Sheri's Camp Story

My Journey Through Soul Restoration.

My name is Sheri Tidwell. I live in the Central Valley of California – a bountiful place, where we get to enjoy all the benefits of the farmers who live here, the beautiful Delta waterways, and a short drive to many of California's jewels like the Sierras, the Bay Area and the coast. I love summer, campfires, and getting to the ocean as often as I can.  Creating beautiful spaces and things like art, poetry, food and needlework is good for my creative soul.  In our home we celebrate everything.  

I was born and raised in Ventura, California.  In 1985 when I was 19, I married Michael, my childhood sweetheart and moved north.  Michael and I raised four awesome kids, who are all now grown and living their own adventurous lives. I have an adorable granddaughter I love to pieces. She’s perfect, of course. (Nana’s are supposed to say that.) I love my life now, and have always loved it for the most part. My mom called me Polly Anna because I saw life as a challenge, but believed that life and people, are for the most part, good.  There was a part of my life I didn’t love and it was actually pretty awful. I learned a lot during those awful times. 

Like many in California, and across the country, we were hit hard by the recession in 2010. My home-based  business, which had been thriving, began to drop off dramatically.   Michael, who had never been out of work in over 30 years, lost his job when the automotive plant he was working in closed. We struggled a lot then. We lost our health insurance, had a car repossessed, our home went into foreclosure, and we lost our retirement savings trying to stay afloat.  What a mess. It would be years before we would begin to recover from all this and start to feel financially stable again. 

During these same years, other things happened that added to the stress, worry, lost sleep, and long slow decline of my joy. It seemed we were living in constant crisis mode, and my daily routine was mostly all about putting out fires as fast as I could.  I had an injury to my knee which took a long time to heal. My father died and Michael’s mom died a month apart. Michael’s dad was diagnosed with colon cancer, and my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. I became the full-time caregiver for my mother for four years while she gradually became more and more sick, requiring more and more support in her daily life. Because of my mother’s illness, I had to leave a job I loved – working full time for a nonprofit training advocates for foster children – which broke my heart a little... and it sure didn’t help the finances any.  Of course, even during times of crises, life goes on.  I was still a wife and a mom to four kids who were growing up and moving along in life, as they should. Both my daughters got married (10 months apart!), my oldest son got engaged, my youngest moved out and went to college, and then my mom moved in when she was too sick to live alone any more. 

In August 2016, after a long stay in ICU my mom lost her battle with her illness and passed away.  It was after my mom passed, that I could say - out loud - that I was flat worn out. My cardboard cutout that showed the world I was keeping it all together no matter what came my way, crashed to the ground, too heavy to lift any longer.  My creativity was gone, used up, on all the problem solving and crisis management I’d been doing at home and at work. My joy was gone, replaced by a sense of responsibility, anxiousness, and exhaustion. I had just decided that life, for me, had changed to this… and this was how it was going to be for me from now on. I was so deep down soul sick. And I didn't even know it.  I just thought I’d “grown up,” let go of childish ideals about life, and that this was my life from now on. A life that was mostly joyless with responsibilities I had to face head on – day in and day out.  

Thankfully, that wasn’t true! I found my way to Brave Girls Camp and the Soul Restoration workshop. Honestly, I really didn’t think they had anything to offer me – because I was the problem solver in my life. Those around me came to me for advice, counsel, pep talks, fundraising ideas, a shoulder for comfort…. What would they be able to offer me? But I went anyway with the gentle encouragement of my husband who wanted to help me, but just didn't know how. 

Going to camp changed my life. I know that sounds really sales-pitchy, but it's the truth. The woman that walked in the door at camp carrying so much with her was worried... worried if she started crying she'd never stop.  The beautiful and brave women I met who gave me the courage to really listen to what my soul was telling me, the incredible curriculum that’s like a  map that helped me figure things out for myself, the comforting way I was cared for by the staff during my stay, all helped me to feel loved and supported in my journey back to myself through Soul Restoration.  

I can honestly say I learned so much during those years that were so hard on me. So much about life, love, family, loss. And I learned that I can do some really hard things. Polly Anna was a tough chick! 

I left camp feeling like myself again. I was so relieved to discover I was still in there!  I knew I was going to be okay.  I felt like the light in me had been turned back on and that the magic I once felt about life was back.  My husband could see it, my kids could see it, my friends could see it.  Oddly enough, hearing them tell me they could see a change in me, that I was  myself again, that I was "back," made me a little sad too. Because I thought I was doing such a great job with my cardboard cutout - keeping up the appearance that it was all good, that I had it all handled, that no one needed to worry - about me or anything else!  I have a lot of compassion for that woman who was so overwhelmed.   It felt so good to put that cardboard cutout down! 

Soul Restoration impacted my life so much, that I knew I had to share it with others.   I made the decision to become a Certified Soul Restoration Instructor.  I went to Idaho and trained with Melody Ross, the co-founder of Brave Girls Club and the author and creator of Soul Restoration. Before I even left the Boise airport I was working on opening up True North Soul Camp and setting dates for workshops and retreats for women who need a map back to themselves - like I did.  Soul Restoration is the compass by which I live. I love what I do and I’d love, LOVE to share this with you.  You don’t need to fear anything and you don’t have to be as soul sick as I was to truly benefit from Soul Restoration. Think of it is a kind of soul check-up and how to prevent yourself from becoming soul sick.  Be sure to read more about the course and watch a video about Soul Restoration on the home page. Check out the Questions and Answers pages here too.  There's so much more to share with you! 

Dear Sister...  You are so very loved.  I see you.  I hear you. If you're like I was and feeling so worn out, I promise there is a better way to live! I have a map and I'll share it with you.  Come to camp. I'm saving you a seat.  

Sheri xo

More Amazing Camp Stories

Jessica's Story

 Learning about True North's Soul Restoration, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was skeptical, to say the least. I was sure it was a worthy program, but would it really work for me? I wasn't sure.

Turns out it WAS for me. And I needed it so badly and I didn't even know it.

Soul restoration helped me reflect on my life and encouraged me to be brave and help me work through some hurtful and difficult experiences I'd been holding on to that I continued to carry around with me everywhere I went that became just SO heavy. It taught me about where the lies are in my life and how to shine the truth on them.  I learned powerful tools to help me cope and restore to my true, wonderful self that I had always been but rarely gave credit to.

The art that I brought home with me from camp reawakened the artist in me that had been so deeply buried under daily life and responsibility, and it is some of my most cherished possessions today. They are powerful reminders that I am a beautiful, in-progress soul who is learning and growing every day.

I am forever grateful to True North Soul Camp.
 

Alyssa's Story

 When I was a child, I loved to play. I played soccer, rode bikes, went on long hikes, and went swimming any chance I got, whether it was the ocean, the lake, or the swimming pool in the backyard. When I was 13 I suffered an injury to my foot and dealt with debilitating chronic pain on a daily basis. I used crutches just to get around for two years, right as I started high school. Depression sunk in. My pain wasn't improving at all, and I couldn't play soccer, go on walks or even swim without suffering. I had a child at 18, and lost even more of my youth. The stress of my life caused me to develop a few more illnesses that I am still struggling to keep under control. My energy and motivation were gone, and I thought the "me" of my childhood was gone too. From time to time, I'd run across quotes on Pinterest saying "Choose joy" or "Decide to be happy", and I did not get it at all. I thought since I had depression, the decision to be happy was out of my control, and this is just the way I am now.

 When my mom became a certified instructor in Soul Restoration and asked me to go on the retreat with her, I admit I was skeptical going into the weekend. I thought, "How can I change when I am dealing with these chronic medical conditions?"

Well darlings, you aren't changing, you are restoring your soul. I restored my sense of wonder, joy and peace that I had before my body and life beat me up and spit me out. I learned that just because my body isn't in perfect health, my soul can still be joyful and free. I learned to give myself a break on the bad days and not be so hard on myself. Soul Restoration brought me back to a place where I can choose happiness. EVERY woman needs this. Come to camp. You won't regret it! 

Karina's Story

 2016 was a year for me of ups and downs. My life, was turned inside out. I felt lost, alone, confused, but, just like any other women with a family, a job, and other responsibilities I just kept on chugging. 

As my bday month was approaching I started to realize that I was not happy. My goals had disappeared, my creativity had plummet, and my outlook in life was no longer in color it was turning gray. One day as I got dressed for work I got a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror. I no longer recognized that girl, that women, that wife, that mom, that daughter, that sister, that friend, I was no longer the person I had thrive to be. That day I walked into my job and quit. I gather my stuff and for the first time I felt “FREE”. I knew it was time to start a new chapter. 

Consequently around that time Sheri from Truth North Soul Camp reached out to tell me about a Truth Card workshop. The timing of her reaching out to invite me to her workshop couldn’t have been more precise. I attended North Soul Camp Truth Card Workshop and I left with a new perspective in life. I FORGAVE MYSELF! The group of women that attended the workshop we connected in ways I can’t even explain. We were all going through something in life but somehow here we were getting through it just like, Brave Girls that we are. 

My Truth Cards are little messages of love and truth that I am able to reflect every day or when I need a pick-me-up, and or a reminder of who I truly am. TRUTH CARDS to me is believing words that are keeping me from believing the love and truth. Being Brave does not mean that you never feel scared or weak or lost… it just means you just keep going anyway. 

Thank you Sheri for taking this adventure and inviting me to be part of it. I am forever grateful<3 

-I am True North Soul Camp <3 

YOUR STORY

We all have a story... Each and every one of us. We all have life experiences that have shaped how we see and live in this world.  Stories that have shaped how we interact with the people we love and who love us. Some experiences have been really good, and some not so good, and some maybe really, truly awful... But your story is important and needs to be told. It is through the discovering of our stories that we heal ourselves and help each other to heal. Come to camp. Discover your story. xo