By Emma Young
Women taking time to reconnect to their spirit, mind, body, and purpose are rare. Yet it can lead to unexpected transformational experiences. For Sharon Kay, a private business consultant and Human Resources Manager based in Staunton, her first WHW (Women Helping Women) Retreat was just that. “I was most impacted. It was such a cathartic, healing, reconnection to who I am as a woman in this world. I went away feeling more solidified as an individual and more strength as a woman than I anticipated,” Kay explained. “It gave me further direction and confirmation of what I’ve been doing right and where I need to be going. [A WHW Retreat] helps you see your personal strengths when you’re in an environment like that. You feel stronger walking out,” she said.
The 1- to 3-day WHW Retreats are designed to allow women to sample techniques and activities that aid in healing, the cultivation of inner peace, and the uncovering of one’s authentic self through educational and energizing programs offered in an affordable, private retreat setting, run by women for women. “Women together are powerful,” said Rae Roach, the founder and visionary behind WHW Retreats, based in Prince William County. “We tend to stay apart and we tend to take care of everybody else. Women are the nurturers. If you can’t take care of yourself though, you can’t fully give to others,” said Roach. PWL A WHW Retreat gives women the time and space to break-through the daily grind and allow for self-development in a supportive environment, while giving them the tools and lasting, responsive network to continue the journey along their chosen path when they return home. Said Roach, “I wanted to have a place and an avenue, a sanctuary, for women who are going through a struggle, to come to a 1 day or 3 day retreat, and find a bond with women and meet with women practitioners who can truly help them on their journey. I was put on this earth to connect. I want to connect women.” As a presenter at WHW Retreats, Kevyn Burn, B.S.N., R.N., certified Healing Touch Practitioner, and owner of Light of Life Energy Medicine, would agree. “There are plenty of superficial ways we are busy and distracted, and it will eat the soul if we don’t subscribe to care and support of ourselves,” Burn explained.
“A key is to make it affordable,” Roach explained, so that every woman has an opportunity to attend. Take a sample of the 1-day retreats offered in 2016, April 24: “Re-writing Your Story,” June 25: “Creating a Vision,” or October 23: “Taking Care of You,” each offered in Haymarket. For only $60 for the entire day’s program, to include lunch, drinks, and snacks, attendees will actively participate in intimate, personal, and supportive sessions guided by professional female teachers and leaders covering topics as diverse as freeing yourself from your past, the ways to manifest a positive and rewarding life, and ensuring your needs are met without guilt, using practical tools and methods.
Roach, who is inspiring and supportive during my interview with her, explained that her goal is for women to leave with the tools they need to be true to themselves and find success, whether in business, in their personal relationships, or spiritually. “I want these women to go home and to do something with it. I want them to come away with strong feelings, knowing they’ve found out something about themselves, they’ve figured something out, and now they have a way to souse out that problem they’ve been struggling with.” This includes a lasting support group that combines the talents of the professionals who lead the retreat with the bond created with the women who attended alongside. “It’s almost impossible to do something completely on your own. Let’s do it together,” said Roach.
KT! Eaton, a film producer based in Staunton, was “interested in connecting with other women in my community who want to live mindfully and authentically,” she wrote in an e-mail interview. She found the practical tools Roach spoke about helped her. “Through movement exercises, writing exercises, and contemplation, I felt increasingly centered and able to look at challenges in my life with a different perspective…The retreat reinforced and reminded me of my inherent strength, the power of my intuition, and the unlimited potential of my creative force. Being part of a close, supportive circle of women is essential for my well-being and I went home and made this a priority in my life,” she said.
Each retreat features women entrepreneurs and healing practitioners, further helping women-owned businesses. “Women entrepreneurs, especially those in the mind, body, spirit realm, have the opportunity to more effectively showcase their products and services and establish valuable partnerships when the amount of time is less constrained and the atmosphere is free of the typical distractions at networking events and product fairs,” said Roach. Presenters, such as Burn, not only benefit through networking with other like-minded practitioners, but feel the power of a WHW Retreat as well. “I felt deep unconditional love and respect for the participants, and awe at the power of women coming together. I also was very affirmed as a presenter in my personal wisdom and power to assist deep process,” she said.
This fits with WHW Retreat’s vision of encouraging participants to learn, network, and find support among women that can advance them along their chosen paths of self-awareness and self-development. “Women need to honor our sacred power to connect and support each other at deep levels. It is an ancient and righteous calling,” said Burn. “It’s about connecting women and tapping them into that inner source of strength, guidance, peace, and their own femininity. It is the strongest thing,” affirmed Roach. In Kay’s experience, “it’s very refreshing to reconnect woman to woman. It’s great networking. It’s great support. We always need another look, another perspective, even when things are going great. We rarely allow ourselves that time in our daily life.” Eaton encourages women to attend. “Give yourself this sacred time,” she said. “This retreat is one day. You are worth this day, and so much more!” Women Helping Women Retreats can be found on face book and at http://whwretreats.com/whwretreats.com/.
Scheduled 1-day Retreats are held in Haymarket and are affordable at $60 per retreat. For more information, visit the website whwretreats.com.