If ever there was a place where beauty, prestige, brilliance, and success resided, it was without a doubt, at the I Am That Woman Retreat. On this retreat, I was blessed to be in the presence of 55 women who embodied this effortlessly. Of course, I have been in the presence of many successful women, but this experience carried a spiritual and kindred force that could not be duplicated in any other space or time. The vivacity that was felt at the I Am That Woman Retreat truly changed my life forever. 

On the wonderful Unico’ Resort in Mexico, I spent 5 amazing days with a group of women who, in my eyes, resembled God herself. These women hold many degrees, have conquered their careers, manage thriving businesses, enrich their communities, and in the midst of it all still shine from the inside out. They were women with legacies that encompassed triumphs, accomplishments, and self-fulfillment, along with battles well won.

The Decision

It all began with a conversation I had with a beautiful woman at a networking event I attended the year prior. As she told me about her life changing experience at the retreat, she extended an invite for me to attend the next one. As she spoke of her experience, her eyes told an even deeper story. She seemed fulfilled. She had a glow. Something about her conversation, the tone of her words, assured that my presence was necessary and that I too would be impacted. As our conversation closed, the hairs on my neck were in full erect. We eventually said our goodbyes not knowing that we would absolutely meet again.

For months I could not let the conversation end, at least end in my head. Should I go? What if she is a fake trying to sell another women self-help convention? Let me see if any of my friends are aware of this retreat, were my thoughts. As I wrestled with the idea of going to this retreat, and going alone, I could not ignore what an amazing, impactful experience it could be if it were true. The entire year I pondered. It did not help that the description of the retreat was intimidating. The website included, “We welcome women seeking to work up strategies for their second and third acts in life.” For me, I had barely gotten through this first act and I was not too sure if I was remotely ready to think about a second run. But, what I have learned throughout my decision making process includes being still while allowing signs to guide me. So during a conversation with my husband I expressed my reservations regarding the retreat. I shared that I was scared to travel alone and be vulnerable in front of women I absolutely did not know. My husband in exchange reminded me of how I share my sacred life experiences with the clients I coach, and that I am often vulnerable during my sessions. He assured me on my ability to trust my Universal Flow in situations where I am not privy of knowing the outcome. Most importantly he reminded me of my constant conversation to be amongst powerful women who impact the world in very unique and special ways. So, I did it! Paid my way into the unknown.

Am I good enough?

This is always a statement that sits in the bottom of hearts when we are daring to put our most vulnerable parts on display. But here is how I looked at it. My name is Dorothy Payne-Polk! And as much as I would like to act as if the name “Dorothy” alone deems me fit to sit amongst women who have arrived, I also know that it comes with much more. Passed down from my grandmother, the name Dorothy comes with an energy; an energy that knows that true wisdom is passed down from the souls whom have seen more and have chosen to experience life fully.  So, I packed. I prepared. I went alone. Expecting that this would be life changing, and assured I would be schooled by my village of beautiful black women.

What did I experience?

As the youngest attendee, I actively participated in any and all conversations, every workshop I could attend, meditation and yoga session, poolside mothering, and adventures the retreat offered. I explored my environment in its entirety with my heart opened, being vulnerable in every exchange and encounter. The wise women shared information on a wide range of things. Conversations of navigating careers to raising great children, wellness and mental health, overcoming challenges, and most importantly, being comfortable with being that woman. They spoke of their ability to acquire high levels of success while being mothers, wives, sisters, cousins, and friends. They stressed over and over again the importance of reaching back and sharing the “how-to” with other women. They were some of life’s triumphs in human form, spreading their essence and black woman magic throughout the world. There were so many CEO’s, executives, business owners, and “first black woman” to go around. But the most beautiful part of it all, they were there to share, to help, to reach back and pull up, and to support. They freely shared stories and experiences, both good and bad. Provided contact information, leads, and connections, with confidence that the next women will win in every exchange. Officially being recruited as the youngest member of the tribe, I began to understand that my dreams and aspirations are real and very possible because I had 54 examples of excellence amongst me.

What I have brought back to share with my village came from one of the many impactful women that presented during the retreat, Connie Lindsey, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for Northern Trust. Because of her and many more, I now know these things for sure…

  • It is an invaluable skill when one is able to see their true self.
  • As long as you speak a person’s name they don’t die.
  • Do well with what is within you.
  • Your call is uniquely you. It is that which without you cannot be done.
  • You are the Sky. Everything else is just weather.
  • You can run many things, but you are never in full control.
  • Become a great student. There is no real benefit in being a know-it-all.
  • Do not be afraid of you, what is in you, and what can come through you.
  • Rewrite or expand as many chapters in your life as you choose too.
  • Travel alone at least one time in your life.
  • Never fake it until you make. Just be authentic. It is easier on the soul.

Feel free to visit the Facebook page to learn more about the I Am That Woman Retreat 2020 and the founders Twyler Jenkins and Dawn Steele Halbert.

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