Guest Post: Desire Map Retreat January 2018
In the interests of full disclosure, I am Leila Williams, Louise’s assistant, and I attended The Desire Map Retreat in January 2018 with the intention of providing support to Louise and to help in any way that I could over the weekend. What I didn’t expect was for it to have such a profound an effect on me and on my business and on my life in general.
In the run up to the retreat I was so nervous. As a virtual assistant I had been working with Louise for less than a month and although we had talked on the phone and over the internet, I had never met her in the flesh and here I was about to go away with her, a new client, for a whole weekend. I so desperately wanted to make a good impression and I was worried about my nerves getting the better of me. The weekend of the retreat was being held on my father in laws birthday, who had passed away very suddenly at the end of 2015 so there was a lot of emotion bubbling away that I was trying to keep under control so that I could do my job properly.
And truly, it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Spending the weekend with a group of inspirational women in an incredible location, I left feeling so connected to myself and what I wanted from my life. Make yourself a cuppa, get a comfy seat and let me tell you more about the weekend because honestly, if you get the chance to attend one of Louise’s retreats, you should grab it with both hands!
We arrived on Friday afternoon after driving down to Sussex from Richmond. Luckily it was still light so we had no problems spotting the signpost for Tilton House. Previous years have seen Louise driving through giant puddles in a Smart car and one attendee having to get her car pulled out of a muddy field by a tractor! After everyone got settled in, we headed to the library for our welcoming ceremony and by the roaring fire, we added our treasures to the altar and lit candles for the space.
We then had a delicious vegan dinner with a glass or two of prosecco, where we all got to know each other better. We all were ready for an early night in anticipation of the full Saturday ahead of us. I had a gorgeously cosy bedroom in the main house where I was able to do some prep for Saturday’s workshop before snuggling into my comfortable bed for a restful night's sleep.
We started Saturday off beautifully with dancing in the conservatory as the sun rose. Louise would have usually used the on-site yurt for this, but that wasn’t really practical for January! I’m a big fan of dancing to get in the right mood so this was an exercise that I really enjoyed. We had a few problems getting the bluetooth speaker to work, but this was quickly resolved by putting Louise’s phone into a big glass vase! DIY speaker done! :D As is usual when dancing in a group, it can start off feeling a bit awkward, but it wasn’t long before we were all moving around the room, enjoying the connection with the music, with our bodies and with each other.
After a tasty breakfast and refreshing showers, we were all ready to head back to the library to get on with the real work and we started by letting go of the things that were holding us back. Louise helped us to challenge our limiting beliefs and to see the truth of what was really happening, so we were clear and ready to move on with the defining and creating of what it is that we really want.
There was such a beautiful feeling of love and support in the room. Of course, everyone who attended the retreat had a reason for being there themselves, but that did not stop them from supporting and sharing with others. Louise brought together such an amazing group of women, I felt that we formed a real sisterhood. When someone shared their experience, others would recognise that feeling or experience in themselves and it was so powerful.
I don’t want to have to mention every meal time, but the lunches were definitely my favourite! When we came into the kitchen for lunch, there was a big pot of soup keeping warm on the gorgeous red Aga and a selection of salad and dips, and cake! MMMMMmmmmm, just thinking about the food has my mouth watering! I’ve been on retreats in the past where I have been desperate for a bacon butty by Sunday (shhh don’t tell anyone!) , but the food at Tilton House was so filling and nourishing, I didn’t miss meat at all and I didn’t even need any snacks during the day, and I do love a snack!
Back in the library, we worked on our Core Desired Feelings and Louise helped us get really clear on exactly what it was that we wanted. With the fire blazing, it was a such a strengthening afternoon and allowed us to really connect with ourselves on a deeper level. I wish I could properly describe just how empowering it felt, but I can’t seem to find the right words. At one point, I did tell Louise “it was so beautiful that I could cry.” And that’s really how I felt.
We had another wonderful evening meal with engaging conversation and lots of laughter. As someone who works on their own a lot, it was wonderful to be around the table with a group of intelligent women discussing all sorts of topics and it solidified our bond before we got changed into our swimming costumes and made the mad dash in the rain out to the sauna! Oh it was exhilarating!
By the time I got into bed on Saturday night I was at Epiphany Central! All the things I had been questioning or worrying about started to make sense and I was able to work out the solutions or how to move forward. I was trying to write everything in my journal but the thoughts were coming so thick and fast and I didn’t want to miss anything! Eventually I put the journal down and drifted off to the best sleep I’d had in a long time.
Sunday was another glorious day to wake up to with more delicious breakfast and lots of cups of tea. Then we got to work on creating our goals with soul, so we could feel our Core Desired Feelings. We shared them with each other and supported each other, we danced, we sang, we went outside in our bare-feet, basically we had a wonderful womanly time and I think everyone would have liked to have spent even more time at the stunning Tilton House with the amazing Louise George.
I can see the effect that attending Louise’s Desire Map Retreat is having on my business; I am procrastinating less, I am more confident in the decisions that I am making, I’m not looking for approval so much, I’m communicating better. Even my mum has noticed! Of course, it’s an ongoing process so I can’t wait to attend the next #SoulFire event.
And I also have to say that during a lot of the workshop, I was taking photos and videos etc so I wasn’t fully participating in all of the exercises. I can only imagine how much more I would have gotten out of the experience if I had been taking part in everything. Like I said, my intentions at the start were to support Louise and the group and to do my job, I did not expect to have experienced such a shift in my own thinking and I think that says a lot about Louise as a coach and as a person.
Louise has been busy arranging more events for the next few months; There's a SoulFire Sessions Live event on 16th February 2018. A one day workshop in a gorgeous boutique hotel in Richmond, where women will gather together to fully step into their power and purpose. It's going to be incredible. And Louise has just confirmed another Desire Map Level 2 Retreat back at the stunning Tilton House in Sussex on 27th - 29th March. I would love to see you there!
Thanks for reading and feel free to ask me any questions in the comments!