Michele Neff Hernandez, my friend and the amazing woman who created Soaring Spirits International, has asked us to contribute to a project to celebrate the ten year anniversary of Soaring Spirits. Using #howisoar, she is soliciting paragraphs about how Soaring Spirits has impacted our life.
How could I possibly answer that question in just a ten sentence paragraph? But this one experience kept popping into my head, so I decided that was what I would write about.
Here's the paragraph and photo I submitted:
My husband’s death left me living on my own for the very first time in my life at age 59. Joining Widowed Village and attending Camp Widow during that first year gave me a community that has provided inspiration and supported my growth. They gave me hope that I could find a way to live this new life in a way that would honor Vern. I am volunteering. I am doing daily acts of kindness. I am teaching soul work and holding retreats. And since hiking in a rain forest had been on our bucket list, I decided to head to Costa Rica on my own. I snorkeled for the first time and hiked through the Monte Verde cloud forest, crossing eight hanging bridges high up in the canopy. I even held a red-eyed green tree frog in my hands on my 64th birthday surrounded by new friends I had just met. Thank you, Soaring Spirits, for giving me my wings. #howisoar
This trip was truly monumental.
- I had just retired and knew I had to force myself to schedule activities so I wouldn't just spend all of my days 'cocooning' inside my house.
- I learned I could travel alone ... even to a foreign country!
- It's ok to go someplace where you don't know anyone. There are wonderfully kind people everywhere.
- Snorkeling? I don't even know how to swim! But I did it!
- I have a fear of bridges ... and here I was standing several hundred feet in the air on a bridge strung between trees.
- Vern loved the movie 'Avatar' and some of his last words to me in hospice were "I see you". Being high up in the forest canopy made me feel Vern was standing there right alongside me.
Yes, Soaring Spirits definitely gave me my wings. And I am so very grateful.