AROHO: My Long Road Home

Well Dear Readers–I left Ghost Ranch and the 2013 AROHO Writers’ Retreat yesterday morning, pointed the Jeep north and just drove, grateful that I had nothing to do but steer and follow Siri’s directions to Provo (a strange place to end up after a week with women writers, but conveniently located).  I pulled into the Hampton Inn around 7:30, excited to sleep in a real bed, alone in my room with my own bathroom, so thankful I wouldn’t have to make the trek across the desert from my casita to the communal bathroom to pee in the middle of the night.

I’m still unpacking all that the week taught me, but I re-learned a few truths (and sometimes re-learning is the most painful and revelatory sort of learning):

  • Never judge a book or a person by its/their cover–what lies within is all that matters. As I sat and listened to all of the women who were brave and read their work, I was blown away every three minutes (the length of each reading). 
  • Ask for what we need. As I listened to AROHO founders Mary Johnson and Darlene Chandler Bassett throughout the week, their power and determination continued to impress me and to impress upon me the (for lack of a better word) miracles that can occur when powerful women decide to go after what they want. If we don’t ask, no one will know what we need.
  • Acceptance and self-acceptance come when we just do our thing, walk our own walk, talk our own talk and rest confidently in our (overused word alert) authentic self. 
  • Everyone has a story. The key to the story lies in the telling. 

I went to a writing retreat, but the work I did there had less to do with writing and more to do with simply being, in the quiet, in the desert (an apt metaphor if ever there was one), with myself.