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When was the last time you changed your mind about something?
Do you remember? Did it take only a second or was it a slow transition where one day you were eating blue cheese and you were like: "oh. Hmm. I finally see the appeal."?
When I saw this property, my dream property, magically appear in front of my eyes thanks to an unrelated Google search, my mind was solidly made up: this is just a dream. While every ounce of me vibrated with the synchronicity of the event, I couldn't help but see my own limitations. I read the property listing voraciously and carefully kept my eyes away from the price. Unfortunately, my eyes found it anyway and I felt my heart sink and soar at the same moment. The property is listed at around half a million. At the time, thanks to investing my savings into my retreat business, I only had about half a month's rent to my name. Now, in comparison to Toronto matchbox condos for the same price, this listing offered so much more, but all I had to offer, essentially, was a couple hundred dollars and my heart. I recognize how cheesy that sounds, but in this case, I mean it seriously.
My heart means business.
My heart has never let me down. When I listen to it, amazing things happen. I heard it say: WRITE. In fact, I felt compelled to reach out to the owner. I wrote him a long email (ha! I can't think of anything that I write that is short - my boss keeps diplomatically thanking me for my 'comprehensive' correspondence). I told him about the tears-at-first-sight reaction I had to the listing, thinking either he'll get it, or: this lady is absolutely crazy. I let him know that I had no money to make an offer, but was deeply moved and would he maybe consider being a resource - someone I could talk to in the future about the ups and downs of running a retreat centre? He wrote back, was moved by my email (thank God!) and said: "Sure!"
Nurturers, I thought that was it. I thought, yep - will write him back when I'm 60. I was wrong.
I think the Google Search Engine needed a mental health day that day and was taken over by the Three Fates, who had nothing better to do than to turn my world upside down and cackle.
That same Google inquiry of: "how to market a retreat" yielded an article that suggested I write each person from my email list personally, introducing myself. So, I did. I spent a long spring afternoon "Nancy Drew-ing" (sounds much nicer than 'creeping,' no?) the 25 people who had kindly signed up for my list so far and wrote them each a personal email. Three people responded.
One of these three was the founder of a local art therapy collective. She and I exchanged emails, chatting amiably about our mutual fondness for old houses and self care. We decided to continue the conversation in person and grabbed lunch at what has now affectionately been named: "Our Place."
In between bites of some of the city's best falafel, we shared about one another's lives. I heard about her practice and her family. She asked about my retreats and how they started. I told her about my girlhood dream of a creative farmhouse B&B and how I was trying it on for size by renting out a place up on Lake Simcoe for my Nurture: A Retreat offering. I half-giggled and jokingly said: "oh yeah, and I found my dream property last week." She wanted details.
I dove in, describing my intense reaction to seeing the photos, the details, the landscape, the way I envisioned filling the space with warmth, people, flowers, and food. How I knew in my bones exactly what to do to create a nurturing space for the population I felt compelled to serve: artists, entrepreneurs, and wellness professionals.
My new friend put a hand on my shoulder and said: "I'll stop you there."
She turned to me and said: "Sonja, a place like this has been my dream too. I don't want to own it necessarily, or run it, I simply want to have access to it and feel at home there. I want a place I can bring my clients where everything is looked after the way you describe. I'll invest!"
I thought she was kidding. I mean, we'd only just met. But she wasn't. She continued: "Sonja, I think there are others out there like me who need a place exactly like this and you have what it takes to build it. Go talk to your bank about a loan, maybe do some crowdfunding, find some like-minded investors and go for it!"
So, Nurturers, this is what I am doing. What is miraculous about this moment isn't only the fact that my new friend said she'd invest. The miracle was in the shift in mind-set from barrier to possibility. I changed my mind and the options transformed for me right in front of my eyes, as though in slow motion.
I remember saying to myself, amidst the 83,657 reasons that came up in resistant protest; from the depths of me where I keep the Big Truths: you are lovable enough to have this possibility be a reality.
And isn't that exactly what I feel called to help others get in touch with in my friendships, in my community, at my retreats and, in a big way, through this Nurture Creative Retreat Centre project?
To feel lovable and worthy enough to pursue what we are feeling called to do in relationship, vocation, & creative expression?
Yes, yes, it is.
And, thanks to the team of big-hearted, creative individuals that are gathering around this project, I now have a plan.
In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing with you a number of ways you can get involved, if you're feeling inspired, want to be a part of this initiative, or if you're in the enviable position of sitting on some funds you were waiting for the right fit for, I have options for all of you.
I'd also really love to hear what's going on with YOU! What are your big dreams? How can I help make them happen? What's currently standing in your way of the Big Truth that you, too, are lovable and worthy enough to pursue what makes you feel alive? Reach out, leave a comment or shoot me an email & let's make this journey together!
p.s. If you've read all the way to the bottom, thanks for sticking around! I wanted to make sure you got the 'comprehensive' version of what's up. ;) Subscribe via the form below to awaken to the next chapter of this adventure in your inbox each Monday morning.