August is the month when many people take vacations. It is a time to leave our familiar surroundings and immerse ourselves in a different landscape. It is an opportunity to become unplugged from computers, cell phone, televisions, newspapers, and all the outer noises that prevent us from experiencing life in the moment. It is surprising what we can learn when we take the time to stop, look, and listen.
Our two daughters are in their twenties, and for the first time in over four years we recently managed to get away as a family. We went to Cape Cod, an area where I grew up vacationing every summer and after my parents retired there, passed the tradition down to my family. So while in many ways this was a trip down memory lane, it had a different twist this time. In recent years, I have learned the importance of personal retreating, and for the first time on a family trip I managed to include some quality, solitary time as well.
During the stolen moments of quiet walks, journaling, and reflection, I noticed that in addition to my husband and daughters, I had another companion on this journey. The first time I saw it, we were just leaving for our long drive, and I looked up to see a red-tailed hawk circling high above our home. A happy feeling washed over me and I saw this as a good omen for what was to come. The second time it appeared, I had just returned from an early morning walk on the beach my first morning on the Cape. I was sitting on the deck overlooking the bay, contently writing in my journal. Again I looked up to see a red-tail circling, this time very low right above me. “Hmmm,” I thought, “It’s welcoming me here. That’s very auspicious. When I get home I’ll have to look up the hawk totem.”
Then around the fifth day, I went for a walk at the Wellfleet Audubon Conservancy. No sooner had I entered the trail than I nearly had a head on collision with another red-tailed hawk. It came darting out of the woods chased by an angry little bird. About three feet from my face, it banked hard to the right and landed on a dead branch six feet away. We had a serious eye to eye exchange, until the smaller birds again chased it away.
Okay I get it; this bird is trying to tell me something. It’s been making its presence known to me, coming closer and closer until it’s practically in my face commanding my attention. I have a notebook of animal totems that I have compiled from various websites. So when I got home I read that the hawk is a messenger which appears in our life when we need to pay attention. I read, “When the hawk flies into our life, we will be asked to evaluate who we have become and rip out the threads of our self-created illusions.” That did hit me right in the face. It prompted some serious journaling on two very big questions: Who have I really become? And how does that differ from the illusions I have about myself?
This deep reflection inspired by the hawk was both humbling and empowering. It reminded me of another question I had recently read in Angeles Arrien’s book, The Second Half of Life: “Can I be aware of my faults while remaining high in self esteem?” Authenticity after all begins with being honest with ourselves; only then can we truly embrace our unfolding.
On this vacation, I returned to my roots, surrounded by my family, and felt deep gratitude for where I have come from and for those who love me. This splendid messenger from above made me stop in my tracks, acknowledge where I am, and consciously choose my future path of becoming. What a gift!
EXPLORING THE FEMALE ARCHETYPES
Friday, October 1st 10:30 -3:00
Surrounded by the amazing art and beautiful landscape of The Grounds for Sculpture, we will explore the archetypes that both bind us and free us as women.
Where: The Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton, NJ
Investment: $50 plus $12 entrance fee.
Whether one came to break a pattern, reinvent one’s life, or just relax by the shores of the Caribbean, Linda and Karin’s workshop did the trick. An excellent retreat, masterfully organized and full of insights and new ideas, this is an important exercise for all women at all stages of life. ~ Barbara Marcus
AUTUMN CELEBRATION: The Joy of Letting Go
Friday, Nov 5, 2pm – Sunday Nov 7, 11am
Before the demands of the holiday are upon you, take the time to focus on your own self care. Let go of all the mindless tasks and reconnect with your core values. Co-lead by Karin and Asian Body Therapist, Linda Marrical, your weekend will include group workshops, movement exercises, art projects, time outdoors and plenty of down time.
Where: Graystones Preserve in the Poconos. Cozy, clean cabins with fireplace, living room, and kitchen.
Investment: $375 double occupancy, $475 for single. Includes lodging, linens, food, and retreat activities.
To go on retreat with like-minded women and find new meaning in our lives, in that amazing environment, guided by two amazing women (Karin Marcus PCC and Linda Marrical ABT) who are both well trained and in tune with their calling, is an experience not to be missed. I would go every year. ~ Cathy Collier
Retreat Coach Karin Marcus | Stepping Out