This very moment is everything
I noticed yesterday that I had “Rolling Into Summer?” (with a question mark at the end) on my calendar for June 1-2. That’s because when I first penciled it in, I wasn’t sure that I would go on to host my first overnight nature retreat. Truth be told, I didn’t know whether it would sell. I remember thinking when I reserved the guesthouse back in February that if the retreat didn’t go off, I’d fill the house with friends and enjoy it regardless.
I’m thrilled to share that the retreat did sell and was such an enriching and special experience, that I plan to host more moving forward. Not only that, but I did fill the house with friends – new friends.
For those who haven’t been following, Rolling Into Summer was a women’s cycling retreat that I hosted along the Great Allegheny Passage last weekend. Here’s the gist of how we shared our time together:
- We kicked things off with a picnic lunch by the iconic Ohiopyle High Bridge and then biked 11 miles from Ohiopyle to Confluence, stopping for some time for personal reflection, meditation, and dipping our toes in the Youghiogheny River.
- We were then treated to a fantastic restorative yoga session by Jude Goldstein of Confluence.
- We shared meals and discussion and had some unstructured time at The Parker House Country Inn and for strolling about town.
- In the morning, we did an “outdoor adventure” vision board session and biked back to our cars in Ohiopyle.
This simple report out nowhere near describes the richness of our weekend together. We had someone who hadn’t biked in 30 years and was empowered by a 22+ mile ride over two days. And almost all of our riders have never carried their own overnight belongings by bike – an empowering experience in its own right. We spent time in nature along a swift moving river, under tree canopy, and the occasional waterfall. And each of us set aside some very important time for rest and relaxation.
More important than the fact that we propelled ourselves forward in a nourishing space, I think, is that we allowed ourselves to slow down. The yoga session I mentioned? There were just three poses in an hour’s time. To be in a relaxing pose for 15-20 minutes created an opening, a shift in the group dynamic and in each of us. I went into the session thinking that the benefit would be physical, but the true benefit for me was that of really slowing down. It’s as still as I’d been in both mind and body in a long time. Jude shared these words by Chögyam Trungpa: “We can simply stay where we are…this very moment is everything.”
And it was everything. I don’t want to give away all of the secrets and deliciousness of Rolling Into Summer. But, as I said, I filled a house with new friends—women who were inspiring, hilarious, and wholehearted—and couldn’t have asked for more.
First of all, I’d like to offer a huge thank you to the participants. From our first five minutes together—which were filled with laughter and sincerity—I knew it was going to be exactly the weekend it was intended to be.
Thanks also to the businesses that provided great food and service:
- Wilderness Voyageurs
- Falls City Pub
- Confluence Cyclery (I’m so glad you were there to switch out my cracked tire, Brad!)
- The Parker House Country Inn
- Lucky Dog Café, and
- Ohiopyle Bakery
Thank you to my friends and loved ones who helped all along the way…those who shared Facebook posts, invited friends, and helped me load up and listened to me talk and dream and debrief about this for months now (Kathi!).
And thanks to those in Confluence who helped to pull off the retreat. Pam Metzger served as “sweep” and pulled a trailer with some of our belongings. Pam did so much more, though. She helped supply yoga mats, had the key to the guest house, brought wine and a four-berry pie, kept an eye on the radar, and was part of our group and conversations. Thanks also to my friend Cathy McCollom, who jumped in to help move my car and our group’s belongings on Sunday.
We ended up not needing to transport our group members, as we got a break in the weather. But I did take Pam and Cathy up on the offer to move a vehicle and some of our belongings. It was during Sunday morning’s consideration of the scenarios that I realized I’d chosen to host my first overnight retreat in a safe place—a small country town where a tight knit group of friends are always willing to jump in and help each other (and now me) out. What a gift, and one that is telling of the fabric of a community. Confluence, I’ll be back with another group before too long!