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This is the story of a girl, who cried a river and drown the whole world... Ok, those are lyrics from a Nine Days song, but they came to mind when I sat down to write this. Last weekend I went to Cypress for a Women’s Relaxation Retreat and let me tell you, it blew my mind in every way. I am not saying this to sound melodramatic, but it absolutely, 100% changed my life! There are so many big and small aspects of that weekend that I will hold in my heart forever and I know that I will forget to write about every single one here, but these are all the things that I felt compelled to share with whoever you are reading this....

I’ll start at the beginning. I have been seeing my life-coach, Amanda, for nearly a year. She is a star and quite possibly one of my favourite people on the planet. She has helped me in so many ways, with many of my biggest...and there are many...issues, crutches, whatever you want to call it. She has helped me with my bag of shit, everybody has their shit, the stuff they hold so tightly, even when it’s poisoning them. I went on a tangent there, I’ll get back on track. Going to something like this is so far out of my comfort zone, I had several epic temper tantrums leading up to the trip - “the food options aren’t gluten free enough,” “great, I had to be moved from a cabin in the resort,” things that looking back at I think make me sound like a crazy person, when in all reality, they were the things that made me feel better about being terrified of being vulnerable. My bag of shit is HUGE, it’s traumatic and it rules my life with an iron fist. On Friday when we arrived and were asked, “why did you come here?” I knew the answer was my bag of shit. Things are about to get real and maybe a little uncomfortable for you reading this...and maybe me typing this. I live my life in a constant state of fear of change, because all I know in my life is that with change, my world explodes. I never stop moving, I am in a constant state of doing and going, I went on a trip to Lethbridge to see my sister and her family recently and instead of just packing and going, I did several loads of laundry and painted my front entryway because why wouldn’t I? I never knew why I was like this until very recently. In my most recent session with my life-coach, she said the most amazing words to me, “don’t be afraid of the storm, your world is not going to blow up!” My immediate thought was....YES IT IS!!!! Then she said to me, “of course you feel this way, because the first time you remember change in your life, your world did indeed blow up!” And that was the moment I understood my need to never be still, to never stop doing. The moment she was referring too, was my dads suicide. I was 15, he was the sun and the moon, he was my daddy, I worshipped him and then he was gone, never coming back, never picking me up after work on a Friday again, he was just GONE. And my world did indeed blow the fuck up. It was traumatic, it was horrific and I have relived it EVERY SINGLE day since I was 15 years old (I am now 33). And so I began my journey with always go go going and for some divine reason ended up at a retreat because I knew I needed to be there. I knew this life of going a million miles a minute and never stopping to appreciate anything was slowly becoming my major downfall. that my why is out of the way, I’ll get back to retreat itself.

Our first activity as a group, before we even knew each others names was for half of us to stand in a circle facing out and half of us to stand in a circle facing in, place our hands on each others and just look into the eyes of the person standing in front of us. Sounds uncomfortable right? IT WAS!!! Within seconds I was sweating, then crying. We don’t look at people like this in the world, it’s uncomfortable and it’s overwhelming, but you know what else it is? It is POWERFUL, these 10 other women that I had never met in my life were somehow now connected to me and I didn’t even know their names! I can’t speak for everyone there, but I can tell you from my experience that hearing from a bunch of other women say why they took the time to spend an entire weekend on themselves was inspiring and profound and I am so grateful that I was there. We practiced meditation and journalling and we talked about our limiting beliefs. We took our limiting beliefs and we created affirmations for ourselves and then from those affirmations we chose our I AM word. My I AM was and is, I AM HAPPY. When I said this I was asked, “are you not happy?” and the word came out before I even thought about it, “NO!” And I have every reason to be happy. I am healthy and loved, my family is healthy, my husband thinks I hung the moon, I have amazing kids and friends who think I am funny and somehow....NO I am not happy. People always tell me how cheerful I am, that I am always smiling, and while this is the Brittany I put out into the world, this is not who I am inside. I am not happy because I believe that I can not heal from my past, when in reality, I can not heal from my past because I won’t sit down for two minutes and and allow myself to deal with it, I am not happy because I think I am broken. During a meditation we were guided to visualize a young girl playing in a forest, sounds simple right?! NOPE...profound! I visualized my Brier, my baby girl. My Brier is a free bird, she lives her best life every minute of everyday, she dresses boldly and dances and laughs and she knows that she is fucking incredible. My Brier is exactly me before my world blew up. And suddenly I realized that I wasn’t seeing my sweet Brier at all, I was watching myself, playing and laughing and HAPPY! And that might not sound like a big deal, but for me it was huge. I was happy, whoa! Maybe I can be happy again! I ran through a tunnel of arms held up by these incredible women and screamed I AM HAPPY and they screamed YOU ARE HAPPY right back at me and that was magic.

I went for a walk in the pouring rain....I did full circles several times to ensure that I wasn’t being followed by a cougar..because let’s face it, I have the over active imagination of a toddler. I took my camera and captured photos that I will cherish for always, I collected rocks just because I felt compelled to do so. I walked through knee deep snow and a blizzard just so I could make a snow angel...had I been at home and we received 37cm of snow you bet your ass I would have been in the comfort of my home swearing at the weather, but I wanted to play in the snow and I did. My new friend Kenny came with me and took my photo and captured my fall into a snow angel on video for me and I sobbed when I watched that video...because in that moment I was undeniably HAPPY.

Perhaps the most important part of my weekend came during my most uncomfortable moment, it was during a mediumship reading. I am not sure how to put the way I felt leading up, during and immediately after this. We had just finished our ladies night and Amanda, had agreed to do a reading for us, she is able to connect with our passed on loved ones. As soon as she said she was going to do this, I felt like I was on fire, sick to my stomach and angry....I knew that something big was coming for me and I was fighting it. Several minutes in, she had already channeled two people and the moment I had felt sick about happening happened. She looked me dead in the eyes and said, “how you doing Brittany?” and I almost threw up. I have had readings before and my dad has come through, but somehow I knew this was going to be different. She looked me in the eyes and said, you know who this is, and he is sorry for what he took from you and I think I almost died. She said this is so powerful, there are all these other women in this room and all I see is you and I put my face in my sweater and I ugly cried. And then she said from him, “don’t let me rob you anymore!” SOBBING “you live your life go go go and you never stop because you are afraid to live what happened, you are afraid to sit in it, you can heal from this. Be angry, go outside and scream and yell and stand in it.” And then she said, “do you have any questions?” and all of the 75 million questions that I have had for all of these years didn’t matter and all I said was “no.” And I went to bed that night a little angry, though I am not sure at what and so exhausted, but also really really full. And the next morning I woke up and I knew without a doubt that that was why I jumped out of my comfort zone and signed up for this retreat. And I wrote my final journal entry, a letter to myself and for the first time ever, I did not struggle and over think what I was going to say....

Dear Brittany, Remember who you were before your world blew up. Remember that little girl. Know that you can be angry and you can sit in it and you can heal and you can let go.

And when I was finished, I closed my journal and I wiped my tears and I had this feeling of freedom and I knew that I had come for a reason and I knew what that reason was and I knew that I am not broken and I was ready to go home. I saw 12 deer on my rainy walk, I saw 37 deer over the weekend and every time I saw any deer, one would always stop and look straight at me....I don’t know if that means anything, maybe I am overthinking it, but it happened and it was magic every single time.

I met incredible, strong women, who I love and will keep in my heart for the rest of my life. Some of which I built amazing friendships with in a three day time span, they are my kindred spirits.

I will always be grateful to these women, who put themselves out there and loved me in my vulnerable moments and allowed themselves to be loved. To our hosts, Amanda and Amy, all I can say is thank you. And that is not enough. The amount of time, effort and love you put into that weekend changed my life and I am sure changed a few other lives as well. I am crying now...which will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me, but I am also so proud of myself and that is a hell of a feeling! If you made it this far, thank you for reading. love & light Brittany

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