Monday, June 14, 2010

The Big Retreat

Last week, things were SO crazy busy getting things ready for our Power of Moms Retreat that I found myself in tears and wishing I could just give up at a couple points.

But this Retreat turned out to be a truly magical weekend for everyone there - including me.  Sure, it was stressful being in charge of presenting quite a few sessions plus dealing with various hiccups with the facilities.  But as everyone arrived on Friday morning, this positive energy and beauty took over and I knew this was going to be an extraordinary Retreat.  

The presenters all did a fabulous job and complemented each other very well (it was especially fun to present with my mom and sister Shawni).  The agenda flowed even better than I'd hoped (ideas for taking care of "the person inside the mom" first then moving on to concrete ideas for effective family systems then capping it all off with tools for living lives with increased purpose and progress and decreased stress).  The setting was peaceful and lovely (and thankfully, the super hot weather of last week turned into perfect 70 and 80 degree weather for the two days of the Retreat).

But what really made the Retreat amazing was the feeling.

The energy, motivation and sheer goodness of the women who came made for a thick feeling of love and learning that permeated every part of the Retreat.  Every comment made and thought shared was inspiring.  During meal times and free times, everyone helped solve each other's problems and brainstormed wonderful ideas.  I came away seriously loving each and every woman there and wishing I could hang out with all of them for much, much longer.  It was hard to say goodbye!

Check out all the great photos on April's blog here.  My sister Shawni was the official photographer so she'll have some great stuff but she's in DC with her family right now so it may be a few more days on those photos.

During one of the last sessions, when I got to sit there as part of the group and listen for a while, I felt this welling up of hope and joy as I thought about the POWER of that existed in that room full of 35 valiant, motivated, deliberate mothers.  No matter how much bad stuff there may be in this old world, the goodness of a few great moms can create ripple effects that never end.  This quote came to mind:

"When I think of the heroism of mothers, I gather hope for poor humanity; and this dark world looks bright because, whatever else it is not full of, it is at least full of mothers."
-Charles Kingsley

At the close of the Retreat, we held a train-the-trainer session for those who wanted to replicate these sorts of events (workshops as well as full Retreats) in their own communities.  We had 6 people signed up for this session before the Retreat - but by the end of the Retreat, 11 women had decided to stay for the session and certify as trainers.  Now they can go forth and get these ripple effects going big time.

This weekend made the vision that April and I have for Power of Moms more real and imminent for me.  The stuff we've put together for Power of Moms WORKS.  I wish with all my heart that all moms could feel what we all felt at this Retreat.  So I'll keep doing all I can to make that happen! 

Here are a few quotes from moms who were at the Retreat, just to give you a few other people's thoughts on how things went:

"I'm leaving this Retreat not just with my fire lit but with it BLAZING!  I have a passion for my role as a mother and now an extreme desire to bring this to others.  I love the specific tools we got to implement all the great ideas...I feel inspired - truly inspired!"

"So enriching, enlightening, motivating and comforting!  Great to bond with wonderful like-minded mothers.  What a fabulous supportive atmosphere!"

"Amazing, empowering plus very useful and practical.  I can't wait to change my life and my family 
for the better.  It was everything I dreamed of and more.  I'm so excited to become the best me I can be."

"It was so enjoyable to be in an atmosphere of women who seemed to care about each other even before we knew each other's names.  Just knowing we had the common goal of wanting to be better moms made us immediately accepting of each other."

"I loved the chance to take a break and soak up true goodness."

"Truly life-changing."

"Fabulous, fabulous, FABULOUS"

"Awesome, rejuvenating, educational, motivating and also realistic."

So yeah, I'm feeling pretty happy about how things went!  Can you tell (at least a little bit) how amazing these women were from their comments?

This week, I'm excited to focus this week on my own motherhood and take a little break from so much Power of Moms work to enjoy my wonderful children more fully.  And I'm going to "take care of the person inside the mom" a little better too (I'm TIRED!).  I'm armed and ready after this last weekend!


dg darling said...

I agree Saren...It was FABULOUS!!!! Thank you so much for your hard work. I needed a break so badly and it was even more wonderful than I imagined! Now i have to deal with post Retreat Let Down but by golly, I will prevail! Thanks again!!!

Demand More said...

Saren, it was so amazing! Thank you so much for creating this awesome retreat, I know you and April worked so hard to pull this together.
It was so much fun meeting you and connecting with all those moms so again, Thank you!!!!

April Perry said...

I totally echo your sentiments. Thanks Saren!

Sarah said...

I can't wait to attend the next one!

Allyson said...

That about sums it up. It was pretty much one of the best weekends of my life! Thanks again for all your hard work to make it possible. Truly impressive!

valerie said...

Thank you Saren for orchestrating such an inspiring Retreat!
I came home ready to get my systems in place and start (baby steps) implementing Mind Organization for Moms.

So as you take a break from POM this week - you can feel assured your hard work changed lives.
Thank you (and April) so much!

You are amazing women.

Whitney Johnson said...


susan chapman said...

My husband asked me when the next retreat is going to be. He is amazed at the peace and productivity that has come from just 2 days. Thank you for the life altering changes on the way I look at motherhood and my life. I feel like a happier healthier me.

Jonah and Aja said...

that is so great that it went so well sabrin. what a gal you are!

we love you

Anita and Tal said...

Sounds like a big hit. Congrats!

Jennifer said...

I just started following you and your sisters blog and I just wrote her about how sad I am that I just missed this awesome retreat! I too am a mother of 5 in 5 years with my youngest 2 being twins as well. I've read your mom's book, "A Joyful Mother of Children" a few years ago and many of her teachings still have stuck with me. I really am so bummed I missed this retreat and hope I can make the next one! When will the next one be? I even live right outside of Vegas, what a bummer!


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