It has been said; “...to walk in a redwood forest is to enter nature's cathedral.” The roots of a redwood tree rarely go more than 12 feet into the ground, but they can extend up to 100 hundred feet outward, forming an intertwined and even fused network of root systems with other redwood trees. They thrive in thick groves, giving them tremendous strength against the forces of nature. Often, a new generation of redwood trees sprouts from the roots of a fallen redwood, creating a near-perfect "Sister Circle" or ring.
Amidst the dog days of summer, near the end of August, eight courageous and compassionate military spouses arrived in Pittsburg, PA., anxious about what they might have to face or even admit about the relationships they've shared with a military veteran that struggles with PTSD.
As their journey together began, some of the women arrived ready to share and open up with others about their experiences, others were much more reluctant, at first. Despite age gaps that spanned more than a generation or two between them, these women quickly began to realize they shared many commonalities.
These valiant women, many of them both mothers and caregivers to veterans with significant PTSD, having poured so much of their love and energy into taking care of others, found themselves depleted and searching for something unfamiliar yet so needed: Help. After spending years sacrificing their needs, quieting their voices, it was time to rise up again and become the healthy Redwood tree not just for their families and military spouses, but for themselves. Throughout the long weekend, tears, hugs, comfort, laughs, and time in nature were just some of the things that helped each of these women find incredible strength within they had thought was long lost. TWC's gentle retreat process, lead by a veteran and his military spouse, helped model positive relationship communication, leading to profound inner discoveries by these retreat participants, and most importantly, allowed for space and time for these caregivers to TRULY care for themselves.
As their retreat unfolded, they gradually began to trust themselves and each other, listening to the messages deep within their hearts. As the trust built, guarded walls fell away, and the retreat’s tender process slowly allowed each woman to be vulnerable, to share, and connect, both with each other and their true selves. All the while, a truly powerful, and beautiful sisterhood of military spouses grew deeper - interconnecting on a vast level, like the roots of a redwood tree.
The Redwood tree is considered to be a symbolism of wellness, safety, longevity, wisdom, and communication. Together, and through the bond of these Redwood Sister Warriors, this "Sister Circle" found renewed strength and began to thrive again.