The bowl of angel cards sat unobtrusively on a small, low table to one side of the dining hall, but it caught my eye as I was leaving the room. It was Saturday morning and I had arrived at Queenswood the night before, excited to bask in the personal retreat weekend I had wanted to do for myself for ages and had been anticipating since I had made my reservation the month before.
Admittedly, upon arrival to Queenswood I was a bit disappointed. Its guest rooms were dated, the washrooms needed a renovation and the pool house was fairly depressing. So this is why the rates are so low, I thought to myself, unsure of what I had gotten myself into after I had been given the tour. But after that somewhat lukewarm introduction to the place I spent my first evening there sitting contemplatively in the Mary Garden and quietly reading my old journals in my dorm room. It began to sink in that this was the start of a rare weekend on my own so I’d better not spend it complaining to myself that the easy chair in my room was a little worn. As in, get over it, there are more important things to focus on here. And there were.
In fact, by the time I turned out the lights on Friday night, at slightly after 9:00pm – a luxury for me who loves her sleep! – I had already started to make some progress on one of my goals for the weekend. I was starting to get my head together about future career directions and trying to answer that all-important question: how will I go on creating the rest of my life?
Saturday morning, then, when I pulled an angel card from its resting place among the others in that bowl, I smiled at the word I had drawn – ENTHUSIASM. Yes, I realized that’s how I did feel: glad to be there, happy that I was giving myself the solo time I had been craving for a while, and enthusiastic that a whole other day and a half of time and space still stretched ahead of me. I knew I would have no problem filling it up with activities that filled me up.
Later that morning I went to the guided art studio where I collaged a representation of what my future work life will look like out of old magazines. And that afternoon I indulged in a Swedish massage, something I haven’t given myself the opportunity to do in the couple of years that have passed since my daughter was born. Later, a Hatha yoga class drew me to the Marguerite Lounge and I had no problem with going with the flow when the instructor extended the class an extra half hour, I was enjoying it so much.
Somewhere in the middle of all that on Saturday I wrote, read, ate the delicious food Queenswood provided, and planned my life out ahead of me. I took advantage of silent meal times to read and write and think and yes, I even stared off into the forested landscape beyond the dining hall windows a while too. Nice.
Reading my old journals was enlightening. Had I really been that insecure, worried, lonely, confident, ecstatic, searching, and even sometimes wise young woman in those years? The journals I brought with me dated back to 1994 and it was wonderful to swim in the waters that were the “old me” for that time. It was hard, actually, not to want to reach back and say to my 21-year-old self (with the knowledge of what had yet to happen): “Girl, that boy will call you! Don’t worry about it so much and get on with things!” And eventually over the journal years I read my words did get on with it, talking not as much about boys or men, but about hopes and plans and dreams and ideas and what I wanted out of life and work. But there were still words about love, yes. Love was never to be forgotten in those pages, it just became more singularly focused. I relived the early years of meeting and getting to know my husband with fresh eyes – a gift!
As I poured over my long-ago-written words, at one point I was astounded to read a description I’d written eight years ago about the kind of work I eventually wanted to have – descriptively, in 23 points – and realized that I have every one of those elements right now in my current job, save one that is not really such a big deal in the end. If ever I needed proof that there is a powerful universe out there conspiring to answer our clearly-desired and defined dreams, that was it for me. I don’t talk much of blessings but when I read those words of intention with the knowledge that I have now, of what came to be, I do feel blessed.
Sunday morning after breakfast, I pulled a second angel card from the bowl. It was EXPLORATION. I had done that the night before while slowly walking the labyrinth, and did come away with answers to the questions I had set out to explore when I entered its paths. The angel card reinforced for me the place that exploration does hold in my life, whether it be of places, cultures, ideas, words, passions, or change (in its many forms) – and I was glad that I had given myself a weekend to not only explore the past and who I was in it back then but the future and what I hope it will bring.
My list of lifelong dreams is extensively longer now that I’ve had this time on my own. I’ve reminded myself what I once felt and wanted and have gotten clearer on my hopes and dreams for what’s to come. I am so glad I took the time to go to Queenswood by myself and just for me, and I will definitely do it again, maybe even choosing other retreat locations that could feed me in different ways. Twice a year might be just about right.
The angel cards seemed to know what I was about that weekend: ENTHUSIASM AND EXPLORATION. I told the universe what I’d like to explore next, and I look forward to seeing what unfolds for me with all the enthusiasm in the world.