Most of you will know that I recently took time out from the world and immersed myself in a personal retreat with transformation coach, Marina Pearson (www.marinapearson.com). Marina is a bestselling author, successful speaker, business women, Mum, wife, traveller, adventurer and coach. She specialises in working with mums and women in business who are feeling overwhelmed in their lives and struggling to see a way through, out and up. I was drawn to Marina by her refreshingly honest posts about being a mum, getting divorced, working as a mum and trying to find balance in all that mayhem. Marina was definitely someone I needed to have in my life.
As you will see from my previous blog posts, becoming a mum hit me like a freight train for a number of reasons. I felt like I was drowning, unhappy, and exhausted, I could not see the wood from the trees. All my mum friends seemed to breeze through motherhood and returning to work no problems. I on the other hand felt like I could not do anything right and it did not matter what I did it still felt like a daily battle.
I contacted Marina and asked her about how she worked with women like me. She was amazing and from our first call together I trusted that she understood where I was in my life and could help guide me through the chaos cloud that my life lived under. We embarked on a journey together with monthly calls to chat through whatever I had going on in my head. Every time I spoke to Marina it felt like the answer just came to me and I always left the call feeling lighter, more free and calmer. Marina always called this insight - and she was right. My mind began to calm and my life followed in the same direction.
I no longer carried around years of anxiety surrounding death. I began to live my life without so much obligation and felt more confident saying no, and yes, to things which were a priority for me. I never dreamed that this would lead me to being on retreat with Marina 12 months from our first call together.
From the moment I said yes to the retreat and informed my husband that I was going away for 5 days to Spain, I immediately felt empowered again. I was finally doing something just for me, on my own and it felt like such a brave adventure.
In the weeks leading up to the trip, my anxiety started to push its way to the surface and all the what if questions were racing through my mind. What if Finn (my little nearly big boy 3 year old) was upset that I was gone? What if my husband could not settle him? What if he was traumatised in any way? What if something happens to me? What if there is plane crash? What if.....What if.....What if......
Fortunately through the work I had already done with Marina, I was able to tame my chimp and put him firmly back in his cage in my brain, get on the train to Gatwick and board the flight. Ladies, I cannot tell you how much I reveled in the simple freedom of being alone. The minute I kissed my husband a weird teary anxious goodbye at 5am to get in my taxi to the station on Thursday morning, and I was queuing for my cup of tea before boarding the train, a broad smile covered my face. In fact I am sure I looked a bit mental in the tea queue if I am honest!
I sat on the train, in silence, staring out at the sun beginning to peak through the clouds at dawn. I silently watched the mist across the fields as early morning dog walkers pulled their collars up on their jackets to protect themselves from the chilly autumnal air. It truly felt like a new day was dawning in my life, it was remarkable.
Imagine, if you will, arriving at an airport and breezing through security with uninterrupted ease. Only having to manage your own time, space and property. Once through, imagine having all the time in the world to browse duty free. Spend a whole 30 minutes in WHSmith finding a book for your trip, another whole 30 minutes in the perfume and make up section with no time pressure to be anywhere but there, with yourself and your own wants and needs. It. was. blissful!
I then sat and drank a whole hot mug of tea and boarded the flight. I already felt like I was winning as a human at this point :)
Now some of you maybe reading this and thinking, dear God woman, don't try and tell me that you have not had a chance to have a hot cup of tea in 3 bloody years, that must be a lie! The thing is, it was not about the hot tea, it was simply the lack of interruption and the choice to drink it sat down, in the same seat with no one to talk to, no one who needed my help with anything, and not staring at a room in the house at toys that needed putting away or a floor that needed hoovering or dishes that I really should put in the dishwasher, or any of the other endless tasks that are involved in living as a family. This was topped with the feeling that I was not under a time pressure to get home for anything or anyone. It was true freedom.
After a comfortable, painless 2.5 hour flight, and private transfer by driver pick up, I arrived at Marinas home. A beautiful villa around 1 hour from Alicante in the area of Javea. The first thing I noticed was the pool, the second thing I noticed was the quiet. Oh the quiet. I can still "hear" it now. I shared a cup of tea with Marina and she asked me to take my time and settle in to my room. And so I was on retreat. I had no idea what the plan for the four days was as Marina likes to play things by ear to a degree and personally that appealed to me. It meant more freedom in my mind as there was no plan. All the planning and restriction was precisely what I wanted to escape, Marina knows this about her clients and there is no pressure to do or be anything.
As you can see from the images, the location is blissful, the villa perfect and space given to your mind and physical being out of this world. The four days were spent talking, eating, laughing, musing about the world, coaching, unpacking and repacking my life into neat order and the best bit is that I came away feeling ready. Ready for anything. My thinking has changed. I had shifted my perception of issues that I had held on to for most of my life including body image and weight concerns. Thoughts that have occupied my mind for decades have dissipated, I am calm, I am experiencing joyful moments daily, I am rested. And that is down to Marinas coaching, my bravery to jump on in despite the feelings of anxiety and guilt when saying yes to the retreat, and the physical and mental space being away creates.
I can only describe the whole experience as life changing. Seriously. It is my intention to travel to Marina for retreat next year and to certainly prioritise myself in my daily life more often. I will do this guilt free as I now am proof that taking time for yourself makes you a better mum, wife and general human being!
Anyone interested in working with Marina or going on retreat please do get in touch with me via the facebook group and I can give you the full lowdown. It really is a game changer ladies!