Chantel Carlson, recently attended the January Detox & Yoga Retreat, as well as a Yoga Nurture Retreat in June. I had the pleasure of visiting with her on both occasions. This is her story.
In May 2016 I made a difficult decision about my health. I was 43-years-old, and I had spent almost 30 years of my life suffering from the debilitating effects of endometriosis. After the latest round of hormone therapy failed me (yet again), I made an appointment to see my gynecologist. When she walked into the exam room, she sat down in front of me and said, “It’s time.” And even though I knew the time for a hysterectomy had come, it was still an emotional journey. I had accepted the fact that I wasn’t going to have any children of my own long before I met my husband, but knowing I was having my uterus, cervix, and one ovary removed was still difficult to imagine – it’s so much of who we are as women. What defines us. But I also knew what defined me was living a meaningful life without pain, and to me, that outweighed the negatives.
It took a full year to get used to my new body, and to be honest, the healing process was not as easy as I had hoped. My friends who had taken this journey told me to be patient and also said that one day I would wake up and forget my surgery had happened.
A year later that time came, and I began to think about my body in a different way. With the “diseased” parts removed, I wanted to honor and celebrate this new beginning, but I wasn’t sure how. I thought about a retreat, so I began doing random Google searches, not really knowing exactly what I was looking for. All I knew is I wanted a place focused on women – not just moms, not just single women, not just divorcees.
I wanted a retreat where women would gather in support of one another…gather in celebration of who we are. In celebration of where we are in our lives no matter what that looked like.
The recent loss of a woman from our retreat community has not only been devastating, but also a reminder to reach out and connect with each other.
Megan was an inspiring woman who lived life on her own terms. She loved her cats, her friends, reading, yoga and being outside. She lived alone. She was what I consider a strong independent woman, with a soft heart for good causes – rescue cats, Stefanie Tovar’s community outreach program, and friends in need. She was caring, thoughtful and sweet natured.
When I first met Megan in November 2015 she’d made origami cranes for each guest at the retreat. Everyone was touched by her thoughtfulness. As we were leaving the retreat, one of the other guests had a dead battery. Megan saved the day with her jumper cables. Just another example of her thoughtfulness and practical nature.
We chatted about her bike riding, her hiking, her cats, her adventures with REI. A little about her job, I got the feeling that while she was good at what she did, it didn’t define her. She enjoyed and lived life to the fullest.
I thought to myself, we’re kindred spirits, we definitely need to get together sometime. While we chatted occassionally at yoga, I never reached out. I truly regret not making the effort. I would have loved getting to know her better, even if it was just to listen to her contagious laugh.
We’re all in this life together, and as women, even though we come from different places and backgrounds, we have so much in common with each other. Reach out today and make a connection.
If you’d like to honor Megan, please consider making a donation to one of Megan’s favorite causes:
May is our month to celebrate you and to celebrate women everywhere. To celebrate our strengths and our vulnerabilities, our struggles and our achievements, our hopes and our dreams.
Join our community of amazing women who will understand, encourage and inspire you at a retreat. You may just meet your new best friend.
As Diondra said in February, “We come together as women who have nothing in common, but really, we have everything in common.”
Mothers are truly incredible women. There are no words that can adequately describe the role that they play in our lives. Some of us have the gift of friendship with our mother (something that I am personally incredibly grateful for and blessed by), others have lost their mothers, and some have never met their mothers. We all have a different story to tell about our own, but the role played by a mother is an invaluable thing – whether it’s a birth mother or a grandmother or someone else that might have stepped in when we needed mothering, we each experience a very bond with our mother. A relationship that deserves to be celebrated more than once a year. Here are quotes celebrating 100 years of honoring mothers on Mother’s Day.
In some of our recent newsletters, we asked readers to share with us why their mother deserved a getaway at Retreat in the Pines. And while I didn’t submit my story, it wouldn’t have been picked anyways – I’m guessing that it probably wouldn’t be very relaxing if my mom won a retreat and had to host it at the same time. Katie, however, submitted her entry for the “Why My Mom Deserves a Retreat” giveaway and the story she shared with us about her mother was one that we couldn’t pass up.
Keep reading for Katie’s story, and then my own.