confidence that had emerged from truly embracing myself and not caring what others thought of me. I could feel the calm created from the ongoing work of taking the time to process my emotions. I felt more at peace and more connected with myself. I hadn’t fully realized how much of a transformation I had already made on a spiritual and emotional level.

full moon

One of the most powerful moments of the weekend for me was doing the labyrinth walk. We had a short hike up to the labyrinth which waited for us in a clearing. The winding path laid out using rocks was a magical sight. When I stepped into the labyrinth and walked my way through a meditative state, I was overcome by the energy and connection I had with the earth beneath my feet and the women walking the path around me. It was overwhelming, powerful, and unexpected. It’s something that I’ll never forget.

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I ended the weekend with a better understanding of my journey. It was a weekend of acceptance and letting go of any fear I may have about what lies on the path ahead me. I left finding reassurance within myself that I am heading in the right direction and I have the answers I need – I only need to listen. I also left overwhelmed with gratitude for the sisterhood that is Mama Bliss.

Dream Body Art

Feeling Empowered Through Self-Defense

I have been wanting to take some kind of self-defense class. Although the trail I typically go jogging on is fairly popular, I always have that nagging worry in the back of my mind. I’m not constantly on guard worrying that somebody will assault me, but the thought is there. These what-if type of thoughts especially arise when I am out jogging with D in the stroller.

I was fortunate this week in that my husband came across some information about a free event that was taking place Saturday at Greenlake Park in Seattle. The event was organized by Fighting Chance Seattle, a martial arts dojo located in Ballard. Jordan, the owner of the dojo, wanted to have the event as a response to an incident that took place in October where a woman had been assaulted while walking around Greenlake. This is terrible, but what was even more terrible was how it was reported by the news. Apparently the message that was conveyed was that women should be afraid; that it’s not safe for women to go jogging alone, especially at Greenlake. To combat this message, an event for a free 1-hour hands-on self-defense course was organized, specifically for female runners.

I was excited when my husband told me about this event and of course I attended the class. The class, called Run Prepared, focused on some key tips on how to be an aware and empowered runner, and how to avoid being a “crappy victim”. We were then shown five different strikes and how to escape three different holds which we then got to practice with the instructors, who, I might mention, are students of the dojo who volunteered their time for the event. The class felt very empowering as I stood alongside 35 women learning how to kick butt and protect themselves should they ever need to. By the end of the class I had a good grasp on how to defend myself and how to avoid finding myself in a dangerous situation to begin with. I left wanting to learn more and am looking forward to taking a full self-defense class.

Today while out on my run, I put what I learned yesterday into practice. I was more aware of my surroundings and focused on making myself not look like a good target. I actually felt more confident as a runner which helped when I came across two men on the trail. They weren’t typical trail-goers. What I mean by that is that they weren’t out for a jog, bike ride, or out enjoying each others company while on a leisurely walk. From what I gathered from their loud conversation, their car had run out of gas. As I ran past them, one of them began catcalling, which pretty much never happens on this trail. Instead of feeling fearful or anxious, I felt mad. How dare you? I thought. Instead of hunching down and making myself small, I made myself bigger and I ran harder and faster, all the while in my mind I replayed the self-defense tactics I had learned the day prior. After I got home I realized just how much one hour had changed my disposition. Just applying some tips and tricks to be more aware of myself and my surroundings while having some defense moves in my back pocket just in case has made me a more confident and empowered woman.

I highly recommend taking a self-defense class. As women, we have the right to feel empowered and confident and to not be afraid. To learn more about Fighting Chance Seattle, check them out here. Also be on the lookout for a documentary about the event yesterday to learn more about what was taught.