Friday, December 8, 2017

Sifting Through Life: Breitenbush Hot Springs



NOTE:  There are not any naked pictures in this post. This is a family friendly site. Just in case you were wondering....LOL

It has been a long week. Finals are next week and I am sick. The kids are sick too. The hardest part is, here we are in December, and our weather is gorgeous. Like bright blue sky, mid 50's, little to no wind, gorgeous. Here we sit, sniffling and coughing watching this weather pass by, and we can't enjoy it, other than to watch it from behind our windows in the house, on the couch. Bummer.

Today was the worst of it for me. My body decided to put a halt to all studying and parenting for the day and I found myself in bed. I did have class at 2 but promptly came home and went back to bed. Two naps in one day has done wonders, I am feeling better. Although, it is 11 o'clock at night and I am wide awake. I have studied metamorphic rocks and volcanoes until my eyes are bursting from over studying.

I've been wanting to write this piece for a while, ever since we came home in October from our trip to Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon. I guess today, with it's bright blue sky and beautiful weather reminded me of our trip. I booked this October trip back in May. I knew that it may be wet from rain, cold, and dreary. I didn't care because I thought the hot springs would be great with the cooler temperatures outside. We were pleasantly surprised with a burst of bright weather over the last weekend in October. The picture below was taken on our drive up to Detroit Lake, OR. You can see the blue sky and Mt. Hood in the distance.


We arrived, our first time here, to a little bit of paradise. Checking in at the parking lot was a piece of cake. The attendant in the registration office was informative and welcoming. The parking lot is above the retreat. They provide pull dollies to carry your stuff from your cars to the cabins. We needed two. Our stay was for 3 days but you need to bring your own bedding, pillows, bathroom stuff, etc... Of course, we needed snacks. We way over packed! Keep in mind this resort is an optional clothing hot springs. So clothes while in the hot tubs is not necessary, you will need clothes to walk around the retreat center and to dine in the cafateria. We didn't know what to pack because the weather in Oregon this time of year is all over the place. I am glad I packed warm clothes, the nights were very cold. I saw some people there in their pajamas and robes the whole weekend. I chose to change more frequently for meals and classes than most. Next time, I will still bring my warm coat, gloves, and hat but leave some of the other stuff behind.


Our little cottage was so cute. One full bed and a twin, a toilet, and a sink. Small and the perfect size for just the two of us. We weren't quite sure what to do when we first got there. Neither of us had ever been to anything like this before. It is something I have wanted to do for a while. I can't tell you why I wanted to get naked with strangers in an outside environment, other than to say I felt compelled to do it. I felt it was something I needed to do for me as a woman, as a human, as a person. I needed to let go and just be. I wanted to be naked and unafraid. I was hoping for a change in my perspective and I got just that. 

I had no idea what to do or how to do it other than to go to a hot spring, take off my clothes, and get in. It all happened that fast. My stomach was flipping, my heart was racing, my hands were sweaty. I looked like a pro on the outside but on the inside I was all wiggles, giggles, and anxious. Cory and I stopped at the first hot spring and did what everyone else did. We followed the leader and it worked.
Honestly, I was afraid if I thought about it, I would chicken out. 

I am so glad I did not chicken out. It turned out to be the best visit for both of us. We met some of the most amazing, like minded people, that resonated with our value system and ideas. We felt like we had arrived home. Inside the hot springs we chatted, laughed, and talked for hours with people from all over the world. Married, single, same-sex, parents with kids, older couples, younger couples, you name it we saw it. All body types. This was comforting for me. I was nervous about my body. I am almost 50 and my body has been through child birth several times and natural aging and sagging. It happens. Nobody cared what our body looked like. Or at least, that is the impression I got from the whole experience. Nobody pointed fingers, laughed, or made wise cracks. 

People were at the springs for a variety of reasons, but after our conversations with a few, it felt like they were there to relax, let go, take some yoga classes, enjoy the outdoor scenery, be inspired, and breathe. By the end of the three day weekend, I missed the kids, but I didn't want to come home. It felt too good to be true to have found a place that was so peaceful and accepting. A place that we could be with strangers without our clothes one minute and then eating dinner with them, fully dressed, the next minute. 

I left that weekend with new friends, a new perspective of myself, a new lease on life, a new me. I knew I needed to do this but I wasn't sure why. I know why now. For me it was the final removing of a belief system about nudity that been preached to me from the time I was young, nudity was wrong, nudity was evil. There is shame and regret attached to this too. It was my perception, from an early childhood, that it was all for the purpose of recreating. Nudity was looked down upon and was something that should be hidden especially when it came to women. Women should be covered up always to save face, to prevent a bad reputation, and to hide our flaws. 

As a woman, I wanted to let it all go and be free, my flaws and all. I wanted to lay out on the rocks at midnight, naked, and watch the stars. I wanted to sit in the sauna and then go sit cross legged outside and meditate in the cool crisp air, naked. I wanted the freedom to just be a human in human form without clothes, makeup, or society telling me to change. I needed this to happen and I am so glad I followed through with this bucket list item.

I can't wait to go back and neither can Cory. We both felt so alive when we left and refreshed. Our spirits were high and our outlook had been changed forever about nudity, freedom, and self care. It was easier than we thought, and less scary on the inside once you take the leap of faith to do it. I don't know what we expected but what we got was nothing like it. People were open and accepting. We are planning a trip for Mother's Day. They host all types of weekend retreats. In May, they offer a special Mother's Day Family weekend. 

Here is a direct link to the January workshops (click link for more information) and weekends in case you are interested in attending.

Lodging Information (click link)

I know that this experience is not for everyone. I understand that we all come different upbringings and religious back grounds and for some, this might be bordering on an over the top experience.  If I could go back and tell my younger self one thing, it would be to do this long before now. I came home and told all my kids of my experience and how I wanted them to do it now, and not wait, like I did for the right time, the right body, the right what-ever our ego tries to protect us from. Do your research and find the best place for you to shed your clothes. I don't think I could go just anywhere and have the same experience. I know that Breitenbush Hot Springs was the right place for me and my family. As an added note, you don't have to be naked. I saw people with swim suits, some bottoms only. 

Remember, be you. Be authentic. Be carefree. 

This is not an ad. 





Sunday, December 3, 2017

My Reflection #poetry



This semester I took a creative poetry class. I wasn't sure if I would like it or not. I was nervous the first workshop. I felt vulnerable reading my poems to the class and then sitting there, silent. Waiting for the chance to defend a word, a punctuation, a space, the emotion, the meaning, etc...

We have 15 students. We round our tables and chairs to create a big circle and for two and half hours we listen and talk about poetry.  We offer suggestions and interpretations to those who have written the poems for the week.

The poem below is a revision of a poem I did titled, Two Versions.  I didn't get a lot of feedback to change much, other than, to expand the story and I did. I am amazed at how it turned out. Mostly because this class was not an instructional poetry type class but more of a workshop. Almost, as if, we were expected to know how to write poetry before we arrived. Most of us had written before, but did we know the rules about writing poetry? No.  Critiquing other works and having our own work picked apart has been a great learning experience for me. 

The poem below is read from left to right, the white space is on purpose. Almost as if, there were two poems: one read left to right and one read with the extended words on the right. Try it both ways and see what you think.

I hope you enjoy the poetry pieces each week. Personally, this has been a wonderful experience for me to explore and create a new type of writing.




My Reflection 
by Sherron Watson

Today I see me and                                                          you see her
two versions of the                                         same person
One that I let you see,                with smiles
and perfect rhythm,                                              solo and strong
The other,the real me,               with two left feet
imperfect frame, weak,                                               bruised and sore


It is a dance of passions,                       a tango of desire
Twirling in rhythm to a                                           song that loops
Over and over, I listen to the           movement
trying to be one with the music,                                         with this life
keep moving, waltz,                     sway back and forth
three steps, two steps,                                                                   one step, back


It works until it doesn’t                               and people
discover the rehearsal was                                                 better than 
the performance, hijacking the             dual personality
and creating a new sound,                                                     a new dance
a routine of imperfections,                                      lost in space
dancing without a partner,                                                                  alone and solo


I stop.                                                        I stare.


I catch my reflection, the flicker of                            my hand
curved, arched, ready to move,                                                                tired 
there, there between the brow,               you can’t hide
I see the sorrow in                                                            my smile
A hint of darkness with                                                                         a beam of light
my spotlight, my image,                        the real me


The music slows and fades                           from my ears
Our eyes meet, you and me, it’s                                                                    all I see
tears falling, hurting inside,                                             wanting 
it all to end, we will                                                                        some how collide
forcing this partnership to unite,              motion forward
it’s too late, the music begins,                                        our hands drop


We are expected to blend,                              to be
partners, choreograph this life,                                                                oneness
playing the part,                                      swans in the night
My reflection laughs,                                                                    jumps to her toes
I slowly follow,                              moving to point
swirling in motion,                                                in sync we bow


This is me,                                                        the one you see
the one looking back,                we are the same
Act after act,                                                                                 changing our costumes
night after night,                                          watching the crowd
Perfecting our lines,                 creating our stage
Two versions, my reflection,                                                you and me


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