Secret adventure results in life lessons learned
Normally I’m not an adventurous sort of gal. I have my routine and the places I enjoy going and the people I enjoy going with. Mostly, though, my biggest treat is to stay safe within the confines of my home in pursuit of solitary interests.
Wendy Pitts Reeves had a different idea for me, though. It would take some courage to do, but she said I could do it. “Even a rather large, half-crippled woman?” I asked, only partially joking. “You can do it,” she repeated. “Trust me.”
Trusting people does not come naturally to me, especially when it involves an activity I won’t know anything about until it actually begins. With great trepidation, though, I finally said OK, paid my money and presented myself as a first-timer on one of Wendy’s Secret Adventures for Courageous Women.
Let’s back up a bit.
In August, I wrote a feature about Wendy’s new coaching program, Courage2Confidence, an outgrowth of her counseling practice in Maryville. Wendy is a licensed clinical social worker and decided to add these Secret Adventures for Courageous Women to, as she describes on the Facebook page of that name, encourage women “to take the amazingly powerful, natural Courage that you already have (and often don’t recognize!) and turn it into true, in-your-bones Confidence — mostly just by living, experiencing, DOING things you never knew you could do.”
Most of the adventures are total surprises to the participants. Past activities have included tea parties, a moonlight hike and picnic, camping, fishing, the Olympic art of sweep rowing. To help women decide if they are physically able to participate, Wendy developed a rating system — Level 1 is for anyone, regardless of age or ability; Level 2 requires moderate physical activity; and Level 3 is more challenging.
She’s been after me ever since I did that story to participate in an adventure, telling me that I could physically handle the Level 1 adventure she had planned for November. Finally, she wore me down, although I thought about backing out several times. The point of no return was when I received the email with “traveling instructions.” My response to that email: “Oh, God ...”
Wendy just laughed.
Eleven women signed up for this adventure. Participants included a young mom whose profession is a third-grade teacher; a retired nurse; Wendy’s fellow practitioner at Cove Mountain Counseling and the coworker’s sister, a medical doctor; a high-powered business owner; a couple of ladies who work in accounting-type jobs; a first-responder with, if memory serves, a local fire department; and this reporter who is more accustomed to listening and writing about other folks’ adventures than having them myself.
We ended up at Fine Arts Blount in downtown Maryville, with artist Cindy McDannel leading us in painting our very own masterpiece. As usual, I started observing, taking photos, talking with the other ladies, making mental notes on what I might write about the activity rather than actually participating. Finally it dawned on me: Sit down and paint!
Wendy was my partner, and we encouraged each other all through the process. A glass of wine helped get the creative juices flowing, and the snacks Cindy and her mom, M.J., had for us were delicious. Like most of my fellow adventurers, I had never painted on canvas before — and like all of my fellow adventurers, I left FAB with my masterpiece in hand, knowing that I had done something I would never have taken the time, or would have had the courage to do, otherwise.
Honestly, I wasn’t too thrilled with my artwork because I was comparing it to what my artist friends Lee Roberson and Steve Norris produce. Their work is breathtakingly beautiful — then it dawned on me that they’ve been honing their craft for years so, of course, there is no way my first attempt is going to be anywhere close to something they would do. I felt even more accomplished when both my children saw the piece, did a double take and made the comment that this wasn’t what I would normally be purchasing. They were both very complimentary when I told them I painted it.
So, what did I learn through this adventure?
1. I need to stop observing and start participating. Life is to be lived, not postponed.
2. I don’t have to be in control of all my circumstances at all times. Taking a chance can be a lot of fun, plus it stretches your mind and opens you up to new possibilities, new creativity.
3. Comparing myself to others is a losing proposition. I’m me, and that’s more than enough.
On the Secret Adventures Facebook page, Wendy writes, “My goal is to challenge you, encourage you and share with you the things that make everyday life so much more enjoyable.”
Mission accomplished, Wendy. Mission accomplished.
Linda Albert is Sunday Life editor and a staff writer for The Daily Times. Contact her at 981-1168 or (email@example.com)