Sisterhood Retreat 2018
I look forward to the sisterhood retreat with enthusiasm. It’s been a way for me to meet new members of Holy Blossom, and to reconnect with women who are already my friends. The setting of the resort is especially conducive to feeling nurtured. Cottagers haven’t arrived on the lake yet, so the sense of peace is pervasive. Hearing birds chirping, being surrounded by trees, space and fresh country air helps to set the mood for being open to a new experience.
This year we had the bonus of being at the resort during a storm which led to a blackout for the entire weekend! Our Friday night and Saturday Havdalah services were illuminated with the soft light of battery operated candles. We sat in a tight circle encircling the candles during our evening activities. We drew near to one another sharing flashlights when we escorted one another back to our rooms, so no one would trip or lose their way. The lack of artificial light and being in a situation together which required a bit of problem solving helped all of us feel a connectedness to one another. It also led to hilarious laughter over jokes about having to cope without electricity.
The theme of our retreat was “Renew and Rejuvenate.” During the weekend, we learned about the importance of nourishing ourselves to ensure we have the inner resources to give to others in our daily lives. Rabbi Splansky and Lindi Rivers led us in activities to think of our lives in different ways, with fresh eyes. They both brought insight into the importance of Shabbat as a time to restore ourselves emotionally and spiritually. During the weekend, there were opportunities for Torah study, meditation, yoga, Israeli dancing, walks and free time to just “be”.
At the beginning of the retreat, we were all given a word to think about during the weekend. My word was “Commitment”. We were invited to share our thoughts on the meaning of the each of our words during the final circle before we returned to Toronto. When it was my turn to share my thoughts, I talked about the strong commitment Sisterhood has to reach out to the women at Holy Blossom. Many leaders in Sisterhood made this weekend retreat an overwhelming success:
Thank you for all your effort and time to make the Sisterhood Retreat 2018 special and rewarding. I returned home feeling refreshed, energized and full of gratitude.
I wanted to include a final note. The women at this retreat spanned five decades. Some first timers who were long time members of Holy Blossom had never attended a retreat before. On the Sunday and Monday following the retreat, many wrote e-mails expressing their joy and feelings of kindness and acceptance from the group, and feeling “hooked” on attending Holy Blossom Sisterhood Retreats.