The words above are on one of the little Soul Mantra notes that I tuck into secret spaces at my retreats. I hide them all over the house...under pillows...in the bathrooms...tucked onto windowsills. And whenever I hide this one, I always say a little blessing that as many people as possible will see it.
Because I really want you to believe that you can live even your craziest, wildest dreams into being.
At my first Be Present Retreat back in 2009, I had a moment alone sitting on the couch looking out at the sea in Manzanita, Oregon. As I sat there, I realized I felt so at home. It truly felt like I was doing the work I was meant to do. All the clichés about being where you were meant to be came together. And this phrase "I am living my dreams into reality" flashed into my mind. I remember tearing up and trying to push away the feelings because it felt like almost too much to believe.
But it was true.
And here's the part where I tell you two important pieces about the "living my Be Present Retreats dream into reality" story.
1) One of the best pieces of advice I received was: Live as though the dream is already true.
2) I had to cancel three of the first four retreats I'd planned because I didn't have enough people.
The advice came when I was in the "one day I want to own a retreat center or have a loft space where I can hold events but I have no money to do this yet" stage of dreaming. I was sitting at a friend's kitchen table and she'd asked me what my biggest dream was right now. I was working full-time as an editor, in talks about writing a book about poetry and creativity, and I'd just added the Soul Mantra necklaces to my slowly growing Etsy shop full of purses and prayer flags.
I shared that one day I wanted to host retreats that brought together what I'd learned from the sacred community I'd found in my two-year yoga teacher training experience with the creative community I'd found in the art retreats I was attending. I said that I thought I was about five to ten years away from that dream because we didn't have money to buy a place where I could host the retreats.
My dream was deeply connected to a belief that I had to own (or rent) a space to host these retreats I was envisioning.
My friend said, "Why don't you act like you are already living this dream?"
As I thought about her words over the next few days, my way of looking at this dream began to change. I shifted toward the, "Hmmm...that is interesting. I wonder..." phase of dreaming.
But I didn't make any moves for a few months. I started to try on the idea that I could create and host retreats now. I would imagine what it would be like, but I was too afraid to put any ideas onto paper.
Then I had a few really beautiful experiences and conversations with a few friends. Their support pushed me over the edge to move into the action phase.
I started researching locations along the Oregon Coast. I wanted a big house so it could feel a bit like I was inviting people into my home. I found some possibilities. I started brainstorming on paper. I started thinking about names for this new adventure. My blog was called "be present, be here." The name Be Present Retreats was born.
I brainstormed ideas for the first retreat. I came up with the idea of calling it Self-Portrait Excavation: a retreat about self-portraits in photography, poetry, and mixed media. I asked two friends if they wanted to teach with me. And a few weeks later, I put my dream out into the world.
There was a lot of excitement from my blog readers and friends. I felt certain the retreat would fill with excited women ready to sink into the world of self-portraits and community.
During this time the editor I'd been brainstorming book ideas with called me and said, "I think the idea you have for that retreat could be an incredible book."
I loved it. We put together the proposal and it was accepted! Inner Excavation was born.
But only a few people signed up for the retreat.
I was really discouraged and knew I would probably have to cancel. I was determined to try again. I brainstormed in my idea notebook. I talked to a few trusted friends and they listened and gave me advice when I asked for it. I thought about the two teachers I most wanted to learn from and asked them if they would teach. They said yes.
I pushed forward with my second retreat (that really became my first). It sold out in three days.
And a few months later, I found myself sitting on that couch looking out at the water knowing I'd come home. And I consciously tucked that feeling into my heart so I wouldn't forget.
The next two retreats didn't fill.
At times it was confusing and discouraging, but I didn't let myself forget that feeling of home.
So I planned another one and we had just enough people to make it work. I kept building from there. Last week I hosted my fifteenth retreat.
Of course there is a lot more to this story, including figuring out how to actually make money and other bumps and bruises as a business grows. There are dear friends who have supported me and a few who have literally helped make these retreats possible. There are lessons and laughter and moments of wondering. And there have been moments when I wasn't sure if I should keep doing this paired with really beautiful retreats that have brought me back to center where I feel at home again.
Today, this is what I know: If I hadn't spent those months taking time to just pretend the dream was already happening, it would still be in the idea notebook I carry around in my head. Literally trying that dream on for minutes at a time helped me step into a the story of what creating the Be Present Retreats might feel like.
I'm so deeply grateful for that moment when someone shined a light on that dream inside me and let me know I had permission to say, "YES!"
This post is part of The Give Your Dream Wings Blog Hop. It's a peek inside the process of how inspiring people make the magic happen. We've got some of the internet's most inspiring bloggers sharing how they give their dreams wings - what they do that supports, nurtures and encourages their tender dreams to come to life. This is happening in celebration of the new e-course of the same name by Andrea Schroeder of the Creative Dream Incubator.
The Give Your Dream Wings e-course shows you how to nurture and grow YOUR dream, for free, in only 10 minutes a day. You do not have to wait until you have more time or money! Click here to find out about the free e-course and to read the other (crazy inspiring!) posts in this Blog Hop.