Women from across central Alberta converged on the Sylvan Lake Community Centre on Saturday for the 2016 Women’s Wellness Retreat.
Over 50 women joined together to celebrate and do what organizers called, ‘hitting the reset button’. This year’s retreat boasted a theme of ‘Be happy, you are so worth it’ and encouraged women to take time for themselves to reset and do what makes them happy.
Due to inclement weather, keynote speaker Rosabelle Daugela was unable to attend; however, local author and motivational speaker, Teresa Rilling filled in and shared her wisdom and experience.
A trauma survivor, Rilling conveyed a message of hope and healing through her humorous anecdotes.
Rilling recounted her recent memoir, ‘Just Breathe – Hope Beyond Hurt’, in which she recalls her experience of over coming childhood trauma to find a life blessed by God. She detailed her family life – having been married to her husband Jim for 30 years, parenting three children and having a total of 11 grandchildren.
“How many of us walk into situations where we simply wish we could walk back out and hit the rewind button?” Rilling asked her audience. “People’s attitudes make a big difference.”
There are two types of voices that command our actions every day, she added. A negative voice, which will fill one’s life with doubt, bitterness and fear along with a positive voice that prevails through hope and strength.
“Which one will you choose to head?” she asked. “We all have a choice. We need to take our thoughts as if it were captive and interview them. Do you let anyone who knocks on your door into your house? No – you’re cautious.
“This is what we need to do with our thoughts. We can’t let every thought that surfaces dwell in your mind.”
She recommended a process of self interviewing, in which one asks themselves ‘How will this build, encourage or help?’ “Negative thoughts never strengthen us,” said Rilling. “Why moan about our aches, pains, problems and tasks? Instead, be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life. What we think does make a difference, it shows on our faces.”
In addition to a touching tale of Rilling, attendees of the 2016 Women’s Wellness Retreat also had the chance to hear from Leah McIntyre – a local mom, business woman, community leader and wife of Sean McIntyre, mayor of Sylvan Lake.
McIntyre delved into the impact relationships with others can have on one’s well-being focusing on one particular type of relationship.
“Marriage,” said McIntyre. “When I was growing up, I never dreamed of getting married. I wasn’t one of those people who had it all picked out and planned – that wasn’t me.”
She recalled to the audience how she once saw herself living in a big city, working for a giant corporation and living in a high rise apartment.
“My companion was to be my pet cat – that was in the plan,” she said laughingly. “Then Sean came along.”
Having met initially in junior high, the pair began seeing one another in high school. Four and a half years later they would be married.
“He completely changed the life I had seen for myself,” said McIntyre, adding you have to be in it to win it when it comes to marriage. “We have been married for 13 years now.”
During her address, McIntyre explained how having a strong marriage can contribute to your overall wellness. However, as humans are not innately born knowing how to be in a marriage, it is often a learned trait explained McIntyre, marriage also has the potential for negative impacts on one’s well-being.
She detailed the impact of compromise in a relationship.
“You have to learn to do that with some one who has their own emotions, opinions, strengths and weaknesses that may not always align with yours,” said McIntyre. “Some days you won’t be on the same page as your spouse. Some days you might not even be in the same chapter or book. But that’s okay, because it’s unrealistic to think you’re going to be in sync all the time.”
“If you don’t expect it to be perfect, you won’t get thrown off when things aren’t so.”