This blog was written by FIT4MOM franchisee, Anna Catherine Rutledge as she reflects back on our first GRIP Retreat.
I love the word retreat. Looked it up just now and the official definition according to
Merriam Webster is
1. an act or process of withdrawing, especially from what is difficult, dangerous or
2. a place of privacy or safety
3. a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation and study.
Man, who couldn’t use some retreating in their life.
A few weeks ago I went down to Virginia to go to the first ever Fit4Mom retreat with Fit4Mom founder, Lisa Druxman. The title of the retreat was GRIP, Grow, Recharge,Inspire, Plan. Now, while I’m all about a good cheesy acronym (I ran a theater company called the Fabulous And Ridiculous Theater...) what sold me was the concept. Boy oh boy do I need to get a grip on my life. It didn’t hurt that it would mean I would HAVE to go to DC by myself for a whole weekend.
As a mom, wife, business owner I wake up each day wondering what the hell is happening and what day is it and why don’t I have any systems in place and can my magical fairy godmother please please come over and wash, fold and put away all the laundry, get the kids to eat breakfast in less than 800 minutes, get them dressed ONLY ONCE and then entertain them so I can have like, TEN MINUTES to plan my classes for the day, check the weather, respond to the most pressing of emails, post something witty on some social media platform, stress about the future and maybe check the bank accounts to make sure money still exists.
I know none of this is unique. I know I have it pretty good. But still, mama needs a break!!
And this retreat neatly tied into a new Body Back training program for one fun fitness filled weekend in a hotel. By myself.
I don’t want to say too much about the details of the day. I know they’ll be doing the retreat again, and I want it to be as much of an experience for everyone who goes. But at the risk of letting my inner hippie shine it’s worth telling what’s happened since I’ve returned.
In the magical mysterious way that the universe works, it so happens that for the past 10 weeks I’ve been undergoing this deep personal transformation that I’m not entirely sure what to say about yet. Right smack in the middle of my life making this total shift, turns up this retreat that I had registered for sometime in the middle of the summer.
Since coming back from the retreat I’ve been meditating, 10 minutes a day. I haven’t skipped more than two days and in just three weeks there is a noticeable difference in my life because of it. I’m more patient and I’m more calm and my brain connections seem stronger, as in, I can actually feel connections happening in my brain. I remember to breathe in the moment and then I continue to breathe once the moment has passed. I have been writing down my daily intentions, setting small attainable daily goals and in the past three weeks I have surpassed the short term goals I had set for myself during the retreat. I have been obnoxiously grateful.
It’s obvious now that my life schism was already in motion this summer. A friend told me about this woman, Marie Kondo who had created a decluttering method that was changing lives. She just came out with a book called... The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. I preordered the book and when it arrived in all its pretty perfect Japaneseishness, I actually read it. And then I got really stressed out by all the clutter in our home and how I would never actually have the time or the ability to start. I really wanted to do it, but was terrified to start. The weekend following the retreat I sent the kids to my parents house for the day and took every item of clothing out of all my closets and all dressers and piled it on the floor and got rid of hundreds of items of clothing. It took all day and was really hard work but guess what? There is space in my closet!! And then the other day, the day after Thanksgiving when we realized we had absolutely no plans and no obligations my husband agreed to help me de-clutter the books. And we got rid of a giant bookshelf and all the books that went on it.
I don’t say this lightly. I love clothes and books perhaps equally. I don’t think I could pick which I prefer more, clothes shopping or book shopping. But by removing the stuff I don’t actually love it leaves room for appreciation of the things that I do love. Or something like that. It’s been really freeing.
So...I don’t know. Spending all that time on myself and a weekend dedicated to fitness and motherhood and sisterhood and gratitude and meditation and opening up to other people I didn’t know what would happen. But I think the results were profound enough that it’s worth sharing. I don’t know if I would say the GRIP retreat changed my life, but it did allow me some time, some space and a whole lot to think about and reflect upon. And if the only takeaway I have is to remember to breathe and take 10 minutes every day to meditate. Well, then maybe it did change my life.