“…Life as I knew it shattered when the love of my life, my husband of 45 years, suffered and died from a terrible lung disease in 2016. Unmoored, I cast about for a life rafts, one of which was a writing class offered by Jennifer who, up to that point, I knew only as a yoga teacher – a fabulous one at that.
Having only been widowed for a few months, deep in grief, I followed Jennifer’s writing prompts and assignments until she said: your homework is to write for ten minutes a day.
The next day I wrote my first love letter to my deceased husband, finding for the first time a place to put grief, and emotions and turn them into words to honor his life, and most of all to hold him close.
Then, alone, in March of 2017, I ventured forth to my first Radiant Retreat.
I attended the daily sunrise meditations, yoga practices, and writing classes. I enjoyed the sumptuous meals and met lovely fellow retreaters; smart, accomplished women, (and men) looking for self-discovery, fun, relaxation and self-care.
I had no idea what to do with the rest of my life and felt terrified. If ever there was a time to embrace the mindful practice of “beginner’s mind,” this was it.
The learning for me on the retreat was continuous.
Each morning I couldn’t wait to see what themes Jennifer would introduce, weaving the work of great writers and poets into our practices throughout the day.
I loved never having to wear shoes, the safe space, joining together physical yoga with emotional exploration and the mental discipline. I learned to listen with all my heart to my own heart and to others.
But the greatest moment happened the last day when, during morning meditation, we wrote down our life goals, a brief action plan and timeline.
Suddenly I knew the exact three things I needed to climb out of paralysis:
1) empty and sell my house of 37 years
2) complete yoga teacher certification and begin teaching
3) find a new special someone with whom to share my life.
By writing it down, and sharing it with a my partner, I sealed my commitment to myself.
Each task required overcoming fear, resistance, taking big risks, and venturing forth into the unknown, which is precisely what I did when I hopped on the plane to the retreat one week earlier.
By the time I returned one year later for my second Radiant Retreat,
I had accomplished all my goals.
Without the firm but gentle nudge of my first Radiant Retreat, it is entirely possible that my life-changing events would not have happened:
I love Peggy’s story because it points to her decision to focus on love and her own life. And her conviction to trust and have her vision.
What would you love to experience?
Remember it’s possible. It’s completely possible.
I look forward to hearing your story and seeing you on retreat.
PS. Thank you, Peggy Mandell, for the honor of working and being with you on retreat. Love you!