A week ago today, I was making the drive back from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. It’s one of my favorite places to visit, and this time I was there for an extra special reason — Mara’s Restore Retreat.
When Mara first told me about the retreat, I instantly thought, “I must be there!” — then my human-brain had second thoughts — spending money on a retreat seemed so frivolous. R.T. and I are saving like little squirrels, trying to pay down our debt so we can buy a house within the next couple of years. Spending money feels very counterproductive to those goals. So, I was a “YES!” and then a “Maybe” and then a “no” and all the way back to a “YES!” thanks to some kind emails from Mara, who, I think, must’ve known how much I needed to be there.
I’m so glad I made the decision to go. In three days, with Mara and five other women (plus Mara’s wife Cookie and dear friend Moya, who came to teach us to dance), my heart broke wide open. We made art and danced and walked on the beach and ate amazing food and shared our stories.
I’m introverted and highly sensitive — I fully expected that I would need to carve my own path through these few days, and that I would end up spending a lot of time by myself in an effort to not feel overwhelmed. I actually believed I’d return home exhausted and over-socialized. Instead, the pace of the retreat was just perfect — Mara thought of everything and there was never a moment where I felt uncomfortable or overstimulated. Instead, I just felt whole, recognized and — yes, restored.
Sunday afternoon, after saying goodbye to Mara, Christa, Joanna, Carolyn, Tamar, and Marisa, I got in my car and wept as I drove away. A week later, I still miss them. I’m still feeling so full of gratitude for the ways in which they showed up that weekend, and all of the things they taught me.
Returning to my normal life after such a healing weekend was a little bit of a challenge. There are some things I need to work through, so I’ll be doing some one-on-one coaching with Mara this fall. I’m very much looking forward to it. (If you’re unfamiliar with her work, I strongly recommend checking out her site. She has some great programs in addition to being an incredible coach.)
I plan to make every effort to go to a retreat (preferably hosted by Mara) at least once per year going forward. I think it’s important to carve out the time for relaxation and community, especially for those of us who run online businesses. We are often less likely to be seen in our daily lives, and that feeling of being witnessed is so important. I’m glad I gave myself permission. Let this little lovenote/happy weekend recap be your permission, too.