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Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Power of a Retreat!

As many of you know, I recently attended a "Be Present" retreat offered by Liz Lamoreux along with her friends Kelly Barton and Jen Lee on the beautiful West coast, seaside town of Gearhart, Oregon from September 11-14, 2014.

It was a struggle coordinating my boy's schedules and actually being gone for 4 days. I didn't know until I actually got on the plane if I was actually going to go. I kept feeling so guilty about leaving my younger eleven year old son whom I have grown very close to in the past few months. He even came to drop me off at the airport for my early morning flight before school. We hugged and I cried as I held him close...not wanting to leave him but knowing deep within me that I really needed to be at this retreat.
Also, the fact that I was flying all the way cross country on Sep. 11 was not comforting but I took a deep breath and surrendered to HIM.  About 10 hours later, I made it to Portland, Oregon. I picked up my rental car at the airport and started my what was suppose to be, one and a half hour drive to Gearhart. But after stopping for food and coffee, I started on my way to this dreamy seaside town. Now I have to first tell you how absolutely BEAUTIFUL Oregon is.

I live in Florida because I love the ocean and the warm, sunny weather year round but being on the West coast, flying over the mountains and then driving through them simply feeds my soul. I've come to realize that I just LOVE the mountains. They whisper to my soul and my soul responds with tears of joy! The feeling I experience is as though my heart and my soul are jumping with joy and skipping with delight at "coming home."
I took my own sweet time driving through the mountainous curves of the road. Being from Florida and used to flat lands, this experience was both scary and exhilarating at the same time.

I spent a wonderful four days with this group of 19 brave, beautiful women who came together literally from all around the world and the USA. And our fearless, authentic role-models and leaders. I won't give away too much just in case you plan on attending one of Liz's retreats.

I flew back to Florida on Sunday morning and for the first few days and even weeks after returning, I had still not processed the retreat in my mind and soul. When asked, "How was the retreat?" I simply responded with either "It was okay" or "It was good."
But exactly a month later, I can tell you that this retreat was definitely a game changer for me.
It took a few weeks to process and internalize and assimilate all the different but important lessons and observations that my soul was making from the moment of pulling up to the yellow lodge.

Our backyard...the view from the Lodge. 

The Lodge

Steven Pressfield, best selling author of "The Art of War" and recent guest on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday, has written many books on the subject of living a life of purpose. He believes that every single person on this earth has a purpose to why they were born.  In simplifying the message of the book in one line, Oprah describes that book as being a book that teaches us how to navigate the roadblocks that keep us from fulfilling our creative potential.

That was a timely interview for me to watch with information and messages that I was finally ready to hear. One of the things that he speaks about is that our resistance is strongest right as we're about to make a breakthrough and boy was that true for me.  I resisted even going to this retreat...but I am so very grateful that I did.

 a few pics from the beautiful beach at Gearhart, Oregon.

The Smash book that we personalized!

And now that I've had a little over a month to reflect on my personal growth and the amazing power of being in a circle of women, I feel sooo strongly that
#1. Every woman should have the opportunity to experience this.
#2  There are quite a few of these retreats available but not nearly enough. Also, they seem to be mainly on the West coast of the United States of America.
#3 Also, being an Indian, Muslim, divorced single mother affords me a unique identity and perspective not available in the market. I believe that the women who are in my inner and outer circle might not necessarily attend an "art retreat" offered on the West coast but perhaps they might attend something closer to home.
#4 Either way, I very strongly feel that I need to make this experience easily accessible for women on the East coast who might not necessarily consider themselves "artsy craftsy".
#5 Thus I am sooo pleased to announce that I am in the works of planning a women's retreat in the Spring of 2014. I'm thinking of calling it either "Inner Child" Retreat or "Living your Joy" Retreat...would love some feedback or suggestions on the name.
I am looking to rent a cottage on the West coast of Florida in the gorgeous Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
I just love the response and buzz so far on Facebook...Women are already excited about it. Being able to play through art, painting, sewing, doodling, photography, singing, dancing, meditating, group time, individual quiet reflection time etc is simply MAGICAL!

I was thinking of a small group of 10-15 women. The average costs of these retreats run between $1300 - $1800 which include lodging, all meals and all supplies needed for the various art activities.
I am hoping to keep it under $1000 if not even lower.  Will keep you all posted as soon as I finalize the cottage etc.
Please do message me on Facebook or here if you or someone you know, might be interested in attending. This will help me plan accordingly.

Also, I am hoping to have a summer retreat for girls under the age of 18 years. I am actually thinking about having a Mothers/Daughters retreat. Any thoughts?

Love and Light,

I will forever be indebted to Liz, Kelly and Jen for being brave enough to be authentic!!!