There is Beauty in Just Going – A Wind River Wellness Retreat Memoir by Allison Schwartz

Allison Peeler Schwartz, 2014 retreat participant, graciously shared her experience with Wind River, a partner of 24 Foundation who helps relieve emotional stress and improve the quality of life of cancer survivors through wellness retreats.

Schwartz Wind River

There is beauty in just going.

Cancer changed everything. It made me stronger. It made me less afraid of so many things; so when I found Wind River on the internet and connected with Shannon late last year – a beautiful relationship began.

I applied for the April 2014 retreat and by the grace of God things worked out and I flew to North Carolina from Texas for the most profound weekend of my life. Cancer has a way of doing that – changing you in ways you’d never expect. Cancer introduces you to the MOST amazing people ever. Period.  The week before I left Dallas so many people asked: “Where are you going?” “Who will be there?” What will you do?” My answer to all questions: “I don’t know.”  I went with my gut on this one, trusted completely and WOW.

Weeks later and I’m still processing my weekend. What I know for sure is I fell in love with 15 people, two cats and an amazing “cabin” in the woods. Some are survivors and some are healers. They are all real, beautiful and full of life. They changed my life for the better. They surrounded me with love and respect and helped keep me whole. We laughed. We cried. We laughed some more. We had new experiences. We shared our most personal stuff – the kind of stuff that needs complete trust and love in order to share. These folks are real. These folks have experienced pain. These folks are dealing with cancer with the utmost grace and humility. These folks truly realize the beauty in everything life offers. These folks are butterflies and fairies that bring peace and love to everyone. These folks I’m talking about? My Wind River peeps. My posse. My “deuces”. My loves.

Wind River is a place to heal. It’s a place to grow. It’s a place to laugh. It’s a place to cry. It’s a place to learn new things. It’s more than a place, really. Wind River is a state of being. Wind River scoops you up and allows you to float freely while receiving love and peace.

A simple email asking to be added to the Wind River mailing list blossomed into a relationship with Shannon, Dave and the Wind River community. What does the Wind River community mean to me? It means love, understanding, peace, freedom and hope.  My life is taking a different path. I’m changed forever. I took a leap of faith. I trusted. I went.

There is beauty in just going.