As many of you know, I went on a self-care retreat with Emme, the first plus size supermodel, this past weekend at Carillon Hotel in Miami Beach. (They’re hosting retreats there now, so you didn’t miss the boat if you’re looking for a weekend of self-improvement).
When I got back from my retreat, I reread my newsletter which I wrote before the weekend. I mentioned that the two reasons I was going on this retreat were to force myself into self-care, as it’s soooooo at the bottom of my list in this season of life. The second was for a trial run to learn how to travel with my baby. Ha!
I’m laughing because sure I did those things, but actually being in the beauuuutiful space with a small group of strong women, gave me so much more than I thought I’d ever get on this retreat.
I have a pretty full life. Full schedule. Emphasis on schedule. I have my days planned out by the hour, and there’s no particular time blocked off for “space to be me,” (other than two hours a day I get to write, and one of those hours I’d almost rather nap). So a weekend retreat was so out of my scope of things I thought I could do, let alone while I am nursing a baby!
With the encouragement of my friend Robin, my incredible and selfless husband, and the support of the women on the retreat, I did it. And rather seamlessly I may add. I packed for the family. I went on the retreat. Matt watched Ollie while I did my thing. I stuck to my nursing schedule. I participated in thoughtful conversations that my mind and soul were craving–we spoke about intentions, worries, forgiveness. We even learned about Feng Shui and how we can incorporate the practice into our lives, not just our homes. Also, I got my first eye-rolling-backwards Swedish massage in probably nine months.
Recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m being pulled in eight different directions. I want to do everything, but I really need to nail down one thing and stay on my tracks. One of the ah-ha moments that came to me during the retreat was during our Feng Shui session where we were taught to ask ourselves better questions, based on what our biggest worry in life is. My biggest worry? My legacy.
My “ask a better question, Emily,” became: what can be done, or can I do, to feel more “yes!” moments in my life? (My “yes” moment is my personal sign that I’m following joy and fulfilling my purpose, hence, satisfying my legacy.)
When I think, I tend to think out loud. When I devised my better question with the group around me, I had immediate “answers” to share with the group, but the true answers came after, when I was silent. Like during my shower, or on my morning run, or during the crystal bowl ceremony. When I quiet down, I know what I’m supposed to do. I just have to be brave enough to listen to my “yes.”…and then do it!
After I came back from my morning run, my head felt like it had space for new thoughts. I Marie Kondoed my mind! I was in the shower and I started to sing a mantra so simple yet so meaningful and transformational. I sang, “I am who I am.” Over and over. Then, I started a call and respond to myself. “I am who I am. You are who you are.” Again, over and over. I felt so empowered, reminding myself that the gift I was given from God (feel free to insert your choice of words here) was to write, speak, influence, story tell, and inspire others through my own vulnerability. That is who I am! And you are who you are. I mean this with all kindness.
We have each been given an incredible gift and purpose in this life. I am not the most book smart person I know, unfortunately!!! I would love to brag about this if I were. There are plenty of people in this world who could read something once and retain it forever. I am not that person. Boo-hoo. (Grass is always greener!). I am not broken or dumb because I am not the most book smart person I’ve ever met. I have huge emotional intelligence, I learn differently (through stories and doing), and I teach differently, too!
My girlfriend Vanessa Scotto, the cohost of an incredibly insightful podcast, Bliss + Grit, once told me, “Emily, there are two different types of teachers. One teacher commands to their students, “Do this. Do that…it will change your life! And another teacher leads their students to the answer by walking with them, hand in hand.”
As much as some people encourage me to stand on a podium and tell people what to do to change their lives, I just feel like I run into a brick wall when I do that. Hard stop. I just am not that type of leader–though I know plenty of people who were meant to do this…and that is who they are! One leadership style is not right or wrong, it’s just personal to each person’s style, thinking and process.
I remembered a lot about myself this past weekend. I am who I am! I am creative, emotionally intelligent, and I teach by walking with you, hand-in-hand, and that’s still leadership. What a powerful reminder for myself. I hope this inspires you to find time for your own self-care, maybe even a retreat, and create some s-p-a-c-e in your mind to remind yourself of who you are, and what your gift and purpose is.
I hope you get a chance to try that mantra, too. You are who you are!
I am who I am.
PS- Happy birthday to my loving husband, Matt, who volunteered his birthday weekend to take care of Ollie while I took care of myself. <3 Love. Love. Love you.