The First Ever Empowering Midlife Wellness Retreat
If you follow me on social media then you’ve already seen me sharing all about our first Empowering Midlife Wellness retreat. It was an amazing success and I’m still kind of buzzing from all of the things that happened, the lessons learned, and the connections that were made! I really wanted to paint a picture about the overall experience (featuring pictures taken by me and our attendees) and share some highlights in the hopes that you’ll want to join the next one, because there will be a next one!
The first day of the retreat, some of us chose to take the bus ride up. There were 12 of us and by the time we arrived in Austin we already felt like great friends! We played some fun icebreakers and shared some really deep stories. We ended up talking about things that we otherwise might not have ever told anybody. And then when we arrived to Miraval, of course, we had time to settle in. Our first night was absolutely beautiful. We had a meet up by the pool, accompanied with glasses of wine for everybody. We played some more icebreaker games to get to know the full group of women. It might sound kind of intimidating, but everyone had an amazing time and we learned interesting things about each other and just had a great amount of laughing. Then we had a beautiful dinner outside. But as luck would have it, the weather went crazy! There was an amazing thunderstorm, and it actually turned out to be really fun. We moved our women’s circle inside but with the thunder and lightning outside, it made this intimate experience even more magical.
The first night was all about setting and reconnecting with our deepest intentions. For me this practice starts by just remembering what my core values are. These are different for each person, and it takes some time and a little bit of focus and effort to kind of remember what these are. When we’re so busy during the week, and during our normal work day, often we don’t have time just to reconnect to what our core values are. Things like kindness, compassion, love, generosity, forgiveness. For me, I set an intention to show up as a safe space for others to be around. I think it’s such a beautiful idea just to be safe for others and to be someone who doesn’t cause harm while walking through the world. During this practice we were reminded every day to bring ourselves back to that intention and see if we could walk through the space no matter what we were doing.
The second day, we named Motivation. So on Saturday, we spent more time connecting and learning from other people. We attended the breakout sessions with the hostesses, or we did yoga, visited the spa, or just walked through the beautiful grounds at Miraval. Everything was to motivate us to reconnect with our intentions. On Saturday night we had some amazing food! I mean, the food was absolutely fantastic. It was gluten free, dairy free, very low in sugar, and nobody even noticed because it was so great! We had organic wines that were low sulfite and low sugar as well. Everything was really healthy, but still tasted amazing. After dinner, we did country line dancing! This was a well-kept secret that everyone really enjoyed. And then after that round of cardio, we got a really good sleep in the most comfortable beds I have ever laid in.
Sunday was all about Activation. We awoke the next morning and joined Elizabeth Irvine at 7:30 for yoga and meditation. It was so peaceful and such a wonderful way to for us to put our intentions into practice. We had a song that we made our official retreat song and I can even share it with you here. And then through the day, just like on Saturday, people went to different breakout sessions. Everybody loved all the speakers. We had Dr. Nashat Latib talking about functional medicine. We had Dominique Sachse talking about her amazing way to just live your best, most beautiful life. I was talking about sex, go figure! And then Meg Ellis was doing her amazing coaching work. Elaine Turner was a huge hit talking about worthiness. We had these special spaces outside where people could sit or even be in a hammock while you’re listening to these speakers. And then Kelley Workman met with people in the gym and put together one-on-one workouts. I mean, it was just incredible and everybody enjoyed each speaker so much for different reasons.
And then another fun event, Elizabeth Irvine did a mandala coloring project with us after dinner on Sunday night. It was extremely meditative, just coloring with a pencil in these tiny little lines. We did this for about half an hour in silence, and then afterwards she analyzed what we had done, based on the colors we chose, and the way in which we chose to organize our drawing. I just found that so fun and valuable. And then Monday, our theme was Integration. We met up with everyone again and we did a beautiful ceremony to say goodbye. We discussed how we would implement all the lessons we learned back into our lives at home. Each person was given a little keepsake that was blessed with love by all the other members of the retreat.
I had people say that they had had a revelation that changed their life, or an insight about something that they’ve been stuck on. Just talking with other women had allowed them them to experience a breakthrough. We talked a lot about our limiting beliefs or the stories that we tell ourselves that hold us back, and how to make better stories that are more fruitful to get through these transitions in our lives. We learned how to feel connected and loved, and how to get rid of those stories of aloneness. Every story someone shared, there was somebody else who had shared something similar. That’s maybe one of the biggest lessons of being on a retreat like this. You get to understand that everybody has struggles, and with the generosity of sharing those stories comes so much love and connection. At the end of the 4 days we all left with this beautiful feeling of being loved, connected, and now we have a whole bunch of new really good friends who share the same great values!
I really do feel like we achieved what we set out to do, which was to empower the wellness of those who were there, including me. I learned just as much as anybody. And there’s so many new insights about my own life, and so many new friends that I’m going to cherish forever. It was an incredible, life-changing, priceless experience. I can’t wait to see you at the next one.