The morning after returning from a “big deal” feels like exhaustion and exhilaration mixed into your morning cup of milk. You know it tastes really good and you kind of need a nap.
I returned last evening from the Beyond Adoption: YOU Retreat 2.0. This is the second retreat I have attended with Pamela Cordano and Anne Heffron. Since retreat #1, I have seen them at other events and have grown to love them. To me, they are my sister-friends.
The version of me who walked into the doors this past weekend is not the version of me who entered the doors in February 2017. I am stronger. I am more confident. I am more ‘out’ about my adoption experience. I have done a lot of speaking; both speaking up and speaking out. I am more “Janet” than ever before. I have been on podcasts, spoken at conferences about, I have found ways to enhance my career, I have worked through personal tragedies and I have learned how to be more alive as a full participant in my own life. All that I have been able to achieve and will achieve moving forward, I attribute to seeing my value from Beyond Adoption: YOU Retreat 1 in Berkeley, CA in February 2018. Those 4 days in Berkeley gave me hope.
And, even with all the change and growth I have experienced these past 15 months, I still found myself feeling nervous for Retreat 2.0. It was the type of nervous you had on all the first days of school when you were not sure who would be in your class and if they would like you.
On day one, Pam shared some reflections about a recent experience and in this sharing, she said a phrase, “Grow a Life.” I have reflected on this since hearing her speak these words.
I have been really working at growing a life of being who I am authentically meant to be. I feel a deep calling inside to be a light for others who are struggling with adoption. I feel this calling in my work as a therapist and in my work as a speaker, teacher. I also feel I am in need of figuring out how to grow my own life so that I can be enough and accept myself.
And, during the time at this retreat, and reflecting on growing a life, I still found my brain shutting down, but not shutting up! Sometimes, even with all the work I have done to have positive thought patterns, the gremlins sneak back in and I go to the dark. I had to really go quiet, go inside, work with all the parts of me and love my dark, as much as I love my light. I had to validate myself in my struggle. And, I had to talk it out with a few retreat members to feel like I could stay present and feel as though I was worthy to be part of what was happening.
Now, as I am home, and I am reflecting, I feel as though I know more about who I am as a person. For me, Retreat 2.0 was less about being an adopted person and more about how to be a more confident, more loving, more clear in my vision and a more connected person. It was, for me, less about how to recover from adoption and more about how to take my wound from adoption and use it as a light in my life, and in the lives of others.
To ask myself, truly, “Are you there?” To lean back when I feel I am triggered and when I feel my brain is going to “go offline” I can relax and reflect. I can teach my body and brain to speak to each other if I intuitively and immediately relax. This teaching gives me another tool in my tool box to help me and to help those I work with.
One other important part of going to this retreat was to re-connect with 4 other women who attended the first retreat with me. Our time together in the car, during meals, in the Air Bnb and in the retreat was life sustaining. They are the real deal, authentic friends that I have needed in my life. They see my light, they see my dark and they accept all of me.
Also, meeting and making new friends was a delight.
So, if you are an adoptee, and you are ready to make a leap into your own healing and awareness of how you are in the world, I want to invite you to attend a retreat with Beyond Adoption: YOU There are a few spots left for the West Coast in June and there is another Retreat in New Jersey in August for those on the East Coast.
Pam and Anne will help you go deeper so that you may live bigger.