What a funny thing it is to travel in time.
I can’t really take credit for this concept. Amy Poehler, in her book “Yes Please!” said:
Time moves too slow or too fast. But I know a secret. You can control time.You can stop it or stretch it or loop it around. You can travel back and forth by living in the moment and paying attention.
She mentions that you can usually do this through people, places or things. I listened to Amy Poehler’s book in the car on the way to the Women’s Wilderness Institute’s Summit Sister’s retreat and I realized that Summit Sisters was a place where all three of these things converged.
You see, I attended this retreat last year and – while I was lying in my cabin too cold to even take my nose out from under my blanket – I travelled in time to lie next to myself from a year before. I turned and looked and watched her struggle to understand why she was so unhappy – just like she always seemed to be. I watched her convince herself to make changes in her life and I’m pretty proud of what she accomplished.
It’s hard to express the feeling that you’ve travelled in time, but it was there and I reflected on how much my life has changed in the past year – how much I’ve changed.
Frankly, I was lost beyond belief. I, like so many people, wanted to be literally anywhere but where I was at the moment. I was certainly trying to be present in my life, to learn how to find happiness and home wherever I put my feet down. In the next year, I wrote a novel, go a new job, started this blog, began writing poetry, found who I was and I can trace most of that back to the reality-smack that I got from being cut off from my life.
Now, a year later, I’ve experienced an utterly devastating ending and realized that the universe doesn’t care about your plans or your timeline. The world doesn’t appreciate when you use people as dams to hold back your own flood of fear and loneliness and the axe will always fall. Another excellent lesson from Poehler:
Don’t treat people like medicine.
I’ve come to understand a few things, and this beautiful experience of time travel that gave me the ability to see both the beautiful things I got out of Summit Sisters last year as well as the things that I missed offered me the following:
- You can do SO much more than you think you can. During the retreat, a group of 12 women gathered in the lodge to experience acro yoga for the first time. It was a sunny morning and we were all already a day into the magic of being at an all women’s wilderness retreat. We did all kinds of poses in which we lifted women into the air. Things that, when I watched the demonstrations, I was sure that I couldn’t do. Spoiler alert: I could do them and they were so much easier than I could have imagined.
- Don’t let others tell you what you’re capable of. During one of the sessions, we talked at length about following dreams and giving yourself permission to decide and have what you want. So many people think that they need and deserve to tell us what we can do. People use words like “practical” and “security,” but they are really only projecting their own fears onto you. Don’t let them. Do not ever let anyone else tell you what you are capable of.
- Be innocent in relationships and simple in the expression of your feelings. As we grow older, we complicate everything. We don’t tell our friends we love them, we don’t tell our lovers we want to them to stay and we don’t do the simple and everything affirmations that keeps us all feeling strong and supported. “I appreciate your friendship.” “You make me laugh.” “You are my friend.” As adults, we think that there is a proper time and place for these kinds of things, but children say what they feel when they feel it. We would probably all be better off if we relearned how to do the same.
- Live your life out of bravery and never out of fear. This is the most important lesson I took with me and the one that I will be committing to intentionally over the next year. So many decisions I make are made because I’m afraid of what will happen if I don’t do it or what will happen if I lose it etc. etc. I rarely make a choice because I know that it’s right or what I want. I rarely take the plunge and bravely make choices and it’s never served me. I want to be brave. As someone once said to me, “Fear will always be there and if it isn’t, then the choice you are making might not be important as you think.” I believe this is true, but no choice should ever be made out of a fear of loneliness or loss.