Having lunch and catching up with a longtime friend always warms my heart. Eleven years ago I had no idea what this lunch would lead too, but it was a step in many life-changing events.

I was sharing with my friend, Nancy, how I was feeling sick. My heart was always racing, and my anxiety was what was driving me. I was the exorcist behind closed doors – exhausted, but in the best physical shape in my life. Crazy, huh?

Nancy asked if I need a referral for a therapist and I thought yes, not a bad idea. I wanted a woman, and Nancy had the name: Eve Cribbs. So I received the number, and we continued on with our lunch, chatting, laughing and a bit of comparing our fitness training advancements and what worked for our clients. A great afternoon.

Outside after lunch, we stood for a moment on the sidewalk, and she asked me, “Would you be interested in a women’s weekend retreat? I think I tripped over my tongue to say YES, when, where and NOW! Sign me up could not have been spoken fast enough! She offered me a meeting to learn more, but I said: “just tell me how much, where, when, I will discover the details when I get there”.

I knew I needed help to get all of this head-spinning spitting green in my life in control. (Some sort of head/mind altering pleeeease!)

Before arriving at the camp, I had a litany of paperwork to fill out, and quite frankly, all I remember was that I wanted “peace within”. Just peace within myself – help! At the registration table, I remember women working, scurrying around back and forth, (I guess preparing for us women that would be journeying – whatever that means). One paper I signed off on was to promise to commit to completing the weekend. It said I had to stay until Sunday evening 6:00 PM. Here is what went through my mind: really? I have my keys; Screw you I can leave when I want! Hmmm, that statement told me I really needed to be there.

I was assigned a room with two beds and a bathroom, and I was soon to meet another woman, my roommate. The accommodations were great – warm and rustic. (Thank God, because I don’t rough it and share a bathroom with multiple people….just saying!)

After the other seventeen women arrived, we were summoned to the main building to enter this beautiful room with nine “circle-sisters” awaiting us. We went through logistics, “closed the circle” and danced awake the Universal Energies. You had better believe my head went right to, WTF did I just pay for? Holy shit this is crazy crap!

A conversation with myself went like this: Settle down, Kim, you have your car keys you can always leave. Well, I stayed through Friday night until Saturday morning and then I was still ready to leave.

Something finally clicked for me after the first teaching on Saturday, and I knew I was right where I needed to be, I belonged. It was quite the jammed packed weekend. I never once felt exhausted, but truly rested and grounded.

A was searching for peace within me, I was begging for it, desperate for it, so I stayed.

Sunday afternoon, after another teaching, we were instructed to go walk the land, not talk to anyone and contemplate questions that were given to us. I walked outside towards the pond and stopped to take in the herons, making their noise. I took in the gray sky, the slight rain, trees and the buildings – so beautiful. The rain was picking up, so I decided to head towards a building with a fireplace, my questions, and journal in hand. However before I took a step I looked up to the sky and asked God to please just give me peace within, God, it is all I want. Please!

I looked down onto the ground, and I spotted something in the dirt. I thought it was a rock, but when I reached down to pick it up, I realized it was A HALF-BURIED PEACE SIGN CHARM! I was speechless, I felt like I left this planet miraculously to be answered in my quest!

After the retreat weekend, I snapped back into my mundane anxiety driven life. I wasn’t ready to stay connected. However, the peace sign charm hung around my neck. My husband eventually came home with a stunning new peace sign necklace that is on my neck at all times. This charm was placed in a pouch along with a marble (something that I received from Eve Cribbs – another very special thing) this never leaves my side as I keep it in my purse.

A year later, I felt I was missing my peace, so I went to go grab it and found it was gone ­- marble and all. I turned my home upside down looking for this pouch, only to realize that I had recently donated. I was devastated for about one hour until I let go. I knew that someone must have needed it as much as I did the day I found my peace among the dirt.

My peace is in my heart, my soul and my spiritual connection to God. Trust me, it took me awhile to succumb to this, and honestly, it requires daily practice to surrender instead of worrying.

Ten years ago, falling asleep at a red light was the next huge moment where I knew I was in trouble yet again. I stepped back into the retreat, and instead of a weekend it was a nine-month journey, and I have not turned back ever since the red light.

I am blessed to be alive, and to have opportunities to grow my connection with God, even deeper every day!  I mess up, I curse and I may fall off the road so to speak a bit. However, I never turn my back on my personal spiritual relationship with God. He has my back, and that feels so cool!

I have peace within, I am tangled up in Peace, and peace signs are monumental for me!