Hola my ladybirds,
Two weeks ago, I went on a sacred solo retreat.
My first time away from my daughter since she was born.
It was a massively intense experience – from the very beginning of not believing I could actually go away on my own, through to the aftermath of what’s happened since I’ve come back.
I wanted to share it with you.
To encourage you, inspire you, or plant a seed to have your own retreat (whether you are a mama or not!)
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
It started with a healing.
Months ago – many many months ago, too many to even count,
my dear mentor/healer/intuitive/counsellor/sage/support Hiro started urging me:
“Leonie, you need to get away. Just some time for you to be in your own energy. Just some time and space for you to be with yourself and integrate everything that has changed for you over the last three years. You need this.”
And I argued, of course.
I argued that it wasn’t possible.
I argued that Starry wouldn’t survive without me.
I argued that I couldn’t afford it.
I argued that my hunky love would never, ever agree.
In my mind, it was not possible. Not possible or doable at all.
But she kept on suggesting, in that gentle, loving way of hers:
“Leonie, your soul needs this.”
And I listened but I KNEW it wasn’t possible. Not doable. Not at all. Not in this busy, full life of mine.
And then finally, I listened more.
And we did some healing around my stories of support + what I could and couldn’t do as a mum.
And I said “yes.”
HOW I GOT THE SUPPORT OF MY HUSBAND TO DO IT
I was nervous talking to my love about it.
I believed really that I could only possibly maybe only have a night away.
Even though Hiro had urged me to take more time than that.
Even though I wanted more inside me.
So I decided to go in with the bargaining chip of a too-high-request. (That’s not necessarily the best way, but it’s what I was okay with doing in that moment. Also: this was not the first time we’d talked about it. Ya gotta communicate the shit out of these things.)
“Honey, I need to talk to you about something.”
“You know how I’ve wanted some time away by myself for a really long time? I really need to do this now. I want to fill my well after looking after Starry for so long, and I want to do it especially before I become pregnant again. Can we please work out a way for me to go for two nights?”
(I fully expected him to say – “Why don’t we just try one night instead?”)
And he shrugged his shoulders and said
“Yeah, sure, that sounds totally fine honey.”
And he said it like I’d asked if he could mind Starry for five minutes while I popped down the shops.
So I said
“Right. Well. I wasn’t expecting that. If you’re this cool about it, can I go for three instead?”
“Yep. Cool with me.”
And then I made a sound like this:
#$UEOIUOIEWu5oi uwioueioudosdjkjsklfdjk lajdsf;kljsg;klshf;j$$%#U% IOUWQIO%UWI$U~!!!!!!!
And then I danced around the room singing “The hills are alive with the sound of muuuuusic!!!!”
And Starry joined me, because that looked like fun.
And it was. And I’d do a lap of the room and then kneel to kiss Chris’ feet,
and Starry would mimic me,
and we all cackled and giggled and laughed together.
And it felt like the sweetest, most joyous family moment.
What a gift. What a special, special gift.
HOW I PREPARED MY DAUGHTER
I talked to Starry about it too.
It helped that her Poppy Bear (grandaddy) had just gone away on his own retreat for a few days.
I told her that I was going to go on holidays on my own as well, just like Poppy Bear had done.
And that she’d be at home with Daddy and have some wonderful special time with him.
And that I’d come back after three nights of sleeping, and that she’d be taken care of and have fun.
She understood and was fine about it.
When I left, I got her a rose quartz shaped like a heart, and knelt down in front of her. I put it in her hands, and wrapped my hands around hers, and told her if she ever felt lonely or like she missed me, she could hold the heart and she’d feel all my love surround her.
She was totally stoked about that: “Ohhhhh! Mummmmmy! Thank you berry much!! Thank you berry berry much!!!! I LOVE!!!!!”
And she kissed the shit out of my face and it was beautiful.
(Incidentally, she loved that little ritual so much she has continued to bring me the rose quartz heart since then, and wants me to put it in her hands again like last time. What a special crystal-connection thing to share!)
HOW I CHOOSE MY RETREAT LOCATION
I think about going to a B&B in the rainforest just down the road from our house.
Just incase, you know, an emergency happens and PEOPLE NEED ME YOU KNOW.
But then I got over myself.
And I remembered Hiro asking me:
“If anything was possible, where would you go?”
And the answer was a little beach that is one of my favourite places in the world.
It happens to be the place where I saw dolphins for the first time.
And when I sit there, I feel like I can see the future. I feel peace.
And I feel like somehow it’s energetically connected to the coastline of Northern California.
It’s special. So special.
That’s where I wanted to be.
I hunted for a place to stay where I could see the ocean and be close to it.
I knew I could probably find a place on the cliff that would give me that kind of connection.
So I found a Tuscan-style B&B to stay at.
I wanted privacy, solitude, quiet + spellbinding beauty.
That’s the essence of why I wanted.
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED: THE BEGINNING OF RETREAT!
When I entered my villa, my eyes welled up. I shivered with delight.
It was spellbindingly beautiful.
Before I came, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to see the ocean enough. I was worried I’d feel too much like I was in a room with two-small-windows and no privacy.
But there I was, at this apartment on the cliff, down six winding staircases.
And the walls are glass and all I see is sky and sea.
The sea is immense and high.
For some reason, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen an ocean that sits so high on the horizon. I don’t even know if it makes sense, but there it is. The wide and immense Pacific Ocean.
Clouds rolls over and shadowsshape shift across the sea.
The wind washes around my little place in the world. Green trees push and rush against my windows.
In a word: perfect.
I loved that it’s not perfect too.
I loved that there are cracks, and I love that there is water damage on the ceiling. I love that a window is broken.
I’ve always loved things that are broken, for some reason.
I felt exactly like I am in Italy.
It’s all Tuscan and wood and terracotta and slate and rock and ornate wooden rocking chairs and ceiling freezes with ivy.
I called my dearest love when I arrived to let him know.
To tell him how grateful I was.
To tell him it was the greatest.thing.ever.
And he knew.
And he understood.
HOW I SPENT MY RETREAT
I spent the next four days and three nights awash in beauty.
When you ask what I did on my retreat, I don’t know much of what to tell you.
I just listened to what I wanted.
I did what my body and soul wanted like a quiet, soft animal.
I read. I stared at the sea. I took a half-hearted attempt at a nap (I’m shithouse at napping). I did a little bit of collaging. I read some more. I ate. I drank tea.
I dragged a rocking chair out onto the deck. I sat and read and stared at the sea and I sang to her.
I took myself on a date to a little, packed Italian restaurant and drank half a glass of champagne at the bar. I attempted to watch The Voice but it sucked not having my hunky love and my mother-in-law to trade comments with, so I read some more instead.
I went to the toilet by myself (!!!!!!!!!!!) I pooped in PEACE!
I also had enough space around me that I actually missed my husband and daughter – not in a sucky way, more in a “I’m noticing how much my heart swells when I think of them” kind of way. I wrote a little. I read some more. I sat on the bed and stared at the ocean. I talked to myself and told myself jokes (I tell you, my BFF Leonie really IS the best ever!) and I laughed hysterically. I bathed in the Essence of Leonie. I really, really dig that bird.
ALSO: I GOT A TATTOO (!!)
I also marked something big off my list – I got a tattoo.
I promised myself long ago that I wouldn’t get my first until I’d gotten past my Saturn Return. I’d always had a feeling that I’d have a particularly intense one (helloooo being a Scorpio… I never do anything by halves!) I also knew that I wouldn’t be the same person I was before my Saturn Return.
And I was right. I was very much reborn in lots of ways over the last three years. And I’m coming out the other side now, and it’s a beautiful fucking thing to lose your faith and joy and find it again.
I’ve been doodling and designing and drawing it for over a year now, and I wanted to do it before my hunky love impregnates me again.
And it was a gorgeous way to end my retreat too.
The next day, I woke up as the sun rise over the ocean.
And I got so excited that I couldn’t wait to get back home to see my two loves.
HOW MY DAUGHTER SURVIVED MY RETREAT
She was completely fine, of course. Even when I didn’t think that would be the case. (I totally thought I WAS SO NEEDED!)
She cried zero times. When she woke up the first morning without me there, she crawled into bed with her Daddy and said
“Mummy on holidays in the orange car.”
And he said:
“She is sweetie, but the car is blue.”
“Oh YES! BLUE CAR! HAW HAW HAW!”
(Because blue cars are infinitely more funny than orange ones, apparently.)
She was totally fine with that explanation, and appeared to understand that I’d be away for a little while longer than usual.
So she had a party on the verandah with her daddy and grandparents.
She played outside. Played with her dogs and toys. Read books. Had endless bubble baths.
(It sounds like she was on a wonderful retreat of her own!)
When I returned home, I totally was expecting some kind of fanfare. Like:
OMG YOU ARE HOOOOOME I LOOOOVE YOU SOOO MUCH
(from both my hunky love and daughter)
Cue panpipe music and running across the field towards each other, arms outstretched.
Instead, it was like:
OH HEY WASSUP
as though I’d just been at the shops for five minutes.
It didn’t crush my heart, if that’s what you’re wondering.
Instead it made me think:
Well. Fuck me! It turns out I’m actually a lot less needed and a whole lot freer than I thought I was!
That feels beautifully liberating and exciting to know that truth.
Also, they are very cute. Witness:
And now, it feels like so much less of a BFP (Big Fucking Production) to go out on my own now.
I don’t have to micromanage things! I don’t have to organise the crap out of my family!
I can just know and trust that hey, my husband knows what he’s doing. My daughter is completely and totally fine without me around 100% of the time!
So much so that I was invited out this weekend to go camping with a bunch of wild magic women to do a full moon ceremony, and I said yes without even thinking.
Because of course I can do that. Of course that’s doable.
And it is.
It feels so good.
I know now beyond a shadow of a doubt that
EVEN THOUGH I AM A MOTHER, I CAN STILL HAVE MY NEEDS FILLED.
I can still give myself what I need. I can still have time to myself! I can still have much needed soul retreats! I can still have solo adventures! I can still go out!
This feels fucking MASSIVE to me, loves.
Massive! Huge! Ginormous!
When I became a mama I thought I no longer had the right or the priveledge to self care.
Now I see it is absolutely fucking ESSENTIAL.
THE BENEFIT OF SOLO RETREATS
Here’s what I noticed from having a solo retreat:
I come back and I’m a much happier, present mama and wife.
My well has been filled, and there’s plenty to spare (instead of feeling like it’s hitting dry every week!)
Heading off to my retreat felt like my soul firmly came back – clunk – into my body.
Like my soul had found its home.
And from there, I radiate brighter.
My radiance touches my daughter and my husband.
And they are much more able to be at home in their own soul’s too.
WHY SOLO RETREATS ARE GOOD FOR BUSINESS TOO
I’ve long maintained that having a full, beautiful life filled with hobbies + holidays that aren’t all business are very good for your business.
It’s so, so important to fill your well. To NOT work 24/7 without break.
When you DO fill your well, nourish yourself and have time away you will be:
- more productive
- more inspired
- able to see your business more clearly – including what you need to say yes to more often, no to and change the direction of
- more able to face the challenges of your business without it rocking your core.
I had grand plans for writing a book (hahahahah) during my retreat.
I didn’t lift my pen, except to scrawl some words in my journal of
omg this is the greaaaatest everrrrrrrrr
That’s what was needed. I came back being able to see my business from the top down, instead of immersed in the forest.
It was a blessed, beautiful, needed experience.
Feeling more like myself than ever before (and ain’t that the best feeling ever!)
All in all: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. DOUBLE THUMBS UP!!!!
To your space, nourishment + dreams come true,
In love and light,