Oh where oh where to begin....
Friends have asked me how I came up with the idea to host an art retreat for women in the woods. That's a great question that has a long and rambling answer, so I'll try to take you on a short journey to explain how this all came about.
I love to create events. I love bringing women together to share experiences that encourage them to stretch and take a walk outside of their comfort zones. I love designing spaces where women feel pampered and appreciated for the complex beings that they are. And I love art.
If you mix all those things together, you get Sanctuary Art Retreat.
I feel like I've been journeying to this place in time my entire life. All the other events I've created and hosted (and yes, there have been many, all over the US) seem to have led me to this moment. When I first drove in to the Whispering Pines Conference Center many years ago, I knew that I wanted to host a weekend away for women, I just didn't know how to go about it. It stayed in the back of my mind for years and I'd revisit it every once in a while, making notes and jotting down ideas of what I hoped it would become.
First it was a retreat that embraced quiet time for contemplation. I love to journal and I thought, what a beautiful space to just sit alone with your thoughts and enjoy the solitude. But being the social person that I am, it wasn't long before it became more than just something for myself, but something that I wanted to share with other women. We're all so busy leading our daily lives - don't we deserve some time away to regroup, recharge and relax a bit?
Fast forward to late summer of 2018 and a field trip to the conference center with a few of my artsy friends, a stroll around the grounds and facilities, and a couple of conversations later - Sanctuary Art Retreat was born. The down payment was made, the dates were blocked, the outline for the weekend was created, artists were booked to teach and away I went! It became a reality so much easier than I thought and everything started falling into place.
The thing that surprised me most about creating this entire experience is how quickly other women wanted to join in. I literally put the agenda together, created a Pinterest page to hold all of my ideas, built this website, mentioned it to a couple of friends, and within a few weeks all the spaces were booked up! Here I was worrying that I wouldn't be able to fill the rooms (I mean, it was a lot of money coming out of my pocket and maybe it wouldn't appeal to anyone, maybe I was going the be sitting alone in the classroom, maybe I was crazy....you know how that self talk goes, right?) and before the end of the first month of going live, there were no more spaces left.
So what has this proven to me? Mostly that a lot of other women are looking for the same experience that I am. A chance to get away for a weekend, to be immersed in art, to learn new things, to enjoy beautiful surroundings and to make new friends.
This has also taught me that I'm not alone. I'm not the only one who enjoys new adventures, and mostly, that some dreams, no matter how crazy they may seem at first, really can become reality.
I'm excited to share Sanctuary Art Retreat with all of you. Please stay tuned for more updates as the date gets closer - I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I will!