It’s no secret that these past couple of months have been incredibly challenging for me. Molting the skin from my old self and rediscovering who I am now left me raw, and red and tender to the touch. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to stick around. Personal development is not always easy, but I’m hoping that all the effort I’m putting into this process will be worth the trouble. And so far, though it has been painful, this process has already been rewarding.
Case in point: I met Regina Sather of Simply Sather through Instagram back in July. She reached out to me because she was curious about which safer personal care products would work best for here (click here if you’d like personalized recommendations, too), and we came to realize that she lived 20 minutes away from where we now live. We decided to meet in person, and we sparked right away. Kindred spirits are like that. We started telling each other about our hopes and dreams, which eventually led to her revealing how passionate she is about organizing and facilitating soul care retreats for individuals, couples and groups whether they’re local or not. “Soul care.” My husband, Carl, had just gotten laid off from his newest job a few days before, and while I didn’t really know what the term meant, the words felt like a salve to my aching heart. When I told Carl about the retreat he was intrigued; we were both feeling so defeated and depleted that an upcoming retreat felt like the oasis we were desperate to materialize just beyond the horizon.
Regina set up a quick 15-minute consultation a few months before our retreat was set to take place to better understand what we were looking to achieve from this new experience. She asked us questions about what kind of locations we feel most at home in (we’re partial to the cozy home vibe so we opted to book an Airbnb over a hotel) and what kind of struggles we’d been working through (Carl is on a journey to remain authentic in his career, and I’m still processing my new identity as a work-from-home mom). Then she got to work designing a soul care retreat that would fit our personal needs and desires. All I had to do was ask my in-laws to watch Milo for a weekend so that Carl and I could retreat from the world and all the responsibilities we carry on a day-to-day basis. And pack, of course.
So, that is how we found ourselves in a little photography studio-turned-guesthouse just far enough beyond city limits to be considered “out of town.” Starting at sunset one Friday evening until a chilly Sunday afternoon, my husband and I were able to connect with our pre-parenthood selves. We indulged in decadent food without interruption. We slept through the nights and through most of the mornings without interruption. We enjoyed each other without interruption. We were able to incorporate the recommended activities Regina organized specifically for the kind of stuck, stress and overwhelm we were feeling while still going about our days in a way that felt natural to us.
We unplugged from our phones and laptops, deciding that we wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity to withdraw into quiet refuge. The silence we experienced served to amplify just how much senseless chatter we invite into our lives. Without outside interference, we were able to really get clear about what matters most to us and discuss how we see ourselves growing as individuals and as partners. I was amazed at all that was scratching at the surface of my heart, begging to be tended to but never quite able to hold all of my attention. It had been entirely too long since we had prioritized our mental and emotional wellbeing in that way. And while the weekend came to a close all too soon, I walked away from the experience with so much more clarity about where I’d like to journey to next.