This past weekend, I had an opportunity for unplugging and retreating with about 25 wonderful gals from my church.
I really didn’t know what to expect. This was pretty much out of my element and comfort zone. But I quickly found out the 24 others felt pretty much the same way, which made for a wonderful ice breaker. It was time to just chill and take it all in.
This lovely location is at Charis Camp, located in Chilliwack, BC, Canada. And boy, did we get treated right. The meals were fabulous and the accommodations brand new and top notch. Our main living room even had a fireplace, so we were not without.
The weekend hosted a movie night (so fun!), amazing seminars as well as a chance to express yourself creatively in many different ways. Henna tattoos, decorating stepping stones, a mini spa, art… lots of new experiences to try.
I tried a little of nearly everything, but I’ll be honest… I was shutting down. I really desired to take it all in via photography and just sit, chat and learn from others. I just wanted to hug a hot coffee, rest, and hear stories. And maybe even offer encouragement if I could.
On Saturday, there was a wide open opportunity to take in the surrounding outdoors. Taking nature photography is one of my passions, and I had hoped to go for a walk with a few others with cameras in tow, but wouldn’t you know it… it was pouring rain the entire weekend!
I found it interesting that the rain kept us all indoors. I somehow don’t think that was a fluke. It made us connect under one roof rather than scatter too far away. Always for a reason.
Luckily it quit raining right before I left, so I was able to capture the beauty of the area.
One of the most valuable things I learned in a seminar was how to journal. A wonderful gal in the group taught us the ABC’s of how to do it with an issue you may be having along with scripture. I can’t wait to share more on that… as soon as I get my new journal. We questioned Heidi where she got her gorgeous journal she was using and found out she made them! More on this soon.
During the entire stay, I didn’t resort to the net at all. My laptop was left completely unplugged and I only checked my phone once for 5 minutes. Other than that, the desire to go online wasn’t there. This was a true unplug.
I wasn’t sure what I’d get out of it for myself. When you don’t know others all that well, you aren’t quite as likely to open up. But on the last day, that all changed.
Someone else shared something pretty deep, and I could feel my own tough shell cracking. You know what that means, right? Complete vulnerability. The hardest thing to do. Ever. To trust after your own trust has been damaged. But there’s no other way to overcome this other than to go for it.
Who knew that being in the company of other caring women that get it was totally IN my element. What a surprise.
When we first arrived at the retreat, one question we were asked was what we hoped to gain from our experience. My answer was easy and immediate. It was to discover new friendships offline.
Everyone knows you start a garden with a seedling. Friendship is kinda like that too. You have to make the effort to plant for a start.
Changing your ways from being an introvert to someone opening their heart to others is huge.
And then it was all over. As I drove out of the camp, I was surprised to see fresh snow covered the surrounding mountains! Pulling over to snap a few more photos was a must.
Fall and winter all in one. Isn’t this spectacular?
I nearly didn’t go to this retreat. It was easier to stay home and make excuses as to why it wasn’t a good fit. I’m so glad I gave this a chance. A quick wave at church while you’re walking out the doors isn’t the same as spending some quality time with others with no one in a rush.
We live in such a big world. And to stay parked in your chair in front of a glowing monitor for all your friendship needs is not the same as embracing those near you. Chances are, they need your friendship as much as you need theirs.
Why not give people a chance? Chances are, one is waiting just for you!
Do you have more online friends than offline yourself?
p.s. I have a new ad network in effect… if something is slightly off, please email me with particulars as we work out the potential kinks. Thank-you! firstname.lastname@example.org