Sunset over Esalen There is a very large part of me that wants to keep the experience of Matrilumina close to my heart. At least for now. Not only am I finding it difficult to find the right words to adequately describe what happened to me there, I also feel that by talking about it, I'd be releasing something I'm not ready to let go of yet. I'm not trying to be dramatic here. I'm simply still processing everything and trying to find the right spaces in my head, heart, and soul for all that was in those six days.

I can tell you this, however: of the profound, life-altering moments in my past 20 years, Matrilumina is near the top...not far behind the day I discovered marbling and my move to California. Yes, it was that amazing. And while I give the vast majority of the credit for such a powerful, transcending experience to the retreat founders and guides--Pixie, Christine, and Maya--who put so much thought, love, and energy into every single detail, who created a safe place in which we could explore, and who were so generous with their knowledge and insight, I also believe two other factors came into play: 1) the women who participated with me and 2) timing.

The Ladies of Matrilumina

Oh, my beautiful, endearing, precious women gatherers. Strong women, creative women, joyful women, thoughtful women, emerging women, loving women, funny women, bold women, quiet women, transitioning women, brave women. I was surrounded by some seriously AMAZING ovaries! From all walks of life, in various stages of life, needing different things from this gathering, our common denominator was being open to, and trusting in, the well as each other. As someone who opens up easily but does not trust easily (and, quite honestly, rarely), I am grateful to have found myself feeling compelled to trust the second I stood in the presence of these women. Every Matrilumina gathering is going to be different based on the participants and I feel especially blessed to have been with this particular group. I didn't know any of them when I went into this and yet I emerged feeling indelibly intertwined with them. On so many levels. Even if we were never to meet or talk or connect in some way again, their images, their faces, their energy will forever be stored in my essence and easily recalled when I need them most...or just because I want to.

The retreat also came at just the right moment in my life, as I talked about before. This was not by accident. I firmly believe this is what happens when you stand in your truth and claim your place in the Universe. She is always listening and always excited to present opportunities for your taking. Thank you, Universe, for sending this gift to me at the perfect time.

I have been spending the past few days consciously reconnecting with my husband and Mira (my cat). What does this look like? It means when Mira starts incessantly meowing at 5 a.m., I get out of bed, seek her out, pick her up and bury my face in the crook of her soft neck, and whisper to her that I am here...rather than being annoyed and shooing her away. It means looking into my husband's eyes a little bit longer. And a little bit deeper. It means allowing him to process his week without me in whatever form it takes, even if it comes out as tension or as needy (something I learned how to do from Pixie, when she described to me how she reconnects with her family).

Bracelet from Christine

And, of course, I've been spending time integrating back into the non-Big Sur, non-Matrilumina world, testing my new awareness, swimming in my new clarity. One of the gifts we received from Christine was a lovely bracelet which we could wear during the retreat as a sign to others that we wanted to work in silence and solitude (in other words, do not disturb!). I did not wear my bracelet when I was there, but I have come to depend on it at home. I purposefully wear it once-a-day as a conscious signal to myself that I am in my "Matrilumina space," to practice what I learned in retreat, and to focus on addressing my needs and filling my "beacon basket." I disconnect from the Internet, I don't fret about the housework or my t0-do list, I spray my space with the aroma mist created specifically for Matrilumina by this lovely woman, I take a deep breath...and say to myself, "We Gather."