Part 1: Augusta’s Reflection
Exactly 4 weeks ago, I found myself at a retreat center in the Taconic Mountains of upstate New York, filled with many emotions: curiosity, tentative confidence, some noticeable shyness, and most of all, excitement. I had been looking forward to this gathering of women since the second I heard about it the previous year. I knew I needed this time, space, and community to support me in growing closer to myself, my inner wild woman, as well as with these “outer” wild women. I was immediately given permission, for 5 days, to do whatever I wanted, needed, or desired. I had finally arrived at Wild Woman Fest.
Now, 4 weeks later, I am finally ready to reflect on my experience, as well share that of Blue, another majestic Creature who attended the festival with me. This post is the first one I’ve written from my own personal perspective, because it dawned on me that I needed to introduce my own Creature to the BYC project. The freedom to be my Creature among other inspiring women led me to committing as a presence here in this beloved BYC community we are building around the shared theme of self-love and unapologetic creative expression.
So here are my musings on Wild Woman Fest, straight from my Creature’s wild heart to yours ❤
Although I often encourage others to practice self-care, it easily remains my own top priority and simultaneously biggest challenge. I mean, I take better care of my lenses and hard drives more than I do my own body and emotional well-being. I often push myself until I burn out, force myself to relax, and then repeat the cycle. Frustrated, pent-up energy internally ricochets and keeps me teetering on a ledge of unfulfilled goals. My brain, turned up to full volume, drowns out the wise little voice telling me to go walk in the forest barefoot, naked, and alone. I need to give myself this grounding time as much as I need to eat, sleep, breathe, and work.
As I predicted, Wild Woman Fest served as a place to give myself what I needed, to move at my own pace, and connect with what I felt called to.
It was such an amazing experience, a beautiful opportunity to grow and shed emotional restraints in a perfectly safe space. I was constantly surrounded by compassion and love, the two necessary elements for deep, soulful healing.
Wild Woman Fest taught me how to flow with what there is, not what I imagine it should be like. Seeing other women bravely embrace their vulnerability encouraged me to do the same. It taught me how to let go of the urgency I associate with my own personal growth. I now understand that I may not process what others do until much later, and that we all process emotional growth differently.
This festival was another space where I was given full permission to be my Creature – to proudly present her, adorned and outwardly owning her full fledged beauty. Participating was the opportunity I was craving to connect with other Creatures and observe their emotional journey through self-expression.
I would now like to share some words by my sweet friend Blue, as transcribed from our conversation the day we returned.
Part 2: Blue’s Reflection
I was completely blown away by how pure the intention was of every single woman there. I mean, there are always masks, always egos….but here, I didn’t feel like anyone was hiding. And if they were self conscious, they were like, ‘look at me, I’m self conscious. This is what I’m working through.’ There wasn’t any holding back. That is remarkable. I haven’t experienced anything like that.
“There’s a point at which you plant the seed, and it just grows. And all you need to do is go around it, tend it, give it love, and support it… but it really kind of grows on its own.”
I have no idea what it’s like to work inside of it, but from the outside it just looked natural. Chris Maddox, the founder of the Wild Woman Project and facilitator of Wild Woman Fest didn’t even seem stressed, just a little tired. I can’t even imagine how much joy she feels. It’s the most amazing thing that’s ever happened to me in my life, and she knew that that could happen for people. To be sitting there next to 150 women all experiencing this thing, this massive healing that she knew could happen… and to have created it… I can’t even put myself in her shoes. I imagine it’s deeply, deeply powerful and moving for her.
I also loved how all the presenters were equally participating. All of us would be moving around, and then one woman would pull out of the group and guide everyone and then rejoin, like an amoeba. Everything just flowed, and I think that’s part of the feminine. We all have different modes of transformation… And Chris did a really beautiful job of showing that diversity in different ways. So I think that every woman walked away with something very powerful, which would not have happened if all the presenters were more similar or not as integrated.
I felt very supported in becoming my Creature, especially during the nighttime ceremonies. Most of our Creatures aren’t supported in daily life. We have a certain idea of what people should be, and our Creatures usually are not that. So it’s a really beautiful, short-lived experience to get to be your Creature. And so to have all of these women – every night, completely coming into their power and becoming their Creature, howling together…or whimpering, or singing, or crying or whatever your Creature does – you feel like you’re really being held up by these women, these Creatures. It’s incredible to see all of these women, how they express their pain, how they hold each other during the most intense moments. And we could all sit there and hold space for others to be super raw.
We all have different paths to finding that part of ourselves, and remembering that we’re whole.
“You should never have to prove yourself, because your existence doesn’t need validation.”
“My Creature is free.”
*Featured image by www.lizornitz.com