Seven years ago I went on a retreat that changed my world. It was the first time I had ever spent that kind of money on myself. The retreat was all the way across the country in California. I was going to meet a bunch of women I hadn’t met before, and spend 4 days away from my kids (3 and 5 at the time). I booked the retreat because I felt like I didn’t have a say in the matter. Some force greater than me clicked that button and paid that money. Afterwards I wanted to throw up. Who was I to take precious money from our family to spend on myself. It felt like the most selfish thing I’d ever done. For the few months leading up to my departure, I vacillated between exhilaration and complete fear and loathing.
When I stepped off the plane in Santa Barbara, the axis of my world shifted. It was the first time I’d traveled alone in over 10 years. The sea air whipped my hair around, and my heart and soul felt totally free. I drove up the coast to the small town of Avila and checked into my hotel. I walked down to the beach, stuck my feet in Pacific Ocean, and cried. The tide came in, bringing me back to myself. Maybe, in some way, even introducing me to myself for the very first time. This peace was something I’d been searching for longer than I could even remember.
Over the four days away from home, I luxuriated in my solitude. Time to think, time to breathe, time to reflect. But I was also expertly guided by some superb facilitators. The right question here, the right moment of reflection there, the right introduction to some amazing new concept. All of it was magical. I got back on the plane a different person. I got home around midnight and snuck into my son’s room. Lying next to his sleeping body I finally felt the truth sink into my bones: even though I was a mom, I was also still a person. The identity I thought I’d lost when my daughter was born was actually still there, alive and well. But she needed more nurturing, more self-care, more time. And I needed to keep walking this path of self-discovery, staying open and receptive to myself.
After that retreat, I went on several more retreats. At first I was only able to figure out how to take time for myself if I actually got away, left home for a few days here and there. But thanks to those breaks, I started learning how to take time for myself without leaving. The retreats taught me how to feel my soul and plant my feet no matter where I am. Which certainly comes in handy since I now spend plenty of time on the road for work.
I share this because if you’re on the fence about taking part in a retreat (any retreat) jump. Find something that speaks to your heart and sign up even though it’s scary. Put your rationalizations and your justifications on pause for a few minutes. Breathe. Listen to your body beg for the experience. And then click the button. Jump into the wild world of you. You won’t regret it, and you just might come home to yourself.
Join us for a retreat that involves the mystical power of horses, a few monks, a shaman, campfires, the rich energy of the universe and the magic of the camera lens. Not only will you walk away transformed into a more connected, deeper and authentic version of yourself, you will have an amazingly beautiful personal portrait done by world-renowned photographer Sandy Grigsby to remember it for a lifetime!
Book now, as space is limited to 10 women and spots are filling up fast!