Reflecting on the first ever Joyful Mama Retreat - Part 1
It was 2018. Just another fall day during which I had to drive for work instead of taking the train. See, for my day job as a disability rights attorney in the city, I sometimes drive to different locations across the state to do trainings, monitor facilities where my clients reside or meet with clients or other advocates. Last October, I was stuck in traffic on one of these occasions and was listening to The Universe Has Your Back, by Gabrielle Bernstein. All of a sudden, it came to me.
Gabby narrates her book so I like to think she was just talking to me on speaker phone. And she had me do a visioning exercise which changed the course of everything for me. A visioning exercise, also known as visualization, is when you imagine yourself where you’d like to be or where you think you’ll be, at some other point in the future. In this case, Gabby asked me to imagine myself where I’d be or doing what I’d be doing, if I was living my full potential and filled with JOY, the feeling I wanted to feel upon accomplishing my goals (she did not use these exact words but this is what I remember doing with whatever she was saying).
Now, keep in mind I was driving, so I couldn’t imagine all this with my eyes closed, but what I could do, was literally put myself, through my mind’s eye, in the place and circumstances where I felt that I would be living my purpose and as a result, living a life of Joy. What came to mind was a large and spacious living room with leather couches shaped like a ‘U’, with a fireplace on the wall in front, and women sitting around, comfortably and relaxed, sharing and supporting one another — filling their cup surrounded by love, grace, a feeling of belonging.
In that moment I realized, that dream of ‘one day’ hosting in-person retreats for moms was my biggest purpose as a coach. I knew I loved 1:1 coaching and group programs and I always would, but this vision filled my heart with love and excitement for what could be and I knew I had to face what this all meant. If I have a purpose, and I know it, there’s no turning back. For me, this visioning exercise opened up my eyes to the fact that waiting until I had made a certain amount of income or worked with a certain amount of coaching clients, in order to host a retreat, my dream, was futile. So I resolved right then and there that I would be hosting my first ever Joyful Mama Retreat, in the spring of 2019.
I needed accountability so of course as soon as I was able to, I made a vague announcement on Facebook and I couldn’t believe it. This was gonna happen. Within seconds as I was scrolling through my feed, I saw that my friend Lizzy Spohr Russinko who teaches people how to run retreats was actually offering a 5-week Retreat Roadmap Express in November and I knew I had to sign up. There are no coincidences. Plus, Lizzy throws amazing and successful retreats and has been doing so for many years, so I knew I’d learn a lot from her going through this course. I signed up and Lizzy welcomed me with open arms.
For the next 8 or so weeks (I was slow getting through the lessons!) I learned a ton from this course and came away with a super helpful checklist and wonderful worksheets that provided me with everything I needed for planning, preparing for, and executing my first retreat. Then I set my next accountability deadline. In December around the holidays, I decided on a date for my retreat and I booked the location for an entire weekend — then I announced it on Facebook with the tag line “Here goes nothing”. I was determined to do it afraid and now there was definitely no turning back…
(to be continued… stay tuned for Part 2 next week!)