Nurture.

creative sanctuary & self care for entrepreneurs via retreats & curated experiences

What to expect when you're not expecting your dreams to come true and they do.

Dear Nurturers,

I’m pregnant. With an idea.

I’ve been debating exactly how to break the news to you and the world at large that this thing that has existed inside me as a tiny spark has now been fanned with effort, love, attention and just the right amount of the miraculous to start showing in a way I can no longer ignore.

It’s still so fresh I worry the idea might miscarry. That I’ll phrase it wrong or that I’ll be misunderstood or, heaven forbid, be labeled a 'dreamer’ in the most derogatory of senses. That someone will laugh out loud (even virtually) at the idea and that that breath will dampen the spark. Have you ever felt this way?

The remarkable part is, no one has laughed at me yet.

Let me start at the beginning: my girlhood self baked mud pies to ‘sell’ in my woodland bakery, set out to ‘cool’ on a counter made by a corner of cedar rail fence underneath the big maple that held my tree house. I would carefully mix the muds to different consistencies so the batter could be baked by the sun, the icing would be wet and piped through my Play-Doh icing tube into whorls and ribbons and a sprinkle of sumac berries would provide colour. I reveled in providing a place for friends to feast on these delights and the ‘feel’ of my surroundings, the aesthetics, always mattered so deeply.

My friends have always said they feel so at home in the spaces I’ve created over the years: welcome, well fed, held, nurtured.

At some point in my early years, my fondness for old farmhouses combined with my fondness for the creative and culinary arts and I thought to myself: I’d love to buy an old place some day, fix it up, and operate it as a bed and breakfast co-working space for creative people. I pictured harvest table dinners with artists, playwrights, musicians, designers, entrepreneurs taking a break from working on their projects to gather around a feast inspired by the nearby garden. Community. Creativity. Connection.

I didn’t think that ‘someday’ would be now.

In my dream I pictured myself at 60, finally able to set aside enough money for a down payment for some neglected farmstead somewhere and it would be my retirement project. An old woman and her goats.

Instead, from a stars-must-be-aligned Google search this past May, I virtually stumbled upon my dreams.

Picture the following: it’s May 2016. I’m at work - a job that I adore. It is late in the evening and I am scrolling on the computer in front reception waiting for some students to come in for their curfew (I work overnights in a Residential setting). I am accompanied by a dear colleague and the no-nonsense security guard who sits to my left. I’m two weeks away from hosting my second Nurture: A Retreat and I’m in that familiar entrepreneurial space where I'm worried not enough people will sign up. I think to myself: maybe there’s something I’m missing. Some marketing approach I have yet to try. So I Google:

“How to market a retreat”

Google spits out a page or so of some articles that look promising and I click through some, keep scrolling to see what else is there. Not a lot. Simply pages and pages of real estate listings for retreat centres. I say out loud (yes, I talk to Google):

"Google, I have $300 in my savings account, I’m looking for last-minute help to fill my own retreat and you’re suggesting I buy property?!”

I kept scrolling, hoping for some article to be buried amongst the listings, but then a particular listing caught my eye. I saw it was near a town close to where I grew up. I was curious, so I clicked on the link and what happened next was incredible.

So incredible, that I involuntarily started what I can only describe affectionately as ‘heave-crying.’ I was so shocked & excited and emotional I was having trouble breathing and my colleague and the no-nonsense security guard, who were unaware of my discovery, thought something was terribly wrong.

I had difficulty phrasing it - the words came out in bursts between gasps and it felt like I had been given a gift so big I didn’t know where to put it in my heart.

“It’s...(Sob. Heave. Sob)..my…(breath squeak)...dream house…(tsunami of snot)...it really exists!!!!!...(insert the kind of crying I’ve only ever experienced before when some beloved movie character dies of cancer/finds their mom again/is reunited with their dog).

Nurturers, the photos on this website were the SPITTING IMAGE of the farmhouse I had dreamed about as a little girl and the property revealed itself to include all of the details I had so lovingly imagined.

  • 94 acres of organic farmland, meadows, pine & cedar forests
  • large heritage log farmhouse, c. 1905
  • another heritage log home, c. 1830 with the ORIGINAL HEARTH!
  • walking & cross-country ski trails
  • swimming pond with dockside fire pit with a circle of benches
  • large barn & several outbuildings including renovated hardwood floor yoga studio
  • three-season cabin & loft apartment in barn
  • two-story solarium dining area with harvest table looking out onto rolling hillside

It felt like someone had simply uploaded my dream onto the screen directly, no edits.

But how, you might ask yourself, does this story turn from “isn’t it lovely she found her completely unaffordable dream house online” (haven't we all..!) to me getting emails from my financial planner/doula (the lovely and inimitable Shannon Lee Simmons) with ‘Mortgage Broker’ in the title?

This is where life steps in. Life as it actually, really works.

Where I recognize that every difficulty and darkness and struggle has been perfectly timed to teach me the lessons and bring me access to the light inside that finds me now standing on the edge of this particular possibility. Where I am moved immensely by a wave of gratitude for all the support - for the words of encouragement and belief and yes, even the words of truth that at first were hard to swallow. Especially those. I will definitely need your help along the way, if you are willing to give it. It's not something I can, or want to, do alone, but it is something I MUST do.

Because you know what would be awful? Not trying.

I have betrayed myself before and I am never going to do that again. So, that means making this leap no matter what the outcome. To me, success is following the call of my heart and trusting that it will take the form it needs and Nurturers, the call to do this is STRONG.

I am so excited to share this journey with you as this project unfolds - I'll be posting weekly updates. Subscribe below so you can follow along and not miss anything, plus have inside access to info about upcoming retreats (like the very special one we've got planned for you in November!). There'll be photos, celebrations & honest sharing of the downs, and occasional Nurture recipes (for those of you who have been asking).

Next week on Nurture: Part II, where I tell you about the miraculous encounter responsible for changing my mind (not my pocketbook - yet) to make this dream a real possibility and the steps I'm going to take (with your help!) to get there.

Much love & some very deep breaths,

Sonja

©2016 Sonja Seiler. All Rights Reserved. Photos by Alyssa Wodabek Photography & Liat Aharoni Photography.