I went into my trip feeling cloudy and physically weak, exhausted and almost numb mentally.

It was like I had been doing what needed to be done every day, I was connecting with my clients and helping them grow but I was just standing there. Over Analyzing everything in my space. Not really sure anymore where I needed or wanted to go from here.

I cried the morning I left. I felt sick. I was scared. and I cried at my kitchen table. And then again in the Jeep as I was gassing up. And crying isn’t something I do very often…ya know, because I’m super tough. Rawr.

Anyway. The drive there I didn’t talk on the phone or message or engage in conversation at all and I continued that most of the trip. For those of you who have asked, YES I actually DID drive 9 hours alone into the mountains and stay for 10 nights in solitude. Yes I worked while I was there but I kept it to a minimum. I did my coaching calls, the training in my paid groups, and responded to email 1 time each day. I’d say I worked a max of 2 hours each day, if that.

The rest of the time, I wrote. Or slept. Or ate. Or sat there staring off into the space. Or rocked on the porch. Or soaked in the tub. Or read my book. Or cried while in the tub eating and reading my book.

The first night was weird. The second day was weirder. But then it just felt good. I felt good for more than just an hour at a time the first time in a long while. My appetite came back. My eyes weren’t heavy after 10 minutes of work anymore. I felt so much clarity.

You see, I’m an extremely observant person. I rarely forget anything or don’t notice something that is going on around me. And weeks..well actually months leading up to this trip, I had stopped noticing. I didn’t notice the small sounds or lack of them anymore. I locked myself out of my house 2 times. I dropped the Jeep door on itself while taking it off to go on a doorless drive because I wasn’t paying attention. I lost a credit card. I forgot to send something. I misplaced like 17 things. All of those things are NOT ME. I don’t do that sort of shit, EVER.

All clear signs that I needed this trip more than anything.

On the second day, I noticed the wind. I noticed how the wind would whip up at the top of the driveway and as it came down along side of the house and continued into the holler it got stronger and louder. I noticed that for about 5 whole minutes after I felt the gust of the wind, I could still hear it below me on the mountain as it continued on it’s way through the trees.

I noticed every little sound of that house, which is something I find really comforting (and I’m happy to report that since I’ve been back home I have heard all of the normal house sounds here too, and I hadn’t heard them in a quite a while before ). I noticed that every morning around 7 AM I would wake up naturally…that or it was because of the hawks outside my window. Every morning they had quite a lengthy conversation with one another.

I think it was in one of the times I found myself literally staring at the wall, at the way the log cabin was put together and dissecting it with my eyeballs that I realized I had gotten away from the art of just BEING. I used to be really good at it. I would just sit and think and connect back with my purpose and with my own thoughts, no noise, just me. And I had stopped doing that.

And it was when I sat in the tub one night, listening to the rain fall, turning the water on and off with my toes that I realized I had gotten so caught up in defining everything in every area of my life that I wasn’t enjoying the people and the things that I love the most anymore. I somehow had decided unknowingly to my logical, conscious mind that I had to define everything. Family. Friendships. Tony. Me. My house. Every layer of my business. Every channel of communication. Every piece of my health. Every piece of my journey. Somehow I had convinced myself that it all needed a definition and after that epiphany moment I realized that by being so obsessed with defining it all, I almost lost myself in the process.

Thank God for these insights, right?

Another thing I realized was that I had reached a level of what I had been wanting to create in such a new form of reality that it scared me. I wanted a life I personally designed and when I got it, I freaked out. I wanted more freedom and when I got it, I freaked out. But those freak-outs were apparently on the DL because I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

Fear was everywhere and fear was a part of a lot of the things I had been experiencing. Ya know, fear will always be present..it’s just a choice on if you let it drive or not. I know this. I have always been aware of this but for what I know will in the future only seem like a moment in time, I forgot.

Throughout my time in the Tennessee mountains, I looked fear in the face more that I ever have. Every time something came up I asked myself if it was fear or reality. And I walked THROUGH it. Not around it but through it. Faced it. And dealt with it.

It rained a lot while I was there and a few of the nights I had this feeling in the pit of my stomach, this voice in my ear that said “go dance in it”. Well, I don’t like to be cold, or wet for that matter so I ignored that call. But it came again. and again. and again. Until it was the second to last night there, it had just gotten dark, the rain was pouring, and the idea crept up yet again. I heard “strip down and dance in it”. So I did.

And it was scary. I ran outside like on my tiptoes (why do we do that when we’re cold by the way?) like somehow I was going to get into trouble or something. Like I was breaking the rules. Like someone was going to pull up and arrest me for being naked in the woods. Um really? Talk about subconscious programming bullshit at it’s finest. So I talked myself through it. I breathed deep and I just stood there, arms up, water running down on me. The fear was there at first but it quickly was hushed by the sound of the water. The cold was there but it was hushed too by the feeling of connection. Bare feet to wet earth. Surrounded by wild. Completely free. Completely myself. Standing there letting it all completely engulf me.

Take that fear. In. Your. Face.

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take the feeling of pure liberation over the control of fear any day.

So needless to say, I spent 9 days, 10 nights, and 18 hours in the Jeep by myself. No people. Just me. I didn’t even go to a store or eat a meal with other people. I brought everything I needed with me and stayed in my solitude.

OH I take that back, I DID spend about 3 hours hiking on my last day there with the woman who owned the cabin and it was one of the most powerful conversations I’ve had in my life, all in which I will explain to you later in a different entry. So stay tuned for the magic of Marshajene later.

While I was gone I got messages from several people telling me “there’s no way I could spend that many days out there.” They all said that, which I found interesting. And I thought to myself, whelp that’s the difference between you and me. I refuse to not practice what I preach. I refuse to ignore what I feel in my core I’m called to do. I refuse to settle for anything in any area of my life. I refuse to not live the life I talk about living. If I say it, I do it. End of story and this trip was just that to me. Committing to this life wasn’t a half-hearted promise from me. I dove in head first and don’t plan on ever turning back.

This adventure was just that for me. Diving deeper. Being truer. Clearing more so I can shine even brighter.

Walkabout. Soul searching. Mental health retreat. Getaway. Adventure. Finding yourself.

You can call it whatever you want, the name doesn’t mean a thing. It was worth it in every way. And I’m sure it won’t be the last time I do something like that.

I can tell you one thing though, the next time the wild calls, I won’t take so long to answer.

So what am I calling this retreat of mine? Gathering Bones.

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