When people ask me why I started the Be Present Retreats, I usually explain my deep desire to create community and a belief that spending a few days away from your daily life immersed in creativity and being present to the world around you will change your life in very good ways. I also talk about noticing that creative retreats are sometimes so filled with activities and "doing" that participants and teachers don't always have the opportunity to slow down, recharge, and listen.
Today, I want to share that over the last few years my reason for hosting these retreats has begun to come down to one thing:
It's about inclusion.
It's about creating space for people who are longing for a deeper connection with themselves and like-minded souls but don't know where to begin to find this community, don't have this community where they live, or simply want to connect in person in a small group environment.
It's about working with teachers who are really collaborators who show up as mentors and guides open to new friendships. Then as the retreat begins they sit side by side with retreat participants sharing their stories, giving of their time, and inviting us all to remember we are not alone.
It's about a safe space that invites you to sit in the quiet long enough that you can hear the whispers of truth that have been trying to get your attention for years.
It's about being surrounded by others who say, "me too, me too" and invite you into their lives.
Your Story Retreat 2012 (photo by Vivienne McMaster)
It's not about needing to be cool enough or creative enough or courageous enough or skinny enough or funny enough.
It's about beginning to trust
that you already are enough
when you show up as you.
The photo above, taken by my friend Vivienne McMaster after she attended the first Be Present Retreat a few years ago, represents the gathering of women who will encircle you when you arrive at a Be Present Retreat.
In this moment, as you sit in your corner of the world, I want you to invite you to hear these words:
A community of kindreds is waiting for you.
Join us this April for Feast.
Frog Creek Lodge (photo by me)
At the Feast Retreat, we will gather at Frog Creek Lodge in the Pacific Northwest woods outside Seattle and spend time sharing, playing, resting, cooking, creating, and dreaming. Through conversations and creative self-care adventures, we will explore the ebb and flow of life and experience ways we can, as Derek Walcott says in his poem “Love After Love”
Feast on your life.
During this five-day soul care gathering, Kelly Barton and Hannah Marcotti will join me in being your guides. As a group, we will cook meals together, play in journals, make necklace and bracelet talismans to take home with us, explore ways to practice self-care, and circle to share stories and make deep connections.
Your Story 2012 (photo by Vivienne McMaster)
When you arrive at this beautiful cabin in the woods, you will find a place where you can: lean into trust and your inner wisdom, open your heart to kindred spirits, and spend time playing, resting, and sitting in the quiet.
AND I am thrilled to announce that Persephone Brown will be joining us as our kitchen guide and chef! She will help us nourish our bodies and souls through food and inspiration during Feast.
This retreat is going to be so good.
Learn more about Feast and register here. (Updated 2/18: Only 4 spots left!)