24th May 2016

Dear Reader, I went camping.

For three nights, I slept under a canvas dome two fields away from the nearest flush loo. Which means yes: I had to wee outside. And I made tea with a kettle on an open flame. I braved the sounds of beast-based courtship in the middle of the night. I used communal showers.

I feel like Bear-freakin-Grylls.

I was at the stupidly beautiful Fforest Manorafon for Sisterhood Camp.

Lou, the beautiful visionary behind Sisterhood got in touch months ago to ask if I would lead a coaching workshop. Which is my favourite thing to do so I immediately said yes.

And then I was preparing the material last week, and suddenly realised that this was for an audience of makers and creatives, lifestyle bloggers and photographers. Artists. Other workshops included wild flower arranging and loom making. Many are famous on Instagram. They read Kinfolk. They could be on the bloody cover of Kinfolk.

I breathed into a paper bag for a while.

On the morning of my workshop, the hot water in the communal showers ran out early and it had rained for 15 hours because: Wales.

I felt utterly dishevelled in a sea of beautiful women in photo-ready knitwear.

So I traipsed back to the dome for a few moments alone. I meditated. I spoke kindly to myself. I decided to just fucking bring it.

I asked our lovely camp-hands to help me clear out the tin barn of furniture, we stoked up the fire, put blankets and cushions on the floor, and a few rows of chairs at the back. I sat on the floor and just sent up a little prayer: 'let me be helpful to just one woman'. I was expecting maybe 10 people, but they just kept arriving, bunching up and chatting happily until we had a full house.

The hour passed in a whirl. I shared a meditation to help everyone be present. And then a visualisation to help open up access to our bodily wisdom and find what yes and what no feels like.*

There was time to share, and bravery and truth was met with tears and laughter and 'me too'. It was a beautiful experience that left me fizzing. It made the rain stop and the sun come out.

And for the next 30 hours I was sought out for conversations about self-doubt and feeling like an imposter, being blocked creatively and feeling the pressure of playing to an audience. We talked about debt and disappointment, caring for ageing parents and tiny humans at the same time in the same house, living with depression, anxiety, infertility, in a marriage, the tedious boredom of motherhood, fear. The search for a meaningful creative life.

I know: invite me to your retreat, I'll unleash a total party.

But there was something healing about it to. Several women said things like: 'I've never said that out loud before... you are the first person I've told about that... do your think this is normal?!' I hope it helped to talk, to let go a little of the shame and secrecy that keep our shadows running things.

On Saturday night, under a full moon around a fire pit and with owls hooting their support and belief, we released our fears into the flames. And we witnessed each other in claiming something we were ready for.

It was aces.

On the long drive home I was thinking about how we never really know what might be happening behind the beautiful images we see on Instagram.

We can scroll through these moments, with thoughtfully placed objects to capture the light just so, the bursts of colour, or the muted earthy palette, and we can make all kinds of assumptions about who that person is.

But these are just ways of saying: 'hey look what I see'.

It's a way of making something beautiful in a life that is full of the usual heartache and joy and days that all run together without anything seeming to happen.

It's a way of connecting.

And the little hearts and comments they garner, are a way of responding: 'hey I see you'.

Which is, I think, a universal human need.

I am so deeply grateful I got to meet the women behind the gorgeous images of my Instagram feed. To share something of their lives and stories.

They are all the more beautifully real to me now.

Sisterhood Camp: highly recommended.

{press play for a gorgeous mini-movie of the weekend by my insanely talented dome-mate Xanthe}

A video posted by ☆ Xanthe Berkeley (@xantheb) on

*I'll be sharing this process in the June newsletter for My Mindful Year - you can sign up right here.



Hello, I'm Sas Petherick. I'm a self-doubt researcher, coach and podcaster who helps thinking humans transcend self-doubt. If you'd like to receive these posts in your inbox please subscribe here (with bonus info and first notice of opportunities to work with me). PS: I totallyInstagram - join me there?


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