I’ve just returned from another incredible weekend at Shaa Wasmund’s The One Retreat.
This time however I was there as part of the support crew rather than as a participant, freely giving my time and services to help a small group of women achieve extraordinary and deep shifts in both business and life. If last time I found the experience hugely beneficial, healing and powerful, this time it was truly profound and humbling. Shaa says the retreat is the best thing she does, and now I see and feel why.
I’m not usually big on ‘women only’ events; I enjoy the company, input and energy of men.
But something about this event creates an environment for the women there to really bring out the best in themselves. It’s a collaborative, non-judgemental, supportive, empowering, creative, generous, safe and equal space for any woman who is prepared to be wholeheartedly open and vulnerable. For the first time I really felt and understood the term ‘sisterhood’.
And why was this time even better than the first time for me?
I believe it’s because of how much I was willing and able to give, with no expectation of a return.
The joy of giving feels a theme for me just now. As a family, we feel so fortunate for all we have and the love and support we feel, for a while now we’ve been exploring what’s the best way for us to give something back.
The opportunity found us in the end and in June this year we’ll be opening our hearts and home to a little girl from the Mogilev region of Belarus – an area still heavily contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear fallout from the 1986 disaster. She will come to stay with us for a month a year for the next 5 years (Valya is currently 7 years old). Bringing her away from the contaminated environment for even such a short time will help to detoxify her immune system, as well as opening up her world to whole new possibility (you can find out more here).
This is something we know we can give and had no expectation of anything in return. However as soon as we’ve started to tell people about Valya, we’ve been overwhelmed by their heartfelt generosity and support. Valya hasn’t even arrived yet, and already it feels like a humbling and tremendously rewarding experience with many unexpected benefits.
Giving is about growth.
When we’re strong, and connected to the best of ourselves, freely giving with no expectation of return, this takes us further and higher without depleting ourselves. Instead we are nourished.
If, however we give with an expectation of something back, a kind of ‘tit for tat’, it’s not giving – it’s barter.
Or if we give too much, give so that we become less strong, or lose in some way, it’s also not giving; it’s martyrdom and reduces our ability to give more in the future.
Which is why it’s not selfish to put ourselves first – it can be selfish not to because we hinder our ability to give to others.
Staying strong, well, at our best allows us to keep growing and giving and brings real joy to feed our soul.
That kind of giving is a gift to ourself.