A few years ago I began to learn, what I doubt I will look back & regret to name as, the most important lesson of my life:
Stop & take the time to ‘process’ – just a pause… what is SO important that it needs answer or action without thought?
Realize that the reason for hurried response is not for you, but for the other who demands it… if at their beckoning you make a definitive statement, they have something to convict you with later… I had always had decisions & actions, even opinions, ripped from me, with little to no time or regard for my feelings to be taken into account to make my best choice.
Sure, there will be times when it is not a grueling task to answer to a request in the moment, but the ease of certain responses comes from being rooted in our soul with regards to where we stand on that particular item… the only way that those assertions are achieved is that they have already been processed; perhaps it is related to something that we have thought over again and again or it is something that seems morally basic to us… the challenging stances are the ones that we need our time to process.
I converse with girlfriends about time away… trips, vacations, getaways, or simply ‘lock-ins’ … the only time that everything snaps into absolute clarity is when you remove yourself; from others, from the situations that make demands upon you, from yourself… as in who you are when surrounded by your own walls, belongings, possessions, people…
I would give every woman who I care about a copy of THIS BOOK.
I read this book after going thru a series of my own retreats, without necessarily knowing what they were at the time… this book puts my journey into perspective. I nodded in reflection as each chapter took me thru the stages of ‘Retreat’ that I had already taken alone. I have learned the vital importance – that is, only when I ‘retreat’ can I achieve this ‘processing’ of important questions, thoughts & dreams.
Some empathizing with me may say they’d wish to have learned this sooner, earlier, younger, before they had lost themselves… but I discover renewed inspiration & blessing in finding myself where the wise woman author speaks of as ‘second journey’ so early in my life.
While most of the women whose stories are cited within are not becoming ignited until after their children are grown and launched, when they are touching menopause, retirement, abandon or widowing… I at a mere 31 years of age, 28 when I began, will be able to move forward conscious to ‘Retreat’.
“Second Journeys typically begin when a rush of changes precipitates a crisis of feelings – changes such as betrayal, an unexpected loss of income or employment, a bad diagnosis, the death of a loved one. In short, you are stopped dead in your tracks. When you come to your senses, you see that you simply must stop – get away from the daily grind and the people around you, to deviate from the tried and true and to take an outer journey… you’ve begun to see that you are standing at a crossroads and that you alone must decide the next move…second journeys entail lots of struggles, not the least of which is to figure out which path to take. But what sets these important journeys apart is that they are all about moving forward in a meaningful way.
On one of my forays to a nearby pond, I came across a family of frogs hopping about the marsh and the shore. Their bulging eyes, pulsating tummies, and funny, throaty sounds mesmerized me. But the ‘aha’ moment came when I saw that they never once hopped backward. I learned later that frogs never do – they only hop forward. What a great symbol for all of us woman in transition – onward, forward, and don’t even think of going backward!”
– Joan Anderson