Last weekend I took a long trip out to the Olympic Peninsula. I had a women’s weekend planned by two of my favorite people I’ve met through the work I do online, Holly from The Common Woman and Gigi, who I met through Instagram!
I approached the weekend with excitement and gratitude that I actually get to be in the same space with other women who truly get what it’s like to live authentically, but I was also navigating a ton of emotions and feelings of my own.
For a while I’d been feeling like I needed some breathing room, and knowing myself (key part here) I knew what I needed most was a few days to relish in my own exploring before the weekend officially commenced. In a way, I took my own self-care sabbatical, and the time to remove myself from obligations, commitments, responsibilities and social media and just be. I needed this space for me, in order to be able to be fully present for everyone else during the weekend. It’s only through my personal self-care and really understanding my own needs that I am able to acknowledge these messages. I took a hike on the Dungeness Spit along the ocean and decided that seals a really just the dogs of the ocean, so playful as they pop in and out of the water! I spent time relaxing in Gigi’s garden, enjoying meals with her, and connecting on a spiritual level. I was filling up my cup, so I could over-flow with abundance to give everyone else.
For me, this has been key in understanding how to navigate autoimmunity. Giving back to myself so I have enough reserves to give to others is the number one game-changer in my lifestyle and maintaining fluidity in my relationships with others and myself.
This weekend was about sharing, caring, giving and connecting. I couldn’t have been committed to this space if I wasn’t first committed to my own needs.
It never cease to amaze me the power that sharing has has on soothing and healing wounds. Being around strong, powerful women makes me feel alive. I sat listening to the stories of Grace from Gracefully Primal, Kat from Hope Heal Cook, Marissa from Joy Filled Nourishment, Amanda from Balancing BRCA, and Deanna from Real Food Lab. Each with their own life experience, stories of womanhood and powerful change that transformed their lives.
“Healing is impossible in loneliness; it is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing. To be healed we must come with all the other creatures to the feast of creation.” – Wendell Berry
We shared in food, in words, in nature and space. I learned about them all on levels that aren’t as accessible through social media but I already felt as though I knew them. There’s a deep understanding that runs through us like an umbilical cord allowing us to feel intrinsically connected.
This is community. It’s sharing in the journey of life together, surrounding yourself with people who support you, who understand you. I can’t say how beautiful it was not to have to worry about food the entire weekend, or what was being prepared, or whether kraut and shepherds pie with an avocado was going to seem weird for breakfast (yep, that happened!) Community is so vitally important in this life journey not only to feel a part of something but to understand how deeper presence in a world full of other people who are living, struggling, playing, finding joy and trying to be their best too.
What I love about sharing food is the opportunity to create conversation and share in each others bounty. Holly made her go-to shepherds pie along with leeks and fennel that we all devoured. Deanna made her famous raw bread and inspired everyone to whip out their dehydrators! I made my famous cultured herb cheese, found in my new ebook! Grace brought fresh plums from her tree. Gigi shared a plethora of apples and vegetables from her garden and prepared a salt tasting for us (as seen above!). And for the most delicious dessert Amanda made her famous Brown Butter Coconut Panna Cotta and I am pretty sure all our lives were forever changed. It’s truly orgasmic. I sat around the table each night in awe of each of them, and in heart-exploding gratitude for my seat at the table.
“I figure we’re all on this massive rock flying around space together, we might as well make the most of it,” Gigi shared with me during a car ride together. I couldn’t stop laughing at the sheer novelty of how it sounds and the irony of it being utterly true. We are all on a giant rock, that’s flying rapidly around space, and I believe our innate purpose as humans is to connect. It’s what separates us from our other animal counterparts, what makes us special and beautiful in our own right. It’s why I talk to everyone I encounter. It’s how I ended up having a deeply spiritual conversation for two hours over a cup of tea with an Irish-man I met through Craigslist who sold me my kitchen table. Yes, these things really happen to me because when people are willing to get vulnerable, that’s when connection happens, but that space has to be opened up first. This is how I approach life, and you must approach life from this view point in order to invite it back in.
The connection I have with each of them is different. I already knew who they are as people they show up entirely genuine on social media, just as in real life. I learned more intimate things about each of them over a cup of tea, or in the corner of the living room, out on the deck or during our hike. We picnicked on the banks of a lake chatted about life, relationships, our struggles and joys. We were fully just being there, together.
Inspired doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about these women, the women I work with, and many others who continue to show the world an alternative to what society expects.
“The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it.”
Cheryl Strayed could not have described these women better. Tackling whatever comes their way, allowing for vulnerability and connecting to who they truly are. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to get to call these women friends.
Hey Alana,These are great!I did the following with sweet petoaots and we all loved them (my kids too). Take 3 good size sweet petoaots and scrub clean. Cut the petoaots in large chunks (skin on) and place in microwave container with lid. Microwave on high for about 8-10 minutes. I added black pepper, a pinch of nutmeg and a 1/4 cup of coconut milk. Mash (or smash) and enjoy. Flipping delicious!