Well, I am back from a two-day conference in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The conference was the Making Things Happen Intensive, if you remember from an earlier post. I hesitate to call it a conference, it was definitely more intensive and overlapping into a retreat. A retreat is taking your phone away for two days. Many might scoff at this and I did for the basic fact that I wanted hour by hour updates on how my kids days were progressing without me, were they getting to school, was either one sick, you know the routine. I wanted to CONTROL my family’s schedule while I was 500 miles away. What?! You don’t do the same? I was happy about leaving social media for the time though. Well, I was in for a wake up call. And boy was I ready more than I believed.
Sunday morning I woke up with Scott and started to have second thoughts about this conference thing. It wasn’t my first conference but it was my first traveling alone. Not sure why I decided that driving would be the best method but there I was behind the wheel for an eight plus hour drive… alone! Wow, I haven’t been alone for that amount of time probably since college. The drive down was beautiful this time of year, fall really has a lot to offer and my eyes were soaking it all in. After realizing I needed to hold it for a little longer than an hour or I would never make it, I scaled down on the liquids. As soon as I arrived, I went to my hotel room to meet my 3 roommates Andrea, Kelsey and Michaela. First impression, they were so sweet! Since I was cutting close on arrival time to dinner time, we quickly headed out to dinner. We met up with a couple other ladies in the lobby and all rode over to the restaurant together. That is where I met Hillary as we sat in the far back of a SUV together. Dinner was very fun and we shared stories about ourselves and what brought us to Making Things Happen. I felt so inspired by these women and we just met within the last two hours. I felt there was a reason we were all brought together.
Speakers for both days: Lara Casey, Emily Ley, Gina Zeidler, Amber Housely, Nancy Ray and Rhiannon Bosse. Also Lara’s Southern Weddings Magazine staff: Emily Thomas, Kristen Winchester and Nicole Yang. And Mackenzie Kern.
Conference day 1: We walked into Lara Casey’s church and sat down. Sipping on latte’s and eating a bite for breakfast, my nerves were in full effect. After a brief intro we were all to stand up and introduce ourselves and give the real reason why we were there, the dirty. I couldn’t quite believe what came out of my mouth that morning but it was the truth. Something I haven’t been admitting to myself in a while. Tears started to fall from my eyes and many of the women and men that surrounded me. Being open and honest really touched a place deep in my heart. I can’t really say specifically what we talked about that day but many, many tears were shed and a lot of meaningful topics were touched upon. The day was coming to an end and I was exhausted but fired up. Our last activity of the day left me facing a new reality that I hadn’t before dreamt of. I found a place in my heart that had been left unattended and needed to be uncovered. An aha moment was mine for the taking. I leapt for it. The ladies and I headed out to dinner and had many more conversations that gave me the feeling that I was among my soul sisters. We were all brought together and so very thankful for it. After dinner, we each recorded a short video to ourselves so we could remember the state we were in and all the places we had been that day. That night we stayed up late in our room drinking wine and talking about everything under the sun. That evening it also became vividly apparent to me that I do not necessarily like social media. It really is a filter in which we try to show or prove something to people who maybe knew us at one time of our lives or don’t even know us. I also use it too much. I find myself on it when I’m bored or have a few minutes of time, instead of doing something productive or something that makes my heart happy. Scrolling through meaningless Facebook posts do not provide meaning in my life. Plenty of real people do that for me. I am in the process of really scaling back on the Facebook and other social media. Although I do realize it is an important part of my business I am not going to put all my efforts into this as I find meaningful real life connections to my family, friends and clients will outweigh the technological impostors.
Conference day 2: A lot less tears but still more and more insight into the core of our beings. Everyone has a core and each person’s why is different. Let’s start holding ourselves accountable and encourage each other along the way. Let’s stop with the judging and the impossible ideals we put upon ourselves. A lot of things started to click for me and I was so grateful for the enlightenment I felt. Lara read a quote to us from Marianne Williamson…
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
I have heard parts of this quote before but hearing it at this particular time held a higher significance to me. As I sat and listened to these women tell their stories I felt the presence of greatness. Women being open and honest is hard to come by. Often we dumb ourselves down for people or leave out important details of ourselves for various reasons. In the end neither serves us well.
That evening had a similar story to the night before, dinner with the girls, followed by hot Krispy Kreme donuts and a wine run. We sat in our room again talking until the wee hours. Even getting so loud at one point that the staff came up to quiet us down. Hard to do when you are having so much fun talking to all of your new found best girlfriends.
Wednesday morning arrived quickly and I was sad it was over. Two roommates were gone and it was down to Kelsey and me. I offered to drive Kelsey and Hillary to the airport that morning. We had a few more convos that morning that meant a lot to me. After dropping them off, I started flipping stations to try and find something worth listening to. I settled on a morning talk show and listened for a couple minutes, I was thinking about switching it when the gentleman, Glenn Beck, started reading a quote… Marianne Williamson’s quote people! I was in awe of the quote once again. I had to let it all sink it and had a feeling of peace settle over me. I then passed an exit sign for Smith Road. One of my roommates last name. What?! Another little hint at who I had met over the past couple days. (Name changed for privacy)
I love signs like these. Little confirmations, whether obscure or blatant, that make me feel like things are right in my world.
The beginning drive home was beautiful again. I passed through several areas that were just gorgeous. My favorites being Pilot Mountain, North Carolina and Fancy Gap, Virginia. Throw in a couple Appalachian Mountain tunnels and I was a happy girl. I had also learned from my prior trip to withhold fluids to expedite my trip time. The second half of the drive is when the rain started. I found the radio to be lacking the last couple hours, no SiriusXM and my iPhone/iPod didn’t have a good playlist ready for this type of drive. So, I turned on a couple Ted Talks by Brene Brown. She has been on my radar for a while and I have a couple of her books on my to-read list and thought this would be the right time to listen. The first talk I listened to was The Power of Vulnerability and then Listening to Shame. I realized the reason I connected with these women so much was because of our vulnerability. While it had been raining prior, during the first talk the sun peeked out between the sky full of clouds. Instead of putting my visor down I decided to let the sun shine on my face and be thankful for it. With that, I let my own light shine.