Reflections on The L.E.A.P. Retreat March 2023
Today is the Full Moon in Libra, following 4/4, a powerful day for intention setting & manifesting and I find myself with so many reflections that need to finally be released and shared regarding my second spiritual wellness retreat here in Caye Caulker, Belize.
As I learned from my inaugural retreat in May 2022, it usually takes about a month (if not a little more) to fully process all of the emotions, feelings and reflections from this experience and today, I find myself in a space where I can now properly articulate all of my feelings and reflections from my second retreat.
In short, the second retreat here in my new home of Caye Caulker, Belize was absolutely incredible. It was everything I’d intended for this experience, for myself as a hostess and for the 24 beautiful Black women who joined me here for healing, transparency, authenticity and sisterhood. We laughed, we cried, we held space for each other energetically, we held each other physically and we celebrated everything that it means to be uniquely different Black women. We celebrated our mutual strengths, our vulnerabilities, our pain, our triumphs and everything in between. 25 women (myself included) came together as perfect strangers and left as sisters and because of that, I am confident that I visualized, strategized and executed yet another successful, sold-out retreat.
I wanted to share some of the differences from this retreat experience as compared to last year's because not only did we obviously have a different group, but I also felt entirely different going into my second retreat.
Last year, my family and I had only been on the island for 2 months before launching our inaugural retreat whereas this year we’d been here for almost a year before launching our second. This year, I had a different sense of pride in welcoming these women to my new home because CB & I had been really committed to spending the past year forging so many of our own relationships with local vendors and businesses that were integral in making us feel completely at home. As such, we were way more intentional this year about integrating their offerings into this year's retreat experience as a way of showing our gratitude for everything they've done for my family and I since our transition to the island last year. This being said, unlike last year, ALL of the goodies included in the girls’ grab bags (body butters, journals, incense, etc.) were purchased directly from local vendors either on Caye Caulker or San Pedro, Belize.
Full transparency, another difference about this year's retreat was that I was surprisingly a little more nervous about hosting because since the last retreat, I’d gotten really comfortable practicing the art of spiritual solitude and aside from a few nights out and a few times that family/friends came to visit, for the most part, I spent a lot of time on the island to myself or with my family. I was a little nervous about communing with such a large group again; particularly with a group of women I’d never met (aside from 3 veterans who returned from our May retreat last year). Perhaps I’d be awkward this time around, nervous or over-protective of my energetic space? These were all questions running a million miles a minute this time as I prepared to host this experience.
Contrarily, despite being nervous about communing with such a large group, I knew that I wanted to intentionally connect with every single woman who’d committed to this experience. My social media platform has grown exponentially since the last retreat, so I was also nervous about how much my participants who actually want to connect with me given that so often “influencers” are put on a pedestal which sometimes inhibits a person’s ability to genuinely connect with them. I didn’t want any of the ladies to see me as anything more than a free Black woman who has navigated some of the darkest moments in her life by tapping into her inner divine goddess and healed in such a way that she’s manifested a beautiful marriage, motherhood and this most beautiful life on a magical island off the coast of Belize. Forget social media, the interviews, the features, etc., I just wanted to be seen as Bree Brown, a wife, a mama and a healer. Regardless of my followers across various social media platforms, I also didn’t want my participants to see anything but just ME and hoped that they would feel comfortable in their own time, connecting with me on a deep, intimate level because as much as they could learn from me, I too had so much to learn from them.
Last year, I centered so much energy on hosting and curating this retreat experience, that my responsibilities as a mother became somewhat of an afterthought. We have an incredible babysitter on the island who had offered her assistance throughout the entire retreat in 2022 so we definitely used her as much as possible. This year, however, muchhh deeper into my motherhood bag than last, I allowed my children to be as much a part of this experience as possible because as proud as I am to be a retreat hostess, I am equally proud to be a mother to two little spirits who contributed deeply in the initial conceptualization of this experience in the first place.
Despite all of the aforementioned differences (and a number of others), what I loved most about this retreat experience was the fact that we had such a diverse group of women. They varied in ages, professions, hometowns, and so much more and although initially I was nervous about how well they would all connect with each other, what proved to be true is that despite all of our differences, the one singular thing that connected us all was our most profound intention of connecting with our Highest Selves…with each other.
Everything I'd been nervous about; fear of the girls not wanting to connect with me or my fear of not being able to connect with them after months of solitude proved to be a complete waste of energy because what happened between the women in this group was nothing short of pure (black girl) magic. Not only did our Queens heal from the inside out, not only did their inner children run free & wild along the shores of this paradise island, not only did we laugh ourselves to tears and share stories that also invoked a tearful release, but 25 African-American women met for the first time as strangers...and left Belize as sisters.
...and like last year, we have the matching tattoos to prove it.
Deep gratitude to each of the women who came here for this experience. Thank you for trusting me with your hearts, your spirits and your deepest vulnerabilities. Thank you for your transparency, your wisdom, your authenticity and your beauty and I surely do hope that Spirit aligns to bring you back to this place of sacred peace soon!
Check out more photos from our March 2023 retreat by clicking the link HERE!