For starters, it felt like coming "home" at Snapdragon Inn. And the rooms! As usual, they were as healing and calming as could be. I NEEDED THAT as we began our Tour and prepared mentally. Though I can gladly tell you that I have come soooo far, my friends. My state of mind going into these retreats is worlds away from what it was when we had our first speaking engagement many years ago. I feel so, so much more confidence in the process of teaching and in the outcome of the events. It's been quite a growing process for me personally (and, of course, it has a lot to do with channeling LOVE.) Even still, the very beginning of it all was a time for centering. We had just come from NYC where we had been dealing with a few challenges with our condo (including an unexpected move of our belongings to a storage facility in PA the day before.) ha. So I had to do my own healing to be present fully and to focus on the great love we had for those whom we were about to meet. I wanted to be committed to them and to serve them FULLY with my whole heart.
It also didn't hurt that I could take no less than 6 heavenly mineral baths in the claw foot tub over several days. Because hey, I could. At one point Danny asked me why my skin was feeling so dang soft. :) That puts a claw foot tub even higher on my wish list. We also played calming music up in our room. Danny kindly even brought breakfast up to our room so we could fully center ourselves and prepare to teach each day. (That breakfast included a big scoop of maple cream, I assure you.) See what I mean about being so lucky we started the Tour at Snapdragon Inn?
And something amazing to me: it was about a year prior on that very bed in Room 9 when I wrote this post talking about a U.S. Tour and sharing all the cities you all requested. So cool that the Tour really did happen! And now we need to do something about Tour #2 in 2016. We have more cities calling our names.
We had an intimate group in Vermont - so much so that I was initially embarrassed and hoped that the dynamic would not be tainted by having too few people. (Would people feel more or less comfortable in a small group?) But I knew I had to move through those fears or embarrassments. I wanted our guests to feel like we were proud and thrilled to be there just for THEM...and that they were worth it. And that sharing our message in person is the greatest thing we ever get to do. We wanted to exude everything we had to share about our message. We wanted to serve them. And, we did. And wow - what beautiful experiences unfolded before our eyes. It turns out the size doesn't matter one bit. I was so relieved! Everything we did together was as powerful and meaningful as can be. We all spoke authentically about LIFE - all the good and the bad. (Isn't it amazing to have REAL and OPEN conversations with people? I love it completely.) And we taught about the best ways we know of to heal, to love more, to grow more as a human being, to face our challenges, to forgive each other, and to ultimately have more peace and joy and happiness in life. We had meals together, went on drives together, sat by the lake together, AND SOAKED UP THE LAST BITS OF SPRING. It was heavenly for this expat. I miss spring on the east coast - and lots of good conversations in English. :)
Some of the guests said they felt so lucky to have so much one-on-one time with us. And, I must say, we felt the same way. Our guests were SO, SO wonderful. Like best friend material. And I'm glad we got to speak with them as much as we did and feel connected with them so deeply. Experiencing that was a privilege that I honor. I mean, that kind of beauty does not happen everyday. I still think of our guests quite often. It seems our lives will be connected to them always. What I would give for another weekend with them at Snapdragon. XOXO
The event in Vermont was the longest (4 days). And so...that meant more time for New England awesomeness...
A Few Vermont Highlights:
Glass Blowing Workshop.
This was one very unique experience, my friends. I mean - glass blowing! How often does one do something like that?! It was both fascinating and terrifying (even though we were in very good hands with Lada, a master glass blower and teacher from Czechoslovakia .)
We each got to choose an object to make (such as vases, bowls, paper weights, ornaments, or glass sculptures). I chose a vase and Danny chose a bowl. Lada guided us along as patiently as he could considering there was a fiery furnace and red hot metal and we were as clumsy as two toddlers.
Here's what we made. You can see that in 2 hair-raising seconds I was incapable of getting the groove in my "cylinder" vase centered, as I intended. But I'm still pleased. Maybe it will be the first of a small collection of imperfect hand blown glass vases.
Lunch at Sustainable Farmer.
One of our favorite places near Snapdragon is a shop and outdoor restaurant called Sustainable Farmer. It's just so local and full of heart. The people there are on a mission to inspire people to eat HEALTHY FOOD. The owner, Terry, recently had a serious health scare, so he decided to completely change his diet (which has transformed his health). He developed a line of gluten free, dairy free, whole food Buddha bowls called Terry's Meals. In a box you can get the perfect amount of quinoa, chickpea, spices, and healthy sauces. Of course these are right up my alley. You just saute and add chopped veggies and it takes less than 20 minutes. SUPER easy and SUPER good. (Choose from West African Lentil Dahl, Thai Ginger Noodle Hot Pot, and Sesame Apricot Stir Fry). For lunch one day, he kindly hosted us and also wanted to join together with all the men from our group to make lunch for the women. It was very sweet. (He's especially passionate about teaching men how to cook healthy meals.)
The porch setting at Snapdragon could not have been more magical. And now you know that I still have some west coast in me...because sitting on a New England porch and eating peaches could not be more storybook. And the food! Our caterer had IMPECCABLE food and service. I dream of being able to work with her again.
Dinner at Cloudland Farm.
This farm takes local food to an entirely new level. (Which I loved, of course!) They are a working farm and provided many of the ingredients - and the back of the menu lists the source for every other ingredient they use. So cool. (And SO Vermont!) The drive to this farm was as gorgeous as you'd ever imagine New England to be. The farm served a ham dinner that night, which initially didn't get us too excited. Ham?! But holy smokes- we all agreed it was the. best. ham. dinner. we'd ever had. The dinners are about $45 each - but I'd say the good quality food was well worth it. I would absolutely recommend a dinner there if you're in the area.
Vermont Juice Company.
We were so glad to have our 2nd Annual Raw Juice Bar with the Vermont Juice Company. They have the best juices. I was so pleased we could have such a nourishing snack in between our workshops. We had raw juice at every stop on the Tour - partly to keep our guests nourished and full of good energy and partly to keep Danny and I away from too many American cupcakes.
Local Gift Bag Goodies:
Raymond's Maple Cream and Maple Candy. You may know by now that this is one of my favorite treats on earth. You can order their stuff on Etsy. I can't recommend it enough. This sneaky treat is even Paleo, gluten free, and dairy free. Heaven help me.
Jerky by Vermont Smoke & Cure. I'm picky about jerky and cured meat products. But this all natural / organic company meets my approval which is why I reached out to them. The jerky they sent us was insanely good (even though I had never eaten a jerky stick in my life). I want to figure out how to get a bunch of it for our 4-day hike on the Incan Trail on the way to Machu Piccu.
Vermont's Lake Champlain Chocolate Bars (Organic Spicy Aztec & Organic Dark 72%). This chocolate is truly one of my favorites. I like my dark chocolate a bit creamy in texture, and they nail it. It was dangerous having this chocolate in our room as this last year we have completely weaned ourselves from chocolate bars.
Acure Organics. This company remains one of my favorite places for organic shampoo and conditioner. I love that you can get shampoo for $10 - a decent price compared to many organic products. I brought a bunch with me to Ecuador.
It was one EXTRAORDINARY retreat. And off we went with full hearts on the Vermonter. Our next event in Chicago awaited us.
Take a leap and register now for our Body+Soul Camp retreat in Ecuador Oct. 11-17. I *promise* you that you won't regret it and that it will be a week of a lifetime. It will teach you how to live your BEST life. It will teach you how to FLOURISH, no matter what you are facing.