“I surrender,” said Claudia, when her aunt picked up the phone. Before her aunt could get a word in, Claudia continued, “Listen, you know that Women’s Retreat thing you’ve been trying to get me to go to for, like, years? Well, I think I’m ready to do it, and I wondered if you wouldn’t mind giving me all the information…again.” Claudia carefully wrote down the information, hung up and redialed the phone. Happily, there was an upcoming retreat scheduled in just a few weeks and even better, Claudia arranged to talk in person that afternoon with the woman who would be running it.

This is the part where I’d love to write that Claudia attended the retreat and got her mojo back and lived happily ever after. But, it wasn’t quite that easy. When Claudia arrived at the retreat, she met women from all over the place, from very different economic and cultural situations than hers. She was embarrassed to find that being with others so different from her kind of scared her. The leaders of the retreat kept inviting everyone to just be themselves and that they were all welcome. One curious observation was that the leaders were not exactly young, but they seemed to feel that everyone was beautiful which made them look a little beautiful themselves.

At the retreat Claudia wrote fairy tales, played with her inner child (she felt extremely self conscious about this exercise, but ended up loving it), befriended a tree (who knew?) and learned more about herself and the other participants. She couldn’t remember when she had felt so free and she also realized that she wasn’t very fond of herself. One day someone said, “You don’t like your anger very much, do you?” “Now, why would anyone like their anger?” she replied. “Maybe it has something to teach you — why don’t you talk to it?” a teacher asked. “Talk to my anger? How do I do that?” “Why don’t you go outside and take a walk with it and see what it has to say?” Feeling somewhat foolish, she laced on her sneakers and headed outside. “We’ll be waiting for you,” her instructors called as she left.

Have you ever “talked” to your anger? Are you brave enough to share what it said?