As I walked into the Escape weekend with AdventurUs Women without a clue of what was about to happen... I told myself to just be present.
As someone with introverted tendencies, big group events can sometimes be intimidating. When I’m in a crowd of strangers the awkward pre-teen in me sometimes rears its ugly head and I become impaired. I get in my head and feel all my insecurities come rushing through me. However, when I entered I was immediately greeted by warm and friendly women who were eager to get to know one another. Staying present from that point on was easy. There were a ton of different activities to choose from throughout the weekend including hiking, mountain biking, yoga, photography, wilderness first aid, and more. I started off with hiking and settled into my body as my legs found their usual groove of going up the mountain. Later on in the day I took a workshop with Steph Jagger where we talked about an alternative way to set goals. It was an invitation to be vulnerable and share where we all were in life without pressure or force to be open.
“What if we just start believing that we are strong and worthy?”
Here’s a bit about me and my emotional state that weekend. I had worked at a youth nonprofit for 4 years that a couple months prior told me they did not have enough money to keep me on full time. I deeply loved my job and had put my heart and soul into it. I had built amazing relationships with youth whether that was at our after school center, in the school setting, or in the mountains. It was my life and identity and the whole summer was spent grieving that loss. After quitting I decided to go on a road trip without much reason besides it just felt right. The road trip brought me to Bend, Oregon and I was able to go to the Escape weekend at LOGE Camp at the last minute. And so, while I was on an epic adventure I was still missing my work and feeling really hurt.
Talking through some of this with Steph helped me realize that due to this situation I was trying to prove to myself that I am strong and worthy. Instead of setting goals to prove this, Steph suggested to us what if we just start believing that we are those things? I thought to myself, what if I just tell myself that I’m strong? Additionally, Steph verbalized how I feel my intuition in a way that I was just beginning to understand myself. Following my intuition was what urged me to quit my job and turn down other job offers, eventually leading to me taking a road trip. The vulnerable conversations we had together in this workshop was the perfect stepping stone to making friends.
“Rock climbing shows us that women who (literally) lift each other up are stronger together.”
Throughout the weekend we all became personal cheerleaders for one another. Each woman I talked to seemed so unbelievably present and ready to listen and encourage. We were vulnerable together by taking new physical and emotional risks that forged new relationships. One of the days I challenged myself to outdoor rock climb with Lizzy vanPatten from She Moves Mountains. Climbing in the outdoors has always intimidated me and Lizzy was encouraging and helpful. When she learned I had some indoor rock climbing under my belt she asked me to be the example and go up first. It made me nervous but I survived and was actually good at it! I even learned how to belay which allowed me to physically support the other women climbers. We all cheered one another on through each of our challenges while demonstrating how strong we are as a group of women. Rock climbing shows us that women who (literally) lift each other up are stronger together.
At the start of the weekend I was feeling hurt. I had a hard time thinking about my job without getting overwhelmed by the pain of how I had to leave. After the weekend I realized I could do so without the flood of emotions. And I believe it was the whole experience of connecting with others through the outdoors that helped me move through it. I made some incredible friends that I’m still in touch with and even got to see again on my road trip. It was truly incredible to be with so many strong and powerful women that I left feeling inspired and like we can all do anything we put our minds to. Women have often been conditioned to be competitive against one another but together we are unstoppable. When women lift each other up, anything is possible.