This is for my mama
If you Google "writing retreats" you get 24 million results. And if you told me at any point in my life up until now that someday I would host one of these, I would think you were nuts.
Who am I to teach people about writing?
Yet, in less than one month I will embark to my favorite house on the Oregon Coast to host my first 5-day journal writing retreat. Honestly, this feels like the culmination of my work.
How did this happen?
I was writing in my journal just a few days ago about this upcoming event; the ideas for each writing session are beginning to brim forth. And something surprising flowed through my pen—
If my mom was still here, she would be heading to the coast with me for this experience.
The inspiration for this retreat hit me almost a year ago. The last time I hosted a retreat outside of my coach training program was 2017. I was 2 days into that retreat when I got the call that my mom's cancer had had its way and her body was shutting down.
I was in a gorgeous oceanfront house on Maui. I was hosting an exotic location retreat. I felt like I'd made it. Except nothing could be further from the truth.
While my guests were having breakfast I was sitting on the bathroom floor literally telling my mom to hold on because our story wasn't done.
Because I was a 6 hour plane ride and a 3 hour time difference away from her.
Because I couldn't get there fast enough.
By the time I did get to her bedside she'd slipped into a coma she wouldn't emerge from. If I'd gotten on one plane earlier I would have gotten to say goodbye.
These 12 hours would be something I played in my mind on repeat for the next year. I tortured myself with this regret; something my mama most certainly would say, "Oh stop, you were right where you needed to be, don't worry so much."
Needless to say, I took retreats out of my calendar. A sort of penance I guess. I was truly content with this decision except for one tiny thing — retreat teaching has been my proudest creation to date.
Although I refused to look at this for almost 2 years, I wasn't done with retreats. However, like so much of my business—which has grown up since losing my parents—it was time to revisit what they really meant to me.
Retreat teaching isn't just about a relaxing vacation.
They aren't just about "getting away for a week."
They are about coming into even closer connection with yourself, and there is no better way to do this than in the journal.
Although I was so excited to host a retreat in Hawaii, my roots are here in the PNW. The cold, salt-aired, evergreen-lined beaches of the Oregon Coast. A place I grew up vacationing in the summer.
I mostly remember cold beach walks, even in the middle of August.
My mom used to keep a bag of M&M's in her coat pocket. I remember running around the beach with my brothers and cousins but always returning to her coat pocket for a chocolate treat. Perhaps she knew with those little secret weapons we wouldn't go very far.
Most of our summer vacation photos are either us on the beach or by the fire after the beach. Sand everywhere.
These are some of my most cherished memories, so it was only natural that when it came time to add retreats to my work I chose a place embedded in my soul with childlike wonder.
This will be my 9th retreat in just under 4 years. But this retreat is different.
Yes, we are embarking to this incredible house on the coast. And yes, one of my beach-bound cousins is our chef who has cooked for every single one of my retreats. And yes, there will be a fire crackling, wine flowing, and sandy feet galore.
There will also be journal writing. This is something I've had in my life since I was a kid. Something my mom taught me. Something she believed would one day be an important piece of my work. Like the daughter I am, I didn't believe her at first.
But alas, she always knew best.
So this retreat is for you, mama.
Thank you for the memories at the coast.
Thank you for the M&M walks.
Thank you for my first journal.
Thank you for being a writer and showing me I could be one too.
Thank you for believing in my work long before I knew how.
I wish I could share this return to retreats with you. But something tells me the nudge to do so was your idea.
In many ways, you'll be there as together we share something so special to us both with even more people who are ready to crack open their journal and let the magic of the Oregon Coast find a way into their soul.
If this is the retreat for you — please join us.
September 25–29th in Manzanita, Oregon.
Bring your journal, many pens, probably a hat, and get ready to have your heart cracked open in more ways than I can say. Oh, and we also recommend an empty stomach, for you are about to eat some of the best food of your life.
Book an upstairs private queen room with an ocean view
Book a downstairs private king room with a garden view.
Book a bunk on the lower level
You can also read everything you need to know about this experience here: www.andrealeda.com/retreat
To being brave,
If you need a payment plan please let us know! We are more than happy to make this a possibility for you.