The First Ever SALT LDS Women’s Retreat

Spiritual serendipity. That’s seems the most fitting way to describe the first ever SALT Retreat. Elise (in the center above) was the enlightened mastermind behind the best, uplifting and inspired day. She was a missionary in our ward in Calgary when I was in junior high, and it’s been a treat to keep in touch. (She and her husband came to General Conference with me my first semester of BYU when I had no friends to go with!) I was able to spend the day with my cousin Emily, her best friend Simone who is also one of my favorite people alongside her baby Lola (my birthday twin) and Dorienne. I babysat Dorienne’s daughter when she was two when I first moved to Calgary and now she is the one babysitting Simone’s kids! Time flies.

Anyways, the best way I can describe the day is a spiritual feast. It was like a full day of fun, gripping, casual, engaging relief society meetings. I was in awe of the spiritual strength around me and also fully aware of how everyone in that room is facing trials and pain, myself included. I was able to survive my apartment getting bed bugs this week and a small bout of food poisoning on Friday. (My health anxiety= major phobia of throwing up so you know that was fun for me.) I was truly blessed to make it to Salt and feel okay. The Lord knew I needed it!

Without further ado, here are the thoughts and promptings and truths I gleaned from the day. Many of them were recurring throughout so I know the Lord knows I need to know it.

  • Take care of yourself before you take care of others. This was from Elise’s opening message and for me it tied to Annie Vandermyde’s talk about trusting God’s timing when it came to dating and relationships. For me, I felt like I had understanding of why I’m in a perpetual dating drought. God knows/knew I need/needed all of these years as a young adult to find healing, progress in a way that’s only possible while being single and doing my own thing. Using this time to grow is how I’ll be able to fulfill my purpose. I need to get all my ducks more in a row, mental health included.
  • Give God your time. Elise’s words also connected to one presentation that illustrated church/service/testimony building obligations only take up 10% of our time. We give 10% to the Lord monetarily, so it’s not too much to ask to give that time to the Lord because he always will pour out blessings to us for our sincere efforts. For me, this directly connects to a rededicated scripture study effort. The following points are from Brooke Watson’s Stripling Scriptorian session:
    • One idea I loved was to pray before studying and say, “Heavenly Father, I only have 15 minutes. Please help me find what I need, help me focus etc.” Tell Heavenly Father how long you have and plan ahead of time.
    • We need daily scripture study to know He is mindful of us. We have influence over people, and scripture study helps us help others to come unto Christ.
    • Instead of opening Instagram of Facebook first thing in the morning, read an Ensign article or conference talk first thing.
    • Reference different versions of the Bible for a new perspective on verses.
    • Listen to Jesus The Christ in the Gospel Library.
    • The world is struggling, but the world won’t fall apart if we stand up and learn the doctrine of Christ.
    • A testimony takes work. Never stop doing the small and simple things everyday.
    • Help ourselves spiritually before we can help others.
    • Share spiritual moments instead of just messages.

  • You cannot reject your beauty without denying the love God created you with. I loved every second of Becki’s (aka Whippy Cake) presentation. She gave some divine real girl world advice:
    • When you’re in fight or flight with stress and anxiety, your creativity is gone and your relationships suffer.
    • Nothing is more vital to our ability to thrive than emotional connection and human touch. Demand for emotional connections in your life. Generously and persistently give emotional connection in your life. We can’t tell when someone is suffering emotionally.
    • You need confidence to know who you are. Stand for yourself. Push for education and jobs.
    • We did not fight the war in heaven for agency and freedom just to come down here and give it away. Watch for amplifiers and hijackers in your life that either add or detract from your happiness.
      • Amplifiers: Hobbies, learning, humility, routine, service, clarity, meditation, journal, self control, rest, honesty, emotional connections
      • Hijackers: Mean girling, fear, excuses, distractions, funhouse mirrors, anger, entitlement, toxic relationships
    • Just being nice and refraining from mean girling is no longer enough. Counteract it. Do not tolerate it.
    • Distractions rob you of productivity, relationships, clarity, motivation, mood and more.
    • We can be our own fun house mirrors (not in a fun way). We hear our negative thoughts and fears all day long. Ask yourself, “Hey, is this a fun house mirror or a true and accurate representation?” Heavenly Father’s reflection is the truth.
    • Unfollow people who make you feel lost, hurt or toxic. We get to choose! Be picky.
    • Find and keep clarity in your life.
    • Process emotions. Don’t keep it in.
    • Being creative is like being like our maker.

  • No one but you can control your inner life.  Loved Samantha Kelly’s stress management class. If you can change how you perceive events, you can prevent stress. Remind yourself everyday you have a choice and make time for silence and peace. Slow down and interpret each stressor and determine if it’s worth your time. She also went over the following:
    1. Control. If you feel you have higher control over a situation, you will feel lower stress. Accomplish anything ones step at a time. Make lists. Write down what’s stressing you and leave it contained on that one piece of paper.
    2. Guilt. Oftentimes we prefer to feel guilty because it’s easier that doing things we’re supposed to be doing. Guilt is an expression of varying degrees of self-anger. Anger is a signal of inner sadness or fear.
    3. Worry. Most things we worry about are out of our control. Remember, worry is a habit. 
    4. Fear. Fear is escalated worry. Use the Atonement to access the enabling power. Also, part of becoming like Christ is learning how to suffer.

  • Accept and love who you are because God created you with love. Megan Wright referenced Al Carroway’s quote, “Heavenly Father did not shortchange or screw up on us. Our perfect creator created us perfectly.”
  • Talents and hobbies bring light into your life. Is comparison stopping you? It’s so easy to take what we like and compare to others.  Be happy and proud of other’s talents. See other’s goodness. Be humble and put yourself out there.
  • I have the choice to accept my body the way it is and reject society’s messages saying otherwise. Alongside this, your self-worth should be defined by your relationship with Christ.
  • Document your life. Visualize your progress.
  • A personalized Atonement. Perhaps he suffered for us one by one. How else would he know how to succor us? He comprehendeth all things.
  • The Atonement is the best tried and true process to heal. (Annie Vandermyde)
  • Learn new things. Put skills into your cart. Google the heck out of it and figure it out. We can learn new things and it brings true happiness. (Thanks Rosie Card)
  • We are all hurting. We all need each other, so be kind. (Tiffany Webster)

As you can tell, it was a spiritual feast. I feel renewed and rededicated. I know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are aware of me and my struggles and love me wholeheartedly. I know I have a purpose and following the Spirit will bring me to that purpose. I know we are down here on earth to learn all we can and to treasure our time, not waste it. I also feel gratitude for our Savior and His Atonement. He has carried all of our pain and sorrows. We can give our grief and pain to Him.

Wow, all I can say in conclusion is that everyone needs a Salt conference. Again, thank you so much Elise for following the Spirit and making this happen. You have blessed my life.

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