This week I had the most amazing time hosting individual Mamas' Retreats at a stunning venue in Prussia Cove, Cornwall.
I've tried to capture a little flavour for those of you that couldn't make it, to inspire you to take some time out for you today. Scroll on down for your very own 5 minute mamas' retreat, complete with birdsong and sea swell...
Ahhhh sunshine in May. This time of year is often the most heavenly time to visit Cornwall - there are less tourists around after Easter, prices haven't yet been hiked up, and the weather can be amazing.
You have the beaches and cliffs to yourself.
Our Prussia Cove location could not have been more stunning - this cove is where we got married ten years ago. A heart-swelling view of the sea, green cliffs and rolling hills, dotted with sheep, sweet-smelling yellow gorse and bright white daisies, the coastline of the Lizard stretching out beyond.
Waving tamarisk branches gently frame the smooth grey rocks below, perfect to laze on or swim off into the sea (needless to say, we didn't attempt that, the water is still pretty cold without a wetsuit, but I have several lovely friends who swam off those very rocks at the weekend in bikinis and loved it...)
Herring-gulls, gannets, kestrels (we even saw a rare Cornish chough) swoop by - while robins, swallows, and numerous curious small birds delight us with their song. As evening falls, bats begin to flit across the sky, dark shadows against the deep blue sea sparkling orange into the far distance.
We're alone, but not completely. A few rustic cottages sit in the valley below, their chimneys starting to smoke softly as the night draws in.
It was enough just to sit and look.
How often do we do that?
Breathing in the view, we could feel the weight of the world starting to shift from our shoulders - and slowly, a gentle awareness that we were part of something bigger, beautiful and precious, took it's place.
We sat and talked about life and motherhood, our hopes and dreams, over steaming cups of tea.
Our one to one sessions took these talks deeper, drawing on all I've learnt recently on my Mama Bliss Coaching course (and if you're interested in finding out more about that training programme, tell Kathy I sent you, I have loved it).
We held cool heart-stones and smoothed out crunchy leaves, dipped paintbrushes in guache and drew them gently across canvas. We wrote, stretched, and sat. We meditated, rested, watched the sea.
We sat in the sun to delight in eating mindfully together. Our dear friend and food genius, Kate, had cooked up some delicious health-giving soup and treats for us to share.
(Kate told me later that she had sent love and positivity through our orange and almond cake as she baked it - and you could definitely taste the goodness...)
The Mamas' Retreat was heaven as it happened.
And it was powerful beyond that - with impacts that rippled far beyond the day itself.
"Thanks so much again for yesterday, I feel so refreshed! I woke up feeling really good this morning. It was an incredible day and you are a very special lady!"
What a lovely email to receive the next day! I'd love to do the same for you one day.
These kind words had the added benefit of reminding me that I needed to take some time for me too.
Yes, I need Mamas' Retreats too. I need nurturing. We all do.
And so I headed back to The Haven on my own.
Blissful quiet. Copious amounts of tea, waves and beautiful swooping birds to watch. The skies were greyer, but the joy just as bright.
I spent time creating and imagining the future with my Leonie Dawson life and biz planner. I had a long call with my mum.
And another slice of that cake, naturally...
It was the precious rejuvenation that I needed too.
That time to myself. To pause and be reminded of who I am, and what I most need.
I nurtured myself so that I can be the mother I most want to be to my children, the wife I want to be to my husband, and the woman I deeply want to be in the world.
And I hope that this post about our retreats inspires you to take a little of that time for you today.
Because I know of so many mothers who wanted to join us this week, but couldn’t – due to last-minute illness, work commitments, the distance, the cost - all of these things get in the way of taking time out for us.
And perhaps the biggest block of all is the one that won't allow us to recognise that we deserve and need this time for ourselves.
And that it's OK to stop.
It really is.
You don't have to join a Mamas' Retreat to look after yourself - but you do need to look after yourself.
Embedded in a culture of busy-ness and constant activity, a to-do list that can never be done, it's hard to believe that taking time out for ourselves is 'productive' enough to justify - to ourselves as much as anyone else.
I've struggled so much with this idea too.
In fact, that's what started me on this journey to Story of Mum, to Mamas' Retreats, to creating a space for mothers to pause, connect and create.
I craved a space where we could rekindle our identities, have our hopes held, release some of the stress and guilt we feel, and coax our deeper dreams into being.
And I'm doing all this for myself as I do it for you.
I know how hard it is. And how vital.
And how I wish I could have held so many more of you in this space this week.
So, especially for those of you who wished that you could join us at Prussia Cove but couldn't, for whatever reason - I recorded a 5 minute mamas' meditation there, complete with birdsong and the sound of the sea crashing on the cliffs below...
I hope you can allow yourself this five minute gift.
Putting a meditation on you tube is something that I've never done before, and I have felt pretty nervous about sharing it...
But I so deeply want this joy and space for you too - even if it's just five quiet minutes of your day. And so I pushed through that awkward feeling of "who am I to share a meditation?" and here it is.
So find somewhere quiet to sit and listen. Take a pause from all the doing. Breathe.
And most importantly, remember that you are enough.
I really hope that it will feel almost like you really were there with us, for five minutes anyway.
Let me know if it works...
Our location was stunning, yes. But the most stunning changes can happen in the most pedestrian of places.
In the quiet.
It doesn't really matter where you are.
It only matters that you pause and believe that you are worth some time. Because that can deeply transform how you feel, how you parent, and how you pursue what you most hope for.
Take a break to reflect and create and connect, with us:
If you'd like to find out more about our Mamas' Retreats, head over here.
We can host a virtual retreat at your home or another lovely venue you choose, shape a blissful individual or small group retreat just for you and your friends or colleagues in Cornwall, or you could come and join us for a mid-sized group Sunday Morning Mamas' Retreat in Penzance.
If you'd like to host your own retreat for your mama friends, you might like our fabulous DIY Mamas' Retreat Kit, a digital kit that contains everything you need to host your own - invitations, a hostess guide, printable treats, videos, inspiration and more...