During the first week of October, the Women’s Law Section of the State Bar of Montana held its every other year continuing education seminar at Chico Hot Springs Spa in Pray, Montana. Eighty women registered for the one-day event; a percent of them spent at least one night, a smaller percent of those also took a soak in the hot springs pool, and an even smaller percent spent more than one night. As far as I have been able to determine, only one took advantage of the massage services at the resort. It seems ironic to me that at an event designed by women and for women – and this year geared toward life balance and grit – fewer than half of the folks were able to take advantage of a couple of days of rest and relaxation.
There is something magical about Chico for me. The rooms are distributed across buildings, at a variety of land levels, and in different forms. Some are old style hotel rooms with bath services separate from the room. The “Fishing Lodge” is a motel which was moved to the property; small cabins and large ‘lodges’ are also available which include kitchens and living rooms. You will NOT find televisions, radios, or satellites. You will find mountain peaks, rolling hills, trees and flowers, a healthy garden where the produce is harvested for use by the restaurant, animals, and a fabulous hot springs-fed pool and hot pool. Even at 30 degrees air temperature, the pool is hot. And the water is supposed to be good for you (See goop.com and the recommendations of Gwyneth Paltrow among others for more details about the healing properties of mineral springs. It is gooooooooood water.) The food at the place is fabulous; the orange flambeau is my favorite!
I traveled to Chico on Wednesday and left after a massage on Saturday. (Yes. I was the only one to get a massage there, and I took advantage of the herbal wrap and full body massage combo and was gifted with the owner of the spa as my massage therapist.) I made it to the pools on four occasions; I had fabulous food in the restaurant, the poolside grill, and the bar (where I also enjoyed a little local whiskey, thanks to Willie’s Distillery and Headframe Spirits.) I not only spent time and money at the small gift shop; I sent most of the attendees in search of cool socks and fun post-it notes during our break. I walked, slept, discovered that I could watch movies for free on my Amazon Prime account (yes, they have wifi ~ it’s not the end of the world there!) And no. I did not know before I arrived that movies were part of my Prime membership, particularly new movies like Florence Foster Jenkins and old musicals like Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella. I walked. I slept. I rested. I recovered. I allowed. And I was richly rewarded.
As the chair of the section, I got to guide the topics for the seminar and I pointed them directly at life balance and resilience, a hot topic for our profession, our town, and most anyone who is paying attention to stress levels in our world. The greatest honor of the weekend was the hour I was able to speak about resilience with the women gathered. Our group included Montana Supreme Court Justices, District Court judges, the President of the Montana State Bar, legislators, government, private, and solo practice attorneys from all corners of the state. It was the best hour of my life! I was engaged, excited, addressing people who make great differences in their communities and in our state, and I was able to make a difference for them. We talked about trauma, brain development, resilience, practices for maintaining well-being and balance in a harried life ~ all in an hour! When the State Bar President asked if I would be willing to do some podcasts on wellness, I responded that I would love that AND I need to find a way to make a living doing that. Her response? “Let’s make that happen!”
And on Saturday morning, as I was packing my car, a number of the women who were also packing up to leave went out of their ways to speak with me. They complimented and thanked me ~ and more importantly, they asked about some of the resources we discussed. They took notes and scheduled occasions for implementing practices. And their praise was accepted and welcomed by my formerly resistant ears. As I walked through the lawn, one of the chairs caught the wind and fell over. In that moment, I realized that I DO KNOW what I love most and what my purpose is. I was at home, passionately engaged, and happy. “THIS is what I am on the earth to do,” I said aloud. I know where I belong and what I can contribute.
Now you may have already known that. What you don’t know is that I have been so busy trying to figure out something, I have been blind and deaf to my Self. I have doubted my capabilities, my resume, my contribution. And in that earthquake moment on the lawn at Chico, I saw it. I heard it. I trust it.
WOO to the HOOOOOO! Let’s Carpe this Diem!!