Last weekend, I hosted my first ever retreat: The Soulful Proprietor Retreat. The mission was simple – gather together twenty women who were working in heart-centered businesses for an in-person mastermind with some fabulous teachers.
I can happily announced that I successfully accomplished my goal. The retreat was hella successful and a whole lotta fun for both attendees and my amazing speakers.
I’m a detailed oriented person so you can be sure I was planning this event waaaayyyyy in advance. A little over a year ago, I nailed down the concept and then did some clarity work around the numbers: how much did I want to make and how much was this going to cost? (I always do my number work first before ANY business venture.) Once I got that part clear, it was full speed ahead with the planning process.
No detail was overlooked: from the shuttle, to the tea lights for the labyrinth, to the delectable snacks from The Nutman (pictured below), to the speaker’s gifts – this was going to be mega-pampering for the lucky gals who were participating.
On Thursday, I grabbed Bri Saussy and Alexandra Franzen from the airport and whisked them away for a yummy staff dinner at Odd Duck (but not before an obligatory stop at the Bronze Fonz – pictured below. Ayyyyyy).
This is one of my favorite restaurants and the perfect place to sit down and get clear on the weekend’s agenda. Kristie met us there along with my hired gun, Yvonne (who turned out to be the BEST money spent on this retreat, hands down). We got all the logistics discussed over charcuterie and delectable bacon wrapped dates stuffed with gouda.
After I dropped them off at the hotel, I tried to sleep. No luck. Insomnia was kicked into high gear and although I had planned this thing well, I felt anxious. What if the attendees got stranded at the airport? What if the weather got suddenly crummy? What if, what if, what if…..I was fretting and being a freak about it.
Friday morning came early and I was out the door with Yvonne to pick up Alex and Bri to caravan over to our retreat location, the Dekoven Center, for set up. Yvonne and I got everything ready, right down to the name tags.
Meanwhile, Kristie was waiting at the Starbucks in the airport to get everyone to the shuttle. I had sent everyone a little Starbucks gift card so that they could grab a beverage while they waited. Rumor has it the Soulful Proprietor women “took over” the Starbucks. Soon, everyone was accounted for and taken to the waiting shuttle, where the very dapper Greg (pictured below) got them safely to the center (Andrus Limo were TOP NOTCH and total pros).
It was ON.
Everyone was welcomed in with a big hug and a giant swag bag filled to the brim with goodies such as: a candle from Bri, crystals, incense, a copy of Alex’s book Our Q&A a Day: 3-Year Journal for 2 People, toothbrushes, beauty care, Indulgence chocolates, tea, snacks, and more. The item that got the most excitement was the Gaian Tarot from our sponsor, Llewellyn. This beautiful deck is going out of print so we were fortunate that the good people at Llewellyn were so generous and thoughtful!
We began our first class with a blessing from Bri and then I launched into a discussion on how to create a sustainable business on your terms. This was a content heavy discussion that started out with talking about the “number.” (I wrote about my number and why it’s so important for business yesterday.) I could tell that some of the gals were having a bit of trouble with that money and number talk so I knew I’d have to revisit it later. But no time – dinner was on the table.
Because we were hosting in Wisconsin, it was important for me to have some of our traditions to share with my crew, so naturally, we had a fish dinner for Friday! The Friday Fish Fry is a big thing here. Like, major. We had a healthier version but it still got the point across. (We also had vegetarian and gluten free options for every meal so no one went hungry.)
I was ready to tuck in early and try to sleep but that got changed when I found one of the attendees in tears. Turns out, someone smashed a window on her car! I was in shock and this completely threw me off my game. We went out to her car, called the cops and the retreat center manager. Here’s the thing: this retreat is on a huge property that is pretty much a bunch of churches. Who the hell goes into a sacred place like that and decides to get all thuggy?
A few ladies from Bead Camp (their camp was hosted the same weekend as ours at Dekoven) grabbed flash lights and went to see if any more cars got nailed. Sure enough, three more were hit. This was very upsetting for all of us, especially since Kristie’s purse was taken. Soon, the place was swarming with police, who informed us that Racine was having a major crime spree that night with hit and runs, car chases, and more!
This robbery event could have ruined the whole weekend but instead, it brought people together. Suddenly, we were all “in it together,” including our new BFFs: Bead Camp! (Memo to self: you can micromanage an event but you don’t get to micromanage the Universe.)
I hit the sack for another sleepless night, except now I was worried about robbers. UGH.
Saturday morning, the ladies had a choice between yoga with me or meditation with Kristie and then it was time for a delicious and hearty breakfast before a full day of classes.
Before Kristie started her class, Bri opened the room with a blessing for the event and we all sent extra love to all the women who were affected by the robbery. As Kristie began her class on boundaries, there was a knock on the door. It was the manager with Kristie’s purse! It had been found that morning from a local who was taking her dog on a walk. Although the wallet was gone, we were all just happy to see the purse back with the rightful owner. A big, collective sigh of relief and class was in session. Kristie’s class was outstanding. We had rich discussions about boundary issues and she gave us tools and suggestions for dealing with sticky problems that might come up in our businesses. This was an important topic as many soul based business owners are softies – which can easily slip into being doormats. With the new tools Kristie delivered, we could all step into our power a bit more.
This segued nicely into our next class. Bri gave a heartfelt and powerful talk on how to stand strong and step out of the forest of fear. For those of us who work in these so-called “woo woo” industries, this was a biggie as many of us have struggled with how to talk about what we do. Often, we’ve come across ridicule or rudeness from people that didn’t get our work. Bri’s exercises and meditations brought some tearful breakthroughs and big “ahas.” We were cooking now. This event was creating some dynamic shifts and strong sisterly bonds.
After a luscious lunch, there was a little time to chill. But The Tarot Lady isn’t about doing any of that: I took two women aside for a mini workshop on websites. I had scoped out everyone’s businesses before this event so that I could see where there might be a need for extra help. When I saw their websites, I knew a little polish from my eyes would help them get their sites moving in a more profitable and prettier direction. Both ladies took copious notes and were given “homework.” (PS I love giving out assignments. Ask Hilary.)
One of the things I was a stickler about was creating some space in this retreat for little break out sessions like this. This allowed me to get one-on-one time with anyone who needed a little extra Tarot Lady lovin’. (Memo to anyone who creates events: be sure to have down time. You may need it – or your guests may.)
Next up, Alex’s class on writing for your business (photo above). I’ve taken Alex’s Write Yourself Into Motion workshop before so I knew she would deliver like a boss and she sure did! We learned how to say what we do in an elegant way, how to write a bio that is authentically us, and big time ideas on blog posts. Pens were scribbling away and some of the women were excited to share some of their new ideas that sprung from the writing exercises. After class was over, Alex stayed for an extra hour to answer questions and help polish up some of the women’s work. Everyone was so grateful for this extra attention!
After dinner, it was time for our wine and cheese mingle! I love wine so any event I throw must have some! Wisconsin is known for great cheese so you can be sure we had some very tasty morsels set out. (That cheese didn’t last very long by the way.)
Soon oracles and tarot cards were out and readings were happening. One of the guests, Jen Cintron, brought out her ukelele and began an impromptu serenade (she has the most incredible voice – chills over here!). Another, Limitless Megan, gave a rousing talk about money mindset. This night was happy energy, yo.
I hit the sack but guess what….INSOMNIA again. Why? I should have been exhausted enough to sleep like the dead but guess not. Tomorrow would be the final day and I just wanted to make sure everything was perfect. (I’m a total perfectionist in case you didn’t get that.) I guess the Universe wanted me to operate on no sleep. Double ugh.
Sunday morning started out with a choice between yoga or a labyrinth walk. Those who chose the latter were in for some big time magic! Yvonne had already set out tea light candles so the whole labyrinth was gently lit (she was up at 5AM with a flashlight to put these out). The sun was barely peeking when Kristie began leading them through the walk. When they reached the center of the labyrinth, church bells began ringing. This was NOT planned so it was really cool! (I’m also about signs and omens so this was auspicious to me.)
After breakfast, the last class of the day was in my hands. I was going to share my secret sauce for how I came up with all my ideas (I am an idea machine, yo. I have tons of journals FILLED with ideas that are hatched from my process.) But first, I wanted to circle back and talk about why “the number” was so important for soul-based entrepreneurs.
I’m well aware that many of my sisters in the sacred arts hate the money stuff. It’s because a lot of us have “money shame” stories, myself included. I decided to bare my soul in this group so that the women would understand that even if you come from humble or horrible beginnings, it can be transformed once you heal the old money stories and start writing a new one. That new story can only be written when you let go of the old and become clear about what you want to attract in your work and life. This was very emotional for me (money is for a lot of us) so a few tears were shed by me and some of the attendees (tarot thugs hate to cry by the way). But it felt good to get that out there – and this seemed to drive the point home and help my peeps comprehend why they needed to be absolutely clear on their biz, right down to the number they want to make.
After that, it was time to teach my Intuition to Income process. We had a lovely yoga nidra session, followed by journaling (I am BIG on journaling), and then masterminding with tarot in groups of five. Ideas were hatched, mind melds were formed, and the class ended on a fun (and energized) note.
At the beginning of the retreat, every participant was able to pull a stone with an inscribed word out of the bag. We took a moment to go around the room and each woman had the opportunity to share her word and how it showed up for her this weekend. This was a wonderful ceremony that Kristie had suggested – and it created a beautiful, shared experience.
It was time for a closing ceremony with Bri and then hugs and goodbyes. Our shuttle driver, Valentino, was waiting out front to swiftly escort the women to the airport. And so it was over. A year in the planning and now complete. Just like that.
So what did I do after all this?
I went home and took a nap. I finally slept.
Exhausted, happy, and grateful.
Blissed out from the company of my soulful sisters in business.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2014
images from private collection