• Alicia Assad

The Day I Ran with the Wolves

Yes, my calling is to be a storyteller, but now I see that the point of the stories I tell is to heal.

Photo Credit: WYLD Facebook Page

I bet this unusual title caught your attention, right?

Does it make you think I've gone rogue and entered the wild?

I mean, I did leave my kids and husband behind to sit in nature and contemplation for a day. I suppose in the busy and demanding world I mother in, THIS IS ROGUE.

Yet I am beginning to think if we can do this with more regularity, we might find ourselves closer to wellbeing. At least, giving myself permission to be one among a group of women who gathered to learn, reflect, and grow has given me a lasting burst of energy.

How often do we linger in a sacred space where we can just BE (flaws and all) and feel beautiful, somehow closer to WHOLE, within a group of strangers? We don't, because it's nearly impossible to find such an environment. Furthermore, that sort of exposure can be terrifying!

But here I am writing about how transformative an experience like this can be. Essentially, I am pointing you in that direction if you feel called to go there.

Are you brave enough to follow through?

A dear friend and colleague of mine, Kristin Meek, is the mastermind of WYLD, and curates experiences for individuals and teams to grow and actualize their potential, usually in nature. An offshoot of this is Women Who Run with the Wolves, the workshop I attended last Saturday. She gave me few details about what the day would hold (intentionally), but I went with an open heart knowing Kristin would organically blend positive psychology and strengths coaching with the magic of nature; this duality of science and adventure is who Kristin is at her core.

Listen, I was willing to go on this "blind adventure" because I've known Kristin for years. To say I KNOW her is with a friendship I cannot measure traditionally. We met back in grad school and actually partnered together on our capstone project. We created a strengths based coaching program to foster resilience in teens and twenty somethings. It was an intense time of hard work and dreaming before our paths diverged as motherhood called me and she went onto flourish in a coaching career.

Now, it's just a conversation or text that brings us back to the days we sat on the floor of the bedding department in Bloomingdale's in New York City eating frozen yogurt.

If you are wondering why we chose to sit on the floor, it's because the tables were too artificial. The cafe too busy. The lights too bright. For the conversations we were having back in our twenties, we craved an avant-garde space where the chaos of the city melted away and we could just BE.

I tell you this, because I realize now this was all Kristin. I followed her to that place. With her I felt open to sharing, discovering, and dreaming. Point being, I found myself back in that same sacred space of my 24-year-old self at her workshop last weekend.

The six hours I spent is a small amount of time in comparison to the 5 day retreat she does in Wyoming. Yes, typically she brings you to the actual wilderness for a life-changing experience. In fact, one woman in our group had just returned from this experience and the light in her eyes, the passion in her spirit was palpable. She spent days in the "wilderness," but craved more. Back in her "ordinary" routine, she needed a boost of what Kristin has to offer to keep her magic alive, and found it in a "mini" retreat.

See, sometimes life gets too noisy. We delve into what we feel we MUST do, and in surrender, can lose a bit of ourselves. It's hard to hold onto the vision of our best self in a demanding and complicated world. We wrestle with things like who are we meant to be? Should I be doing this? Can I do this? Am I strong enough?

Women especially, eternally wrestle with the demands of maternal instinct and personal success. Sometimes we stray from the path we are meant to be on because of pressures we cannot define, and feel lackluster. We assume things are holding us back from what we are MEANT to do, but are they really?

Kristin helped us find what's not serving us, nudged us let it go (if we were willing), and then gave us a compass to find the direction we are destined to walk.

No, she didn't counsel us or fix any of our problems. She helps us uncover those truths and gave us the tools we need to mend our own wounds. Most importantly, she showed us that we can tap into our most authentic self and hold onto her in the real world when we part from the group.

There is a power I cannot define or measure that arose in the group of women I was with who were willing to be vulnerable. Each of the 12 women I was with had revelations both big and small. If any of you are reading this post, I hope my words inspire you to hold onto what we discovered last weekend together. I say this with immense gratitude, for being with you reminded me of how important the sort of connections we made are to me. The experience we shared pushed me deeper into my calling.

Yes, my calling is to be a storyteller, but now I see that the point of the stories I tell is to heal. My writing brings healing not only to me, but perhaps to you, or anyone else who is meant to hear the words that organically rise in my heart. I write on motherhood and resilience and have alluded to my vast studies from holistic nutrition to positive psychology, dance, and yoga. An eternal student, my goal has always been to create an integrative practice where I can support other women wherever they are on their journey and lend my eclectic wisdom to heal, support growth, and to show others how to follow their calling.

That day I ran with the wolves showed me I am ready. I am ready to teach and guide; to show other women the depth of their strength, and how they can thrive.

Healing is a solitary journey we walk of our own motivation, but sometimes we need nudges of support along the way.

If you have actually opened this post, and followed my words to this point, you might be one of those women I am meant to help. I am taking my first five coaching clients at a discounted rate, so if you feel that pull in your heart to find your calling, to make better sense of yourself in the world around you, or to heal, email me: alicia.assad@gmail.com.

I am ready and willing to walk with you into the wilderness and stay with you until you find the strength and courage you need to delve further on your own. I've just realized the words I write create a bridge for you to walk towards the sacred space Kristin has taught me to create for you.