Big Soul was like a giant, warm, salted dark chocolate chunk cookie for my mind, body, and spirit.
Ahhhhh. I get all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it!
I found out about the retreat at an interesting time. With the opening of TRISM, staffing up Alchemy in preparation for Alchemy 2, and renovating our first home, I felt like I was in constant overdrive. It was around the time I heard about the conference that I had begun to dive into my spiritual side and I was craving more connection, soul soothing, and basically self care on steroids, if you will. A weekend retreat for female entrepreneurs in the mountains of Santa Barbara? Twist my arm!
The weekend was hosted by two lovely women, business coach Libby Crow and lifestyle coach Jamie Mendell. We stayed in the most stunning estate at the top of the mountains. Thinking about the view still takes my breath away!
Big Soul was balanced with meaningful activities, thought-provoking conversations, delicious plant-based meals and ice cream, down time, lighthearted girl time, and excursions that had nothing to do with work and all about having fun. We had deep, tear-filled mastermind sessions on business and life and everything in between.
We learned about the compassionate self forgiveness process, about spirit spaces and gratitude lists and putting more intention into our businesses, about maximizing our time, about finding beauty in the qualities we struggle with. I wrote in my notebook during one of the discussions, "Are you embodying changes you know you want to make?" What an amazing thing to ask yourself.
Big Soul gave me a new sense of connection, confidence, and purpose in both my personal life and my businesses. Being an entrepreneur is isolating. There's really nothing like being in a room with ten other amazing souls who have been in your shoes before. The mountains in the background didn't hurt, either...
I learned that the personalities that drive entrepreneurs can also be our biggest downfalls. Maybe finding greater happiness isn't about making big life changes at all, but more-so about shifting your perspective and channeling positivity in every situation.
"Better done than perfect." That's a quote I'm striving to live by in this season of life. I learned that sometimes I blame not doing certain things on not having time when really I'm just not prioritizing all the things I'm doing in the best way. I felt really connected to those aha moments.
One of my favorite moments from the conference was on the last night when we lit a delicate little piece of paper on fire and let go of a judgement that was holding us back. It was so deliciously freeing.
Tied for a close second was when we were huddled around the living room with face masks on laughing about everyone's different variation of the classic "this-one-time-I-peed-my-pants" story.
I think the most interesting and unexpected thing I learned at Big Soul is that I don't have it all figured it out. I may come across as someone who has specific plans and goals written down in different colors in an organized little planner but that couldn't be farther from who I am. I barely know what I'm doing tomorrow let alone what I'm going to accomplish next month!
And guess what? I kind of like it that way.
Just because it's untraditional doesn't mean it's not working for you.
Sometimes I feel lost and uncertain and like the sky is falling down in big scary chunks but no matter what day it is, I have passion. So. Much. PASSION. I have an intense love for living. I want to eat really good chocolate several times a week. I want to sleep in an extremely comfy bed. I want to cook in a kitchen that makes me smile. I want to work really freaking hard and still have the energy to go out with my girlfriends on Saturday night. I want to pay off my student loans and still stick to my budgey. I want to run the restaurants and this blog and also have the time and energy for me. And I usually do! It's far from perfect, but I do.
It's so important to make time for the things that matter most and to surround myself with people that raise me up, even when that means watching five TV shows in a row and eating takeout pizza with my boyfriend. I don't know if it's the coffee or the passion or the high I feel when I'm doing what I love, but somehow it's all magically working. I know the universe has a plan for me; and I'm eternally grateful for that!
When I was asked what I'm most proud of, I said "I'm proud of growing my business in an authentic way that centers around connection and realness." I hope you all feel that way about me and this space, too. Heart so full!
I've learned to find peace and beauty in the uncertainty that guides my life. I may not know where exactly I'm going, but I know that my sense of purpose will guide me to where I need to be.