• Dr. Phillis Mims-Gillum

WOW Winter Retreat: Restored. Rejuvenated. Ready. "I am the promise land"! L+L+L=


The most important journey you will ever make is the journey to yourself. Life is shaped by the decisions and choices we make along the path to self-discovery. To get there requires courage, growth, self-reflection, flexibility and adaptability to change. It is inevitable that we will experience incredible highs, unspeakable lows and all the terrain in-between. Going higher and moving forward requires releasing weight, breaking through barriers and transcending anything that looks like it might be in your way.

So it was, is, with my journey to myself by way of the 2016 WOW Winter retreat in Seattle. An unexpected and uncharacteristic change in the atmosphere created a snowstorm (in my life and in the environment.) I, and other amazing participants, teachers, and leadership, slid slowly and deliberately on the dim-lit road, around the curves, to ascend up a mountain. Determined, we stopped only when we had arrived and we were promptly immobilized in a bed of snow and ice. It didn’t even matter, we made it. It seemed the universe had deemed that this was the necessary next stop on our journey and precisely where we needed to be. Every woman registered showed up! We came, naked and unashamed, transparent and vulnerable, uncertain, but hungry and ready to be free.

Beautifully constructed shells can be full of so many cracks and holes. We shed our masks and peeled back the layers of our souls, releasing the bitterness brewing beneath the surface so we could burrow around to find the sweet nectar long since forgotten. Stories were told, truths were heard and together we were reminded that we are more than our shame, our secrets, our mistakes, our fears, our doubts, and others beliefs. We stood rooted in our worthiness. We crawled back into the womb to be nourished and replanted in our rawest form and then re-birthed with jubilant dancing and song. It was amazing!

When I began my return from the mountaintop, I felt more securely rooted in self, no longer stuck, and above all committed to myself. I admit I held my breathe, I had been warned. I was determined not to head into the valley, so I returned to level ground. As for those calls and text messages that attempted to distract me while I was at the retreat, I found the alarming reports and warnings to be greatly exaggerated. Or perhaps it was just easier deal with because I had developed my spiritual muscle to face happenings in my world.

Clarity, focus and resolve. It became crystal clear to me what I need to do and what I won’t do. I will move forward. I will go higher. I will cast my rope ahead of me and release the ties that bind pressing on and up. I returned restored, rejuvenated and ready!

I finally understand what Moses and Martin must have learned, seen, and understood when they went to the mountaintop. I had to pull up the famous words of Martin Luther King, Jr. and read them again. I take liberties to paraphrase them here for my amazing WOW Sisters and the women who will come; “I don't know what will happen now; we've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter to me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind….. I've looked over, (in the mirror, in the eyes of my sister) and I've seen the Promised Land…. I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” I am the Promised Land. I am Love. I am Light. I am Liberation. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of ME.

Here’s to an amazing and transformative 2017 and BEYOND!

Dr. Phillis Mims-Gillum is an original founding story teller of the Wonder of Women movement. A practicing OBGYN in the state of Michigan and owner of Beyond Doctoring

Photo Credit: @Eyemagination Imaging


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Photography by Eyemagination Imaging