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Women in the Wilderness: a retreat for the Soul. (and it was!)

Today—my heart is full.

I have returned from nearly twenty-five days in the Wilderness of Idaho, the most special of which, were spent with a small group of fellow soul-travelers who comprised our “Women in the Wilderness” retreat.


I have been at a loss for words with how to describe and share some of what we experienced together… but here goes.

I was blessed to get to lead, learn, play, share, explore, create, embrace, rest, wonder, wander, laugh and love with these incredible women for 6 days in the rugged and wonderful wild of the backcountry.

For those who are yet unfamiliar with what true “backcountry” is, I will attempt to enlighten you with words (though the rest can only be experienced): We traveled over fifty miles into the wilderness by bush plane, leaving all technology behind aside from headlamp and camera… there is nothing operated by machine, not so much as a wheel. Into the wild you go, with only yourself and minimal gear, and a few equine friends… in hopes that that is exactly what you will find: yourself.

We mantied and packed our gear onto our horse and mule coworkers and traveled to our quiet little camp nestled against the mountains along the river, in the heart of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. We took “Solo’s” into a special meadow, long ago inhabited by native peoples, and searched ourselves for our own inner voices. What were we seeking? What dreams have gone too long unanswered? What are we ready to leave behind, that no longer serves us?

We took turns building and nurturing our ritual evening campfires, allowing them to burn away that which has held us back. We cooked our meals from wholesome wild and local foods, allowing our bodies, minds and each other—to be deeply fed. We practiced morning and evening Qi Gong in the meadow and along the river’s edge, allowing our minds to slow and ourselves to become aware of the present moment. We connected with our energy and allowed it to move more freely through us, healing. We shared and supported each other in our journeys, building the soul-connections we all search for.

We bathed in the river’s cool reenergizing water, collected wild edible plants, gathered wood, learned to pack mules, and heave heavy loads, climbed mountains, weathered refreshing rainstorms, enjoyed deep sleeps, and explored the secret language of dreams. Together.

We heard a lone wolf howl, an osprey cry, an owl's call through the night, a coyote’s urgent bark, cow elk call to their little ones and the roar of the river cleanse our busy minds. We drank from clear, crisp mountain streams and filled our souls with the energy of the backcountry.

We were led by the horses and in turn taught to find our own leadership with them as well.

You know that time you are always trying to find… to… ? Paint, draw, sing, dance, dream, journal, reflect, walk, try it, explore, experiment, be yourself? We took it.

I can say that much of my life has been seeking. Seeking that work I felt I was called to do, to not only live a fulfilled life, but also to serve my fellow man/ woman. I’ve gotten close a few times. And then, not so very long ago I happened upon a kindred spirit (who I am still not convinced isn’t just an ancient master or fairy-light-being inhabiting a modern earth-suit to bless us all).

Together we dreamed a rather similar dream… and well, last week it came true.

I share all of this with you now, to say a few more things—not the least of which is, wow, we had so much fun together!!

The first—YOU are an exquisite being created from a love larger than you can conceive of—those most special of your dreams, created from that same love, can absolutely come true.

And second—join me! I invite you to give yourself some time like this. Time to be. Release your fear. Discover your true soul purpose. Open your heart. Free your creativity. Transform your life. It doesn’t have to be with here, but find a way, even a small one. You will not regret it. You owe it to yourself. Because the world needs YOU.

I am deeply grateful to have been able to share with and learn from you women of the wild in your courage, trust and vulnerability to embrace the unknown! And I can hardly wait until our next one in August of 2019!

If this speaks to you, or you know someone who would enjoy this experience, please join us and share this message with them.

From my heart, thank you to all of you who made it possible, through support, inspiration, teaching, leading, mentoring, and much more throughout these many years. With the deepest gratitude.

From one seeker to another,

~ Jess

The Open Heart Space Organization

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