Howdy y’all, I’m back again to discuss the final bit of what I’ve dubbed my Yes Year. To refresh your memory, I started 2019 with a lot of self-exploration and made some big commitments to myself! First, I set an intention to give myself ALL THE THINGS that I wasn’t getting in my last relationship. Within this intention I promised myself I’d attend therapy, do yoga, take more time to decompress, and take on new activities that challenged me while pushing me out of my comfort zone. To top it off, I dedicated myself to sobriety while doing ALL THE THINGS and was able to successfully remain on the wagon for the first four months of the year. Now here’s the concluding piece of my Yes Year puzzle – a women’s wellness retreat called The Shift.
So, how did I get to The Shift? Well… at the beginning of March I started to feel like I had stagnated when it came to diving deeper into myself. Although I had been doing ALL THE THINGS, I had this sense that there was something more I could pursue. Since I was already three years deep into therapy (which I started during the dissolution of my marriage in 2016), I began to think of other options that would help me to unearth the issues that remained rooted at my core. Of these options, I landed on the idea of attending a retreat; a getaway focused on rest, reflection, and growth. When I discussed this notion with my best friend Mandy, she was ecstatic! As fate would have it, she also wanted to attend a retreat AND knew of one which would fit our needs. So we went full steam ahead with our plans and reached out to The Shift, “an empowerment organization that is committed to teaching the transformational tools you need to create the life and relationships you’ve always wanted…” After looking over their website, Mandy and I started with the application process and setup discussion times with the Outreach Coordinator to ensure that we were good candidates for the retreat. I remember being pretty nervous before the discussion because I wasn’t sure what type of questions would be asked, but the conversation went well and the retreat plans were slated. I’d be going to Big Bear Lake March 22ndthrough the 24thto continue my self-exploration and development!
Fast-forward to the first day of the retreat… Mandy and I carpooled from San Diego to Big Bear together. During that 2ish hour drive, we both discussed our hopes and fears in anticipation of the transformational weekend we were about to participate in. While conversing, I shared some of the key items that I really wanted to work through. One of the major items being my fixation on and anxiety surrounding my weight, which is something that I’ve struggled with since I was a teenager. Another item I wanted to address were the remnants of guilt that lingered from my past relationships. Overall, my hopes for the retreat were high – I was looking to bury a history of disordered eating and impart some major forgiveness, toward myself as well as others. Upon arrival at the retreat cabin, I was happy to be greeted by a group of women that seemed just as eager as I was to put in the vulnerable work that lay ahead. While some of the women remained reserved during the introductory group exercises, eventually everyone opened up over the course of the weekend. Some of the major activities that we participated in throughout included dismantling belief systems that hold us back, breathwork, inner child work, meditation, kundalini yoga (the yoga of awareness), life coaching, and the elusive cacao ceremony (a ritual which has created a stir in the spiritual and wellness communities because participation in them touts that you’ll be able to connect with yourself/others unreservedly as cacao is a ‘heart opener’).
For me, the activities which provided the most insight and breakthroughs were the coaching sessions and the inner child work. The coaching sessions were hosted sporadically throughout the duration of the retreat and focused heavily on acceptance of self; these individuated sessions were really helpful for me in sifting through my inner dialogue and behaviors that are linked to my self-concept. Additionally, these sessions highlighted goals that I want to accomplish and left me feeling invigorated to go out and achieve them. Regarding the inner child work, participation in the cacao ceremony helped to catalyze the emotive response I had. After ingesting the cacao, the group was coached through mental meet-ups with past versions of ourselves. I got pretty emotional during this activity as I evoked experiences that I hadn’t brought to light in a long time. Recounting old experiences, I was able to give myself the love that I so desperately needed during those times. This helped to bury the hatchet with these negative recollections once and for all. Aside from the major activities that we participated in, downtime at the retreat was spent integrating the teachings, socializing, connecting, and eating some awesome plant based meals that were prepared by the in-house vegan dietitian (whose banana nut blueberry bread muffins I still dream about).
Altogether, The Shift was just what I needed during my Yes Year, as it provided the change in perspective necessary for putting certain things to rest and moving forward. There, I was able to forge lifelong friendships, map out future plans, and recalibrate alongside strong women from a variety of backgrounds. Moreover, it culminated my journey of doing ALL THE THINGS and furthered me on my path of self-discovery; thanks so much to all involved for riding this wave with me TTFN (ta ta for now).
For more information about The Shift and their transformational offerings click here, + to have a visualization of what they’re all about, please visit their IG account @shift_retreats. FYI – the next event they’ll be hosting is a women’s retreat August 15th-18thin Mt. Shasta, CA. Following that they will be doing a men’s retreat November 1st-3rdin Ojai, CA.