Jayne and I met through the Desire Map book club last January but we didn’t become close friends until later in the year. During the summer, we developed a habit of meeting in London Fields, sitting on our favourite park bench, and drink a bottle of organic red wine or two while discussing our dreams, fears, love, cheesy pop music, and everything in between.
Often our conversations turned to how much we wanted to work together. We had a lot of ideas we were excited about, but we weren’t exactly sure how to make it happen or whether any of it would work out. Our fears were holding us back.
As the weather got colder, we traded in red wine on the park bench for prosecco on Jayne’s balcony and wild dance parties in her front room. It was on one of these Saturday nights near the end of October that we decided to just go for it and plan a retreat day. We looked up when the full moon in December was and sent off an email to reserve a venue.
Tickets for our urban retreat went live the next Friday and we sold 18 in the first day. By the time the day came around, we were completely sold out.
There are few better feelings than taking the leap, bringing one of your dreams to life, and then watching it take of with wild success. And it all happened because we said yes to creating the work that lights our hearts up. And then 40 women said, “Yes! This is exactly what we need.”
It was a beautiful thing to experience.
On 6 December everyone was greeted with a hug and given a beautifully designed notebook from Nikki Strange for scribbling notes throughout the day. Before getting started we all had a chance to get to know each other while snacking on fresh fruit, nuts, and delicious snacks from Rude Health, and sipping water infused with grapefruit and rosemary and a selection of herbal teas from Teapigs.
After our introductions, we began with a modified despacho ritual where we helped everyone get clear on what they wanted to celebrate from the past year and crystallise what they were ready to release. We combined everyone's pieces of paper in our despacho package, which we ceremonially burned a week later in London Fields.
Then it was time to move out of our heads and into our bodies as Jayne led everyone through a Qoya session to dance with our shadow side before shaking it off and dancing in celebration of ourselves.
The rest of the day was filled with deep conversations, laughter, new friendships, delicious food, meditation, deep relaxation, powerful insights, and chocolate. Always chocolate.
It was amazing to watch how quickly and openly the women were connecting with one another - quickly and freely sharing laughter, tears, and hugs. As I stood at the back of the room during one of the Qoya sessions and watched as everyone moved their bodies so wildly, I was on the verge of tears myself as I became overwhelmed with the radiance of everyone in the room.
I was so thrilled to hear that the women who came found the experience just as powerful as I did. Jerry described the event as "life changing" and Emily said, "The day was neither tiring nor boring: everyone left with a perfect union of replenished energy and a sense of calm. I loved being a part of such an interesting group of women all coming together to just enjoy, nurture themselves and heal."
We were also so lucky to have some truly amazing brands support the retreat and each woman was sent home with a unique gift bag to help them bring the lessons they'd learned into their day-to-day lives. Thank you so much to Napiers, Alli Woods Frederick, Veronica Dearly, Crown & Glory, Rachel Gale, Galaxy Rox Jewellery, and Pretty Utopian for providing these goodies.
If you didn't have a chance to attend the retreat, think about how you can set aside some time to reflect on the past year. Celebrate where you are, get clear on what you want to let go of, and then set your mind to what you want to attract into your life.
In 2015 I'll be releasing some new ways for us to work together, both in person and online. But for now, I highly recommend checking out Jayne's new offering She is the Moon. It's a year-long subscription that costs only £48. On every full moon and every new moon in 2015 you'll receive a guided meditation, a ritual to connect in with the moon's phase, a movement practice, and exclusive invitations to gatherings + group rituals. It's going to be seriously badass!
What about you? I'd love to know how you'll be creating your intentions for the new year and what you're dreaming of in 2015!
Top photograph by Rebecca Campbell, all the rest by Katherine Rothman.