“There’s a certain alchemy when women get together—a depth of work that’s different from when there’s a co-ed audience,” explains Gemma Gambee, a meditation teacher who co-hosted a women’s retreat in the forested hills of upstate New York last fall.
“Depth of work” is wellness speak for self-inquiry and subsequent self-improvement. The kind that, in this context at least, begins with letting down your guard and spilling personal, potentially painful, stories to the group. “I ultimately really think that as women we communicate differently than men. When we’re together the conversation goes deeper,” Gambee says.
Sitting cross-legged in a inclusive circle to talk and trade feelings is the centerpiece of retreats like Gambee’s. Beyond being an effective ice breaker, these emotional purges are also the fastest possible way to bond a group of strangers. Once shared, struggles that feel deeply personal often turn out to be universal.
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