Cozy and Connected at the Coast

Cozy and Connected at the Coast

By Kirsten Blume

On November 3 and 4, the OAAP hosted its 14th Annual Wellness Retreat for Lawyers Identifying as Women or Nonbinary at the Surfsand Resort in Cannon Beach. A picturesque sunset with Haystack Rock greeted participants on Friday, and the quintessential pelting Oregon coast rain and whipping sand made the fireplace surrounded by books a welcoming sight on Saturday.

The weekend’s theme was “Cozy and Connected.” Thirty-five lawyers gathered to connect, engage, learn, and create. The two-day event included presentations, self-compassion practice, creative drawing, yoga, and crafts all focused on the concept that, as lawyers, social connection is key to our well-being.

We started Friday with a delicious welcome lunch and a meet-and-greet activity. Energy and laughter filled the room as people walked around learning new details about each other’s lives and stories. One of the afternoon’s presenters, Amber Hollister, JD, taught that interconnectedness is at the heart of Ethical law practice and provided us with helpful ideas for building professional competence through community. Another speaker, Judge Sinlapasai, brought attention to access to justice being rooted in community—including the importance of our own support networks—and awareness of the barriers people face navigating legal systems. The day came to a calming end with a guided self-compassion exercise and creative drawing practice.

With the wind and rain roaring outside, Saturday morning yoga by the fire was hosted by OAAP Attorney Counselor Associate Kirsten Blume, JD, MA Candidate, and Registered Yoga Trainer (200 hrs), who warmed us up and provided an opportunity to intentionally breathe and move into the day. OAAP Director Kyra Hazilla, JD, LCSW, and presenter Shelley Gillespie, LCSW, reminded the group that we are not alone in sometimes feeling lonely in our profession, and that growing in community can help strengthen our sense of self. Together, we considered what connectedness feels like to each of us and got active with our hands through the restorative art of collage. It was delightful to see the many colors, images, pictures, and words that represent our stories and the many parts of who we are.

The retreat wrapped up in a circle, considering the strength of our unity and the power of being together in person for the first time since 2019. The time together embodied cozy and connected and reminded us that social connection builds our resilience. We send our deepest heartfelt gratitude to each of our organizers, speakers, and the incredibly engaged participants who made the experience beautiful and impactful. Thank you.

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