Every year I plan a weekend away for our Hot Mamas in Tofino, BC. It’s our annual Yoga/Surf Retreat and 2016 was our 4th time out. We seem to do a better and better job of planning the retreat with every year and this year I came away from the event with no question as to whether the Mamas had a good time or not. Their smiles, sighs, grunts and energy spoke volumes all weekend.
Getting to the weekend, however, was no small feat. It seemed that with every step I took, something was trying to pull me away from actually being able to go. The weekend had been planned for months, but the week before an event is…well…just a bit hectic. Checking, double-checking, triple-checking hotels, activities, workouts, travel, gifts, etc…it’s a lot. On top of that, my husband had surgery a week before we left. And, not a small surgery, a pretty major one. Recovery didn’t go as smoothly as we’d hoped and he spent 5 extra days in the hospital. My house was hit by a demon flu that took us all down (except my daughter who apparently has iron guts). But no matter…I forged ahead. I will overcome. Then our fish died. I’m not kidding…really universe? REALLY?
Oh…and the Friday we were to leave was a Pro-D day! What the heck?! Kids at home, too?! With a husband just out of the hospital?! GAH! Okay…quick mad scramble to get the kids taken care of so my husband (who got home from the hospital the night before) could rest for the day (thank you to my amazing neighborhood friends!) and playdates organized as much as possible for the weekend so he can rest. Phew. Okay. I’m gonna make it!
When you organize an event, the night before you leave is always ridiculous. Little things pop up and apparently if you’re me, you decide it would be a really nice extra treat to make 4 batches of homemade Larabars to add to the gift bags because…well…a personal touch goes a long way. And, I needed to make them super peanut buttery and chocolatey because one of the Mamas coming can’t have peanut butter at home because of allergies and she LOVES peanut butter. So…that’ll be a super nice treat!
Midnight before the event and I’m madly organizing gift bags and wine because there should always be gifts upon arrival to a weekend away for Mamas who never take time for themselves! I had #hotmamastrong hand-stamped silver bracelets, Hot Mama tanks, pink and black gloves, the damn homemade Larabars, peanut butter cups (obviously) and of course, a bottle of wine. YAY!
The morning of departure: all organized and ready to go! Phew! We were Tofino-bound. In a torrential downpour. But…we made it. And when we got to Tofino, the skies cleared, the air warmed and it was a gorgeous afternoon.
25 Hot Mamas began their weekend with a workout on the beach. The sun was shining, the Mamas were swearing and my heart was filling. You see…I love teaching. It is what I’m meant to do in this world. When I teach, my soul sings. During that first workout, I found me again. There is just something about women, sand, burpees and sweat that fills me up. The energy these women brought to their weekend away was incredible. Everyone was ready to let go of everything at home and just experience the weekend. And what a gift to give yourself!
After that first workout was free time, dinner and then our first of three yoga classes. Our yoga instructor, Andrea Ting-Letts, is magic. There is no other word for her. The light around her, the energy she gives out, the positivity she radiates…you can’t do anything but embrace and love her and her yoga practice. It was delicious. All three classes were delicious. First class was an hour long guided stretch…with wine. Yes, we all brought wine to class. Second class was scheduled for after surfing and was an “Assisted Nap” and was possibly the most luxurious hour of the weekend. Our final yoga class was (early) Sunday morning and energized us for the rest of our day. See? Andrea is magic.
Alright…back to the play by play. On Saturday we started our day with a workout…because what better way to start a day?! And then it was breakfast (read bacon) and then surf time!
I loooooove surfing. Now, I’m not great at it, but if you were to ask me what my favorite moments are during this weekend I will always, ALWAYS say it is looking around at all the women surfing and seeing nothing but smiles. Seriously. Big, huge, white, amazing, brilliant, beautiful smiles. Everyone. Every. Single. Person. Now that energy? That’s amazing. We have lessons with Surf Sisters, an amazing company in Tofino that I would highly recommend for your surf lessons. And, although it was a little chilly (read really friggin’ cold) while we got the lesson, once we hit the water it was nothin’ but laughter, smiles, effort and joy.
Small shout-out to one of our Mamas who is quite fearful of the water…and ROCKED her surfing. Putting yourself outside your comfort zone and kicking fear in the face? Well…that deserves a massive amount of pride…I hope you cover yourself in that pride for months to come.
There’s also something so therapeutic about the ocean. I’m not sure whether it’s the waves and it’s power literally kicking the s**t out of you for hours on end, or if it’s the physical effort involved, but when you finish surfing, you seem to feel “cleansed”. All the troubles, all the worries, all the angst gets washed away. It’s so awesome.
The rest of the weekend is a blur of wine, walks on the beach, lazy hours staring at the ocean, silly conversations with incredible friends, yoga practice, delicious dinner (minus the jello dessert…what the f**k was that?!), sparklers, hotel room shenanigans (not the dirty kind…jeez!), dancing (for some) and a lot of laughter and love (for all). Le sigh. Perfection.
We finished our weekend away Paddleboarding with Pacific Surf Company. The lesson they provided was great and got us out and on our boards quickly. Now, it was a little “swelly” out there and some of our Mamas just weren’t feeling it. I’ll recommend that you try paddleboarding on a lake in the future because there really is something exquisite about being on the board. The rest of us, well…we got out there and paddled around on the big ocean blue. Rainbows came out to play, the sun beamed down on us and the magic of the ocean was once again brought to us. Thank you, universe. Mad respect.
And then…it was over. Just like that, the weekend was over and it was time to get back to reality. My hope is that all of the Hot Mamas who joined us for our weekend away in Tofino had a magical time. I hope that you have memories that you will laugh about for years to come. I hope that you took the time you deserve to sink into yourself and honor all you do and all you are. I hope that you slept. I hope that you got to rest. I hope you laughed and loved and cheered and honored one another.
Most of all, I hope this weekend was a reset for you. I hope that you feel rested and energized and ready to conquer anything and everything you want to conquer. Thank you. To all of you who were a part of this past weekend, thank you. Your energy, love and humor have brought me back to me and I am so grateful. I hope to see you next year…because oh yeah…you bet your sweet buns there will be a next year! Bigger and better than ever before!
See you there?!