I first met Lizzy online through a Facebook group called Boss Mom. We found out we lived less than an hour from each other and planned a dinner with two other local Boss Moms. Lizzy told us about her passion for hand lettering and planning retreats. She told us about The Mindful Woman Retreat she had coming in the spring only 30 minutes from my house. It was right up my alley, so as soon as I could, I signed up! The retreat was conveniently held at Open Connections, where my kids attend homeschool programs 3 days a week. The energy on that campus is palpable and it was no different the day of the retreat.
On May 20, 2017, we were kindly welcomed and received a folder for the day as well as a glass water container to keep us hydrated. Lizzy is a master of hand lettering, so she personally handwrote all our name tags so beautifully. The food was also impeccable. Everything was locally sourced, organic and vegan! The chef clearly put a lot of time and love into the food. We were encouraged to set an intention for the day and write it on a rock. Mine was clarity.
We began the day in a circle and everyone introduced herself and shared what they wanted to get out of the day. We then moved into our first exercise of the day. Lizzy and Sheila had us think about what was holding us back from truly living the life of our dreams. They asked us to journal about it and then synthesize it into one word or phrase. We wrote those words in big letters on a piece of paper then headed outside. Again we formed a circle, this time around a fire pit. One by one, as we felt led, we went to the center of the circle to burn our paper, energetically releasing our old stories. My word was fear.
Now that we had released what was holding us back, it was time to set an intention for what we did want. For me that intention was wholeness. We were guided in a exercise where we wrote down, “what do you want to say YES to? NO? and Maybe So?” I drew 3 columns on my paper and wrote out my lists. This led into another journal session to answer the question, “How does your intention feel sacred to you?”
I wrote: “We are made whole. In the beginning, we had everything we need to survive and thrive. As I grew and learned and connected with others, I lost sight of my wholeness. I allowed the stories I was telling myself to rob me of those feelings. I began to feel broken, used and unworthy. I’ve been on a journey back to wholeness and I’m not quite there. I still have more work to do and I’m on my way. Each time I sit down to journal, reflect on my life and plan for the future, I get closer to wholeness. I don’t need to compare myself to others. For me to be whole, it will come from within. No one else can make me feel that way. I need to accept my own wholeness with a full heart.”
We then used these intentions to create our very own 2 X 2 canvases. Lizzy shared with us some techniques she uses in her hand lettering and then we got creative turning our word into a symbol. We each made two mostly identical prints of our symbol before we played a bingo game in order to get to know each other a little better. The goal was to fill in your entire paper. The squares had phrases like “doesn’t like chocolate,” “likes to garden” and “knows how to change a tire.” We then took a break for amazing vegan tacos for lunch.
After filling up with nourishment, Sheila lead us through an exercise about bold boundaries and we discussed the difference between a boundary and a block. To me, boundaries are about caring for yourself and come from a place of love while a block is fear based and does not contribute to your overall well-being. Consider these questions for yourself:
· Where can you start saying YES to you and all that matters most to you?
· How can you create sacred space for all you want to thrive?
· What might be possible as a result of your thriving life?
· How might you shift your beliefs around boundaries?
After understanding that setting boundaries is all about well-being, it was our turn to create a personalized self-care plan. Part 1 was to explore what makes us come alive and what we truly value deep down. Part 2 was to Find the Feelings. From the first list, we were to circle words that create emotion for us then narrow it down to 3-5 feelings. Part 3 was to Cultivate Self-Care. “Consider your guiding feelings and what feels like release, rejuvenation, healing, restoration, care. Consider things you already do that you’re willing to do more mindfully. Open to curiosity about new things or trying things again. Play with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly ideas.” This was my self-care plan as an example:
· Daily: Miracle Morning myself and with kids
· Weekly: Date night with Mike and attend one yoga class
· Bi-weekly: massage and write a blog post
· Monthly: record one podcast interview, one girls night, self-care appointment (mani/pedi, haircut, dentist, dr, chiropractor, etc.)
· Quarterly: Family Board Meeting with both Tyler and Ember and weekend away with Mike
· Yearly: Create a Vision Board, Set Intentions and Year End Review
At the last circle of the day, we were asked to put one copy of our intention print in the center. We took turns sharing what we learned that day and then chose a print to take with us as well. We were also given wonderful gift bags to take home with us that included some affirmations cards and some wonderful lotion along with other gifts. Lizzy also allowed each of us to choose a hand-lettered print of hers to take home. Lastly, throughout the day, we were given small gemstones that we placed in a cute little bottle. We were given a chain to put the bottle on as a reminder of the work we had done that day and the connection that we all share. As my gift to the group, I gave everyone a copy of The Miracle Morning for Parents and Families. It was such a wonderful time to connect with local, like-hearted women.
I’m grateful for Lizzy and Sheila for facilitating such a beautiful retreat and all the amazing touches they put in throughout the day. I’m grateful I got to walk away with a plan for my self-care and a greater understanding of what makes me tick. I’m grateful for all the wonderful women I met at the retreat and for Open Connections for hosting the day. I’m also grateful for the yummy food that was served all day.
If you would like to plan a similar one-day retreat, please talk to Lizzy! Here is a podcast where she and my friend Tonya Rineer talk all things retreat planning. If you'd like to sign up for Sheila's next retreat for couples on October 7 in Newtown Square, PA, I'd love to see you there! I’d love to hear from you. You can leave a comment here or better yet, join the conversation in our Facebook Community.