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A week ago Sunday, my Sister, Daughter, and I went to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, having enrolled in Bootcamp For Goddessess. We arrived with hiking boots, weights and other gear and were¬†pretty wet from unloading bags in the rain, even before we checked in. While we were looking forward to the week long workshop, we weren’t looking forward to the predicted rain all week. Our dorm rooms were small, 6 x 8 I think, very clean, all we needed. All the food in the dining hall was vegetarian or vegan.. tasty. For those who wanted some meat in their meals, they could visit the cafe where food and sweets were available.

As the name of the workshop implies, the bootcamp was for women only. There were 63 women enrolled and while most started out the week as strangers, that quickly changed. By the end of the week we were all Sisters. In the group were lawyers, doctors, social workers and those from many other professions, a variety of lifestyles, races, histories. In the end none of it mattered at all, shed of our labels, our true personalities and spirits were able to shine.

We learned how to embrace each other, support each other, how to be strong & caring, love & take care ourselves. We started each day with a morning hike, learned how to breathe, did Yoga, danced in the rain, worked very hard, cried, laughed, sang, learned a lot.

The hardest part for me was the Sweat Lodge Ceremony on Wednesday night. At times it felt like I was breathing fire, but I stayed in for the entire time without leaving between the 4 different parts of the ceremony as many did to get some fresh air or drink some water. In truth, it wasn’t that I was tougher than others, it was that I feared that if I went out into the cool air, I might not go back in! It was an awesome thing, 70 women or so in a dark sweat lodge that appeared to measure little more than 12 feet across.

Because the ceremony was done in Native American fashion, before we entered the sweat lodge we were asked to meditate and call on an animal to guide us. I envisioned a bright green Dragonfly. It didn’t surprise me at all, for me the dragonfly represents my mother. But, I was very surprised when I then went over to a table where cards were spread and with my eyes closed chose the card with the dragonfly on it. When I sat down an emerald green dragonfly landed on my knee and I smiled, felt like saying… alright already mom!… I’m paying attention!

During the previous days I’d learned that I don’t pray enough, don’t give thanks enough and one of the things we were meant to do in the sweat lodge was to pray. Pray I did, in the dark, sweating like crazy.

Along with the Boot Camp workshop I attended a watercolor sample workshop, one I want to try next year. I also got a massage. Each morning on the way to the Yoga building we’d pass the movement studio where you could hear music and some kind of dancing going on. Every evening we went to bed to the sound of drumming and music from the music hall in the distance and closer to our windows, the sounds of a cricket serenade.

I plan to go back to Omega for some of the watercolor workshops, R&R and who knows what else? And I plan to do Bootcamp 2 in the future.

I was so busy all week that I forgot to take photos till the late in the week. You can see more by following the links to Omega and to Sierra Benders website where you can see a bootcamp video..

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