Realizing a Dream – Creating a Safe Place to Challenge Ourselves and Live Brave

What does it feel like when a Dream Comes True?

Last Sunday as I lay in Shivasana  in the barn at Willow Pond Lodge on Whidbey Island looking out at the blue sky and cherry blossomed treetops, I was overcome with a wash of gratitude so deep it made my toes tingle. It was the third and final day of my first Living Brave Island Retreat.

Leading a group of women through the work of Brené Brown and her Daring Greatly™ and Rising Strong™ curriculum was the culmination of 5 years of hard work, multiple trainings, lots of practice, detailed planning and a boatload of hopeful dreaming. And my vision of leading a weekend retreat was unfolding in the most lovely, perfectly- imperfect and  inspiring way that I felt awed and thrilled and deeply centered and overwhelmingly grateful at the same time.

This Brave group of women came to the Island to learn about what it means to live an authentic and whole-hearted life, one where they could go after their dreams and goals and still stay true to their values and integrity. A life where they could turn their disappointments and failures into fodder for growth and a recipe for new beginnings.

They shared their stories with one another in such vulnerable and compassionately tender ways. It humbled me and broke my heart open.



Bit by bit, as each story unfolded they rumbled with their grief. They supported each other in their pain.

They shared stories of overcoming hardship and the places they were still struggling.

They shared their successes and joys and also their dreams and plans and hopes for the future.

They took in the teachings of Dr. Brown and her 10 Guideposts for Whole-Hearted Living, challenging us to:

  • Lean into discomfort
  • Discover the truth in our stories
  • Identify our core values
  • And identify the beliefs that will guide us as we move into living with integrity and ultimately write our own brave endings

Challenging Ourselves in a Safe Place

We started by setting intentions and a safe container of confidentiality, expectations and boundaries for all to follow. We learned about what it means to rumble with our stories and confabulations- those perceptions and beliefs we tell ourselves that may or may not be true.

We challenged ourselves to imagine that if others are really doing the best they can, then what boundaries, communications and actions do we need to take to live with Integrity and generosity of spirit with those that are most important in our lives.

And finally we defined our most important values to guide us into living whole-heartedly and authentically with a specific plan for each of the 10 guideposts for Whole-Hearted Living. Things like:

  • Setting an intention to tell the truth with love
  • To treat ourselves with the same kind of compassion and care that we give to those we care most about
  • To use our values to guide our choices on a daily basis
  • And to let go of scarcity thinking and comparison and bring more joy, laughter, song and dance into our lives.

We made time for Art projects and hikes in the woods- we ate amazingly prepared organic meals- we laughed and cried and yoga’d ourselves into release and renewal, gratitude and joy.

(Join us in 2017 and save $100 if you join by April 7th!)

We supported each other’s dreams and hopes, we encouraged a good hard look at the truths in our stories- we empathized with the pain and cheered the successes and victories. We helped each other give voice to new beginnings and more hopeful endings.

We made a practice of truly living whole-heartedly and authentically with each other for 3 whole days- and for me it was a dream come true. And it left me with a feeling of gratefulness so big it filled my heart, tingled my toes and brought tears to my eyes. And it grounded a belief in me so deep that with hard work, determination, along with some essential support of mentors and teachers and soul sisters, as well as clear intentions- dreams can come true.

They did for me and they can for you too.

The thing I have come to understand about realizing your dreams is that every bit of the hurt and pain and struggle brought you to this place. This didn’t happen out of an idea alone. It began with one… but it was brought to fruition from a series of steps, a process, and lots of hard work, grit and determination.

I have come to believe in this process…

  • One where you can’t give up too soon
  • Where you find that sweet spot inside that calls to you and then you do anything you can to get there
  • Where you have some bad turns along the way… some dead ends… but you get back on the path and have faith in yourself and something bigger than you

And this is the important part here – I truly believe we are all connected to something greater than ourselves and when we align with that goodness, that’s when the magic happens. We then know we are on the right path. No matter how long it takes to get there, you’ll get there.

So how do you feel when you realize a dream? I felt full of awe for the magic, full of gratitude for the process and the people and the family and the travelers who joined me on this journey. And I felt content- like that big fat YES resonating in my soul.

And there’s one more thing I felt……. And that was tired. Dog eared, bone dead tired. But ready… ready for whatever dream comes next.

We’re having another Living Brave Island Retreat for 2017 – Learn more and join here: