With everything that is going on in our changing world, I felt it would be great to pause and reflect on how Women’s Quest came about. As well as, touch on the new beginnings and opportunities we are exploring through our online QUEST membership launches this May. When I started Women’s Quest 30 years ago, I would never have dreamed that I would travel around the world with like-minded women. I have met incredible people from every continent that have truly become our extended family. From the shamans, healers, friends, and guides to the dolphins, whales, turtles and Icelandic horses to the mountains, oceans, gemstones, cheeses, and wine, there are so many different people and cultures that have come together to make up this Women’s Quest sacred fabric of fun. From being a professional triathlete to a quester of life, this journey has been the unfolding of a dream!
None of this would have come to be without the Questers who have become my tribe of soul sisters, riding this wave of wonder over the past 30 years. Not only have we helped each other through so many incredible challenges, but we have also encouraged each other’s dreams and desires, sharing each other’s beautiful moments of success as we triumphed and rejoiced all together. We have created an online membership called the Quest so that we can continue to hold hands and help each other through this time.
So how did Women’s Quest initially come to be? Let’s start from the very beginning. In my early twenties, I was a professional triathlete (world and national champion). Sponsored by a bunch of different companies, I was training and racing all around the world, absolutely loving life. But one day, I was on a run in my home of Boulder, Colorado when I stumbled upon some of the Native American Hopi tribe who were gathering and talking about the prophecy for the year 2000. I felt like I needed to join them, I needed to go and listen. The place was packed with people, so I tiptoed to the front and sat down, sweaty and dressed in my running shorts. They continued to talk about the prophecy, the earth, and our changing environment – and this was before any environmental activism had begun, even in the liberal bubble of Boulder. At the end, everyone got up and began to leave, but I was still sitting there. I couldn’t get up. I couldn’t move. Seven of the Hopis came to me; they looked at me and told me: “Women will save the planet.” “Women will save the planet” they said again. By the third time, I was shaking, stunned, and confused, and I left there not knowing what to do or what this all meant.
Fast forward about six weeks, and I was racing in a short course triathlon for the national championship in Lake Mead near Las Vegas. As we neared the end, I was duking it out for first or second place. Right next to the transition area was a Dairy Queen, and instead of going into the transition area, I pulled right into the Dairy Queen. The cameras and people were following me, wondering, “What are you doing? You can’t do this in the middle of the race!” But I stopped, and I said: “I have to do something. I have to help save the planet.” Because for me, being a triathlete felt narcissistic in ways – you have to deal with your training, your bike, your granola, your massages – and I had been doing it for about fifteen years professionally. It was time for me to give something back. In that Dairy Queen, I called my husband on a payphone and told him, “I’m finished. I’m gonna do something different. I’m gonna help the planet now.” And as always, when one door closes, another one opens.
The next month, I was set to go help Greg Hind (the amazing founder, owner, and curator of Hind clothing company) with his editor retreat in San Louis Obispo, CA. We took about 15-20 editors for three days to play and adventure with them, from hiking and biking to cruises. And the editors asked me, “what are you going to do now that you’re retired?” To be honest, I hadn’t thought about it much. But I knew I wanted to do retreats for women. At this time, no one had created retreats that combined the body, mind, and spirit. Nobody had fused together fitness, fun, and play with yoga and meditation. I had spent my racing career learning to be fit as well as healthy, in the mind, body, and spirit. It wasn’t about how many miles you can go or physically how hard you could go, it was much more about the mental aspect and my ability to stay in balance. In the early 80’s, I learned about affirmations and visualizations for my mental training from Louise Hay. Deepak Chopra and John Douillard mentored me in meditation and Ayurvedic philosophy. I got to learn from the best of the best in that world, so I wanted to share that with women. If I could ignite them to be healthy and well, then they would create something magical. They would hold even more light and help the planet, sharing it with their husbands, partners, kids, and animals.
“What are you going to call it?” The editors at the retreat asked. I said, “Well, I don’t know. I’ll tell you tomorrow!” I went home that night, returning the next day with the name Women’s Quest. It’s a quest because these women are going on this journey, and they’re not sure what’s going to happen, and they are searching for something – whether that is balance or perfect health, just something. And through the retreat that something unfolds. I love the line: “When’s the last time you have done something for the first time?” That is a major reason come women come to the retreats – they open a space for women to join a group of like-minded people and learn, nurture, grow, support, and celebrate with each other. So I created this QUEST that welcomes anyone – all ages, abilities, anything.
And now, in this time of challenge and newness, I have created this online program of Women’s Quest with that same urgency. It began in March when I started offering 30 minutes of free connection and movement. We were doing online yoga and Qigong, and we would laugh and share stories. We continued into April with activities from live yoga to happy hours and dance parties to wine tastings and cooking classes. From the beginning, Women’s Quest has always been about creating a welcoming and healthy space for women. As the pandemic arose and the world we knew started to crumble, women were coming to me in need of connection and community. Most of these women – thousands of them – have had different success stories with Women’s Quest over the years. And it’s not really what I do – rather, it is this safe place that I create. So with this momentum, we’re so excited to launch the Quest membership on May 1st where we will continue to play.