My five-month-old son swallowed a grape whole today. Twelve minutes of restricted breathing felt like a brief lifetime slipping away in my arms. Every tragic scenario imaginable played previews in my mind as I swung him upside down, forcing my…
I did a thing. I committed to doing many things this year, but one of the most important and scariest of those things was to launch and host my first Black Girl Speaks Healing Retreat. All of us get whispers from the monster of insecurity. It lurks in the closets of our hearts and under the beds in our minds. It takes great effort to silence them. This past weekend I did just that. I did a thing and I’m so happy about that.
I’ve seen others do it. I’ve known of the benefits of women coming together with a common purpose of healing ourselves and each other. I’ve created the space for that virtually, but this year I was pushed to expand beyond the virtual. I’ve envisioned hosting a retreat for the sole purpose of healing and restoring Black women for years. Fear, the garbled gimmick that it is, restrained me from execution prior to now. This year, I used it to propel me instead of paralyzing me. This year, I promised myself that I was going from doing to done and letting go of the impossible quest for perfection before production. The voice of Serena Williams echoing Nike’s tagline has been ringing in my ears like some parroting angel on my shoulder.
The benefits of the silencing of my fears brought forth new life this past weekend. Sixteen Black Girls (women) converged in a South Florida resort without any firm expectations or desires other than to begin a new trek towards our complete and total wellness as we launched the first Black Girl Speaks Healing Retreat together.
We came from various walks of life. Some married. Some single. Some raising children. Some impacting them solely as aunts and Godmothers. Some survivors of abuse and trauma. Some empaths who’ve lived seemingly un-traumatic lives, but still feel great pain (because no Black Girl’s life lacks trauma unfortunately.) Some entrepreneurs. Some homemakers. Some in the corporate web. Some queer. Some exploring without labels. Some strictly dickly. All Black. All women. All striving to do the work necessary to really be better, instead of pretending, and break some unhealthy cycles.
If God gives you the vision, you’ve already been prepared and given the provision.
I began planning the inaugural BGS Healing Retreat in January and had asked a sister friend who has planned her own retreats in the past to partner with me. I wasn’t honest with myself about it then, but the confirmation of my true reasons for asking her to partner with me being fear, insecurity about being enough, and a desire for validation became glaring when she could not attend after months of preparation due to illness. We both received the same message in our meditations that this was my opportunity to walk confidently in the role as a leader and guide who transparently shared my own healing journey to help others.
I was terrified in January, but I was affirmed the night before the start of the BGS Healing Retreat when she, my lead facilitator, informed me that she would not be able to come. The adage that God SPEAKS in mysterious ways hung over our heads as she explained that a rare eye infection in her right eye would prohibit her from travel. I knew this was my time, and I was ready.
We began the retreat with a day to explore our new haven. Black Girls relaxed poolside or on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. We acquainted ourselves over dinner. Most of us did not have a relationship with more than one other person, if that, before arriving. The next day we opened with libations and a practice that helped us identify and name what’s blocking our healing. We pushed through those hindrances through yoga and an activity to release before sharing the day and our trials together in an intimate space.
Women released the burdens of sexual trauma, Imposter Syndrome, fear of failure, unrequited love, and unfulfilled desires. We faced our truths, began the process of gracing ourselves with forgiveness, and embraced ourselves and each other with the healing power of love that only sisters can share. Even I had breakthroughs that I never could have anticipated. We were honest, authentic, and vulnerable. It opened the space for restoration.
We were blessed with the gifts of two of our sisters, Summer and Kendal Esquerre of InHer Power, as they offered us new tools and resources in the forms of Somatic coaching and sound energy healing to aid us as we strive for wellness. I was fortunate enough to find all Black Girl vendors to serve as our assistant, vegan chefs, and practitioners for the day, and for that I am extremely grateful. (You can visit our site to see more about who they are and what they offer: www.blackgirlspeakshealing.com)
Overall, the inaugural Black Girl Speaks Healing Retreat exceeded my own expectations as God usually does. I left reminded that I am whole, purposed, prepared, and positioned to manifest all that I desire, and so are all of us. So, I did a thing; a scary, overwhelming, fruitful, powerful, amazing thing. And, it’s proof that you can do your thing(s) too. Do your thing Black Girl! Just do it!