The universe and the mysterious ways in which it works have never failed to amazing me and rightfully put me back in my place. On my first day in my apartment in Medellin, I decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood (Laureles) and stopped at quaint little cafe, La Factoria. I sat down and ordered a Michealada (your choice of beer, with a whole lot of salt and lime juice) and a veggie quiche (THE BEST QUICHE IN ALL OF THE LAND). I noticed an energetic, smiley woman and her dog and just as I noticed her, she also noticed me. She smiled and said, "Hey, you look like you speak english!". Not sure what gave it away, maybe my bright blonde hair, pale skin, or my botched Spanish accent (or the combination of all three?). Let me tell you, when you arrive in another country that does not speak your native language and you finally hear someone around you speaking the same language as you, you automatically want to spark up a conversation. We ended up talking for hours about life, our travels, our purpose. It was genuinely a conversation that I never wanted to end. I told her of my dreams of finding ways to speak to women around the world about about menstrual health and education and that's when she told me that she leads a Women's Circle where women have a place to listen and support one another, without judgment, without interruption.
Like I said, the universe works in mysterious ways. This woman, Sierra, holds a Women's Circle two blocks from my house? I just can't say no to this. So I didn't. The Circle holds eight-week sessions with around five women in each cycle. I was going to arrive two weeks late to the cycle and that terrified me. I couldn't help but think that these women had already formed a special bond and I was going to be way out of my element. And to be fair, the first few weeks I didn't say lot but rather chose to just listen.
Sierra has a few guidelines for group:
I ended up doing three 8 week sessions with Sierra and a select group of women that I will consider my dearest friends for the rest of my life. I learned more from listening to other peoples experiences and outlooks than I have learned in any book. We learned how to recognize our emotions and what our bodies might be telling us. We had full moon ceremonies and pot lucks, and trips to chocolate fincas, and weekend poolside getaways.
I learned how to listen, how to hold space for yourself and other people. I learned that our emotions and reactions are valid, no matter who may try to discount them. I learned that my body is power and magic all in one. I learned how to laugh until you cry and cry until you laugh. But most of all I learned that we worthy and when women start supporting and listening to other women, we can move mountains.
Deepest gratitude to all of the women in my life and a special thank you to my soul sisters: Sierra, Cynthia, Erin, Shelley, and Greta. <3
PS-Thanks for letting me capture all of your lovely faces.
A vibrant village that rests west of Bogota, Salento is not to be overlooked. Thousands of tourist travel here every year on their way to the Valle de Cocora. Inside of the colorful buildings you will find artisans of all types selling their goods and trading their knowledge of the land and resources with the people around them. If you're looking for a place to try the typical Colombian food, look no further than the bustling plaza in the center of the town. After a long day exploring the Valle de Cocora, we treated ourselves to a nice, cold limonada de coco. Imagine having your favorite key-lime pie but the liquid version. We stayed in a hostel that was about a ten minute walk outside of town, and it was well worth it. La Serrana Eco Farm and Hostel offered stunning views of the rolling hills that surround the area as well as an abundance of exotic plants and beautiful flowers. La Serrana and Salento did not disappoint.
Tucked away in the lower reaches of the Parque Nacional Natural Los Nevados is one of the greatest gems of Colombia. Valle de Cocora offers breathtaking panoramic views of rolling green hills and the tallest palm trees in the world, the wax palm which grow to around sixty meters. We rode in the back of a jeep from the vibrant town of Salento, about thirty minutes away.