It is hard to even explain how unbelievably beautiful, healing, amazing, and life changing the retreat was.
Seriously. It was unreal. It took everybody to a place of complete vulnerability; healing and progress began in ways that we all needed; the face to face human connections were out of this world; and there was such a ridiculously beautiful true love and acceptance for each other (and most importantly, I think we all felt more love and acceptance for ourselves.)
We had hopes that the retreat would be meaningful to people; that they would feel it was worth it to come; that they would experience things they had never experienced before; that they would feel loved and supported in whatever it was they were working on. And well, it's safe to say that people were so, SOOO happy they came. One woman said she could have left after Day 1 and it would have been worth the trip. The group even begged us to do a reunion retreat a year from now so that we could do a repeat of the experience. And people told us it would be a CRIME to not offer the retreat again and again to others. Honestly, Danny and I looked at each other each night like...holy crap $#*@(!!! We took a risk. We put ourselves out there to host this thing. It was scary to do it. But it came together better than we ever could have imagined. It was a massive relief. And mostly, a massive feeling of satisfaction to know that some dear people got to come and experience something beautiful for their souls.
So, here's how it all went down...
Danny and Tony filled the back of a truck with fresh fruit and vegetables and we all headed for the coast.
I was a bundle of nerves. Oyahhhh....it's a strange thing to meet people who read about you and perhaps admire you. Because I'm just like all of you! Seriously. I'm no different. And then I met each person one by one. People told me they were nervous, too. Ah, the ice was broken quickly. And they were all so lovely and warm and happy to be there. Oh man, it was really incredible to meet everyone. Even though they were all so cool and smart and amazing to me that I had moments of feeling intimidated!
And get this...I felt as if I knew them. Like really, really knew them. I don't know, I just felt drawn to them. And I LOVED them like we were already friends. It was like we had enough common thoughts and struggles and intentions that somehow we were just connected in some way. There were several that I would have bet money on that I had met before. In fact, I lied awake at night trying to remember who they reminded me of or why they would be so familiar to me. Anyway, that part was really amazing to me. Here are just some of their beautiful faces.
People that came had various backgrounds which was kind of a thrill to me. I'm glad the blog reaches people far and wide as I believe in making this a welcome place for all. There were single women, married women, divorced women, a father of 3, people from multiple different religions, some that were not religious at all, and people from all over the U.S. (though most were from the east coast which means I was swooning over their tales of NYC and felt right at home when we all got to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with apples and raw honey. I also felt right at home with one woman who went to my same junior high in AZ. Turns out I sat right next to her older sister in Algebra!)
We started right in with our raw food cleanse. Tony and the kitchen team created some incredible meals for us. People seemed to be loving the food. Though going all raw was difficult for a few. I mean, it's a completely new experience. Cravings can set in. Old habits can rear their heads. Some had to adjust their palate to the flavors of green juice. But the cleanse started to do it's magic. People started to have some noticeable improvements in their weight, glowy skin, and overall radiance. And everyone agreed that it was SOOOO much easier to do the cleanse as a GROUP with an entire kitchen team serving them and preparing all the meals and juices. Plus, I think everyone eventually caught on to how DELICIOUS some of the raw meals could be. Tony is really gifted at making raw food taste amazing. Mexican night anyone? Raw cacao brownies for dessert?
The opening night was incredible. We all sat around and shared our intentions for being there. WOW. My heart was about to burst. We ALL felt unbelievable love and acceptance for each other that night. It was a human experience I'll never forget.
The week continued as we essentially followed the same schedule I've mentioned before (oil pulling, yoga, meditation, reflexology, mineral mud baths, raw food classes).
And yes, we did this. We put mineral mud on each other's faces and bodies. It may seem like a small thing, but I am guessing it was a vulnerable moment for all of us - to stand there and have people you love and respect help cover your skin with mud - to have someone touch you. To have your body and any flaws you might be aware of just there and possibly being seen. And also to touch someone else.
And there were also some additions to the schedule :) : Danny and I taught some classes on Healing & Self Worth, The Language of Love, and Facing Your Trials With Virtue. We also got to go on a "Walk on the Beach" with each person (kind of like in Brooklyn :). Those walks were INCREDIBLE and some of my favorite moments of the entire week!! LOVED walking and chatting with each person about life and love and healing. How I wish we could all be walking partners all the time.
Also, one member of our staff was someone we met at Vipassana in Quito (he was actually the teacher's assistant and in charge of running the whole thing). At our retreat he taught an incredible class on meditation. Every word that man spoke to us was worth gold. Other additions to the schedule: DANCE therapy! YES. It was pretty awesome. Alexandra is truly a gifted soul and a woman of so much strength and wisdom. You can't imagine how she is able to bring a group to some moments of healing. And, we had an incredible masseuse there with us, too. She was spiritually in tune and gave us massages that left us wowed and rejuvenated. Most of us got at least two massages as she was so good. (How I wish she lived in Cuenca instead of the coast!!)
A favorite treat was getting coconut water on the beach. :)
It turns out the weather did not fall in our favor one bit. Like not once. It rained or was overcast the ENTIRE WEEK. We felt terrible about that. But people said that they would have come again, rain or shine.
Here's our amazing team that made it all happen. These people are truly wonderful and brought SO MUCH love and care to everyone there.
We left the retreat feeling completely in awe of the entire week and in awe of each person that came. We love them all so much. It's an experience we'll never forget.
P.S. There has been a LOT of interest in us hosting another retreat. THANK YOU for your interest!! We are working on logistics for a retreat possibly in January. Space will be very limited for an optimal experience. Do let us know if you would like to come. That will help us a lot in our planning.