The mission statement listed on the Portland Society website reads "The Portland Society is a group of professional women who are passionate about bicycling in Portland, Oregon. We work together to support each other through referral, education, and community. We grow our businesses and careers while making Portland a better place to live and ride.".
If I had to elevator speech that (yes, I'm using elevator speech as a verb now!), I'd say "We are Portland women who are driven by our passion for cycling and for pushing each other up."
We meet every month for an hour of coffee, round robin intros and a presentation on one of a wide array of topics including life balance, finances, legal stuff, public speaking, marketing, how to recycle correctly, or where to tour or even how to affect change in your workplace or your neighborhood or the world. And once a year, we have a boot camp. This year we took a whole weekend. It seems weird to refer to it as a weekend, since it was so much more than a coupla days on the calendar. It started Friday evening at the rather divine meeting hall near the cabin compound on top of the hill at Stubb Stewart. I've only had amazing times on that hill, including one of the best New Year's celebrations ever.
The next morning, we awoke to yoga at the meeting hall. Next to the wood burning fireplace. Everyone participated in the peaceful practice. It is a bonding experience to share morning yoga with so many friends. The space made inside myself and my muscles during yoga practice was filled with friendship feelings, which are some of the best.
A quick change of clothes and it was time for our branding presentation. The presenter had travelled all the way from Colorado to teach us how to hone our personal and professional stories. She asked us what our ultimate project would be. It really got me thinking.
After dinner, we talked about our intentions for boot camp and if they were met, highlights and lowlights of the weekend. My lowlight, or the closest thing I could think to a lowlight, was that I lost my coffee cup for a few minutes after breakfast. Others expressed a similar lack of problems or low feelings. I scrapbooked the dinner story and the review round robin, live-time.
The next morning, half drove home and half of us rode the twenty five flat country miles to the MAX train. It rained the entire time. The Banks-Vernonia trail was a treat, even in the wet. I got a flat tire and had to unload and repair it in the rain, which was also somehow fun. We returned slowly to our regular world and daily lives, splitting off one by one, each brimming with fresh insights, new memories and fired up friendships.