The GetRealLive Retreat 2019

What a journey.

It seems strange that only a few weeks ago we were deep in preparation mode – and now, we are on the other side. The 2019 GetRealLive Retreat welcomed a group of amazing women to Noonaweena, a beautiful secluded property in Kulnura.  Noonaweena is off the beaten track of the highway that runs down Australia’s east coast – between Sydney and Newcastle. The time away was absolutely stunning – to say the least. 

This retreat, like others we have hosted, was tailored to the people attending and the experience was personal for each person – including those who had returned from previous retreats. On that note, we were super grateful to have women that believed in us enough to invest again and return. It was special for us as we hold trust very close. 

People have asked why I run these retreats, a question that comes up every time we start the journey, and my simple answer is because they matter and people matter. We don’t often take time for ourselves to invest in self-care. Sometimes, we are more interested in our next Netflix series than we are with our own state of being. Over the years and through my own journey I have learned that there is incredible value in retreating and taking care of self. With that understanding I have done my best to create and hold space for others to dig deep and learn to embrace and live their True You.

In the immediate aftermath of the retreat, I received messages and appreciation posts from the women who attended. 

This was particularly humbling to see the response from those who were changed over the weekend. Some of them are below. This is truly a clear indication that in this busy, blindingly fast-paced world, there certainly is beauty in retreating. 

Thank you so much for a truly phenomenal weekend Susan! You took care of every detail so stunningly well. It will take some time to process all the wisdom that has been shared. Sleep well in the knowledge that you created a beautiful and safe space for so many women to start on – or continue – their journeys of transformational change. The impact of this weekend will be deep and enduring.

This weekend marked the beginning of a vulnerable and gentle journey of accepting this woman in the portrait as perfectly imperfect. For me, it marks a moment in time where I’m settling into my truest and most free self. One who knows she is unconditionally loved and can walk more confidently into the things that sit well with my soul instead of other people’s expectations or ideas of who I should be.

and a text from a husband of one of the women who attended…

“Sooooo I have a different wife now.”

By definition, a retreat (as a noun) is to move to a quiet or secluded place. 

So, we did exactly that. Leaving families behind even for a few days can be hard, but the purpose of our retreats is to see the importance and value on giving ourselves the space to recalibrate and be open and vulnerable in a safe haven surrounded by like-minded women.

Because of the very nature of retreating, we won’t go into details about our sessions and seminars, but it was a beautiful time away to rest and stop. Each woman that attends our retreat comes expectantly. They are here purposefully and are ready for the transformative processes that take place over just a few days.

As well as the powerful group sessions, we had a tight but very carefully planned schedule that included meditation and yoga, an art lesson to take time to participate in something entirely new and rewarding, as well as alone time to reflect on the day’s activities. We were cared for with beautiful meal plans and a space to gather at the table and share in the experience of just simply being with each other.

As we wrap up this retreat,  it is very exciting to let you know that we have booked another; May 15-17 2020. Some have already contacted me regarding interest in this and just, WOW. I am excited already. Please see the link below to read further and apply now!

A few thank yous are in order. Retreats are certainly a team effort.

To the retreat team. Philip, Rowena, Jane, Jess and Caitlin. None of this would have happened without you. Thank you for each individual effort and role you played on the weekend. Forever grateful to have a kind and supportive group of people around me in this.

To Julie, and the team behind the scenes at Dinner on the Table. Your handiwork and food creations were absolutely stunning and mouth-watering, and we were so well-nourished all weekend. We look forward to working with you in the future. The menu was so thoughtfully planned out. These guys are definitively highly recommended if you need a caterer! GetRealLive loves to support any social enterprise that we can, and these guys do a fantastic job giving back to their Sydney local community.

To Rod and Simone and those at Noonaweena.We loved the time in this beautiful place, thank you for lending us this sanctuary and to look out across the mountains made our weekend all the more beautiful. The spa was well-loved, we were able to use the bushland for both peaceful contemplation and exploration as well as firepit storytelling. We have already started to plan our next retreat around the same location. We can’t wait to return.

Until next retreat, I hope you will join us. If you are here because you’re interested in our next retreat, please click below to see the retreat page for all the important information. 

Susan.


Chapter Three: Why Do I Feel Alone in a Hyper-Connected World?

Chapter Three is the one that I knew had to be in the book. Many of the women who interviewed with us spoke about loneliness and the disconnect they were living. Hearing their stories was painful. There were times I wished I could gather them all around my table and let them know that ‘I see you, I know you and I’m with you’ (something we say to one another at The Gathering Cloud).

To be seen, known and heard is an amazing thing.

It speaks directly to our value and can carry us through so much.  How do we do this for one another? How do we actually ‘see’ ‘know’ and ‘be with’? I recall lessons I learned from my late father who was, in my opinion, one of the greatest communicators I’ve ever known and someone who placed value on everyone he met. He would remind me that more important than being interesting is being interested in others.  

A natural flow from being interested is that you are interesting and within that, there is a beautiful flow that happens.

A H2H, or Human to Human connection that can replace that feeling of loneliness or disconnection. Loneliness and disconnection is something we all experience at some time in our life. For some, it’s a more frequent thing and for others it’s occasional. Whatever the case may be, it’s very real and each one of us has the power to change it for another. I hope this chapter speaks to you and I pray that together we can be carriers of connection.

As we rest and sit in stillness and quiet may we discover how deeply connected we are? One to another, to the ground beneath us, the air around us and the planet we are part of.


Chapter Two: The Spin Cycle

This article is taken from excerpts from chapter two of my book. That chapter is called The Spin Cycle, and quite a few people I know and love have told me that this is possibly their favourite chapter in the book. WOW. People have been picking favourites. That’s really crazy to hear.  I invite you to stay connected as we endeavour to stop the spin cycle, kill comparison and all the other unhealthy places that we all find ourselves in.

If you have battled with comparison, and I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s hard to escape from it, please find comfort in Chapter 2. For more articles that address the reality of Pain, Comparison, Loneliness, Living in Pain stay on this journey with us. Thank you for all the love and support so far. It means the world.

I originally wrote the bulk of this article in February 2018. Back then my book was still cooking and now we have well and truly had the dinner party. No one has seen it until now.  But it’s ready for your eyes now.

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Women and the stories we carry

I’ve been thinking recently about what it means to be a woman. As many of you know my book is out. And through this writing process,  I have had the incredible privilege and honour to interview some of the bravest women I have ever met. Women who have shared their stories with me, their truth. They have trusted me with some of the most intimate parts of their life.

Whether it is the young mum who faced a cancer journey before her 30th birthday. Or the woman who in her 40’s realised that the life she had was crashing down in front of her. Maybe even the beautiful woman I chatted to who believes that she, just being herself, will never be enough for anyone to love.

 

 

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5 Things I learnt from writing a book

For years I was told to write a book, but what would I write about?

This seems like a very odd question, considering I have spent the better part of the last 20 years writing, blogging, creating and sharing content every day. So, for those of you who have a book stirring on the inside this is for you.

Before I begin, I remember someone once saying to me that all of us either have a book or a marathon in us. Some days I wished I had a marathon in me but alas my sneakers have remained intact and the written word captured my being. If I was asked for any advice about the writing journey it would be to really consider the marathon. Dig deep, go for a few runs, try it out because from what I have come to know is that having a book in you and sharing it with the world is no easy task and much like what I imagine the physical pains of a marathon would be, writing a book can cause havoc within your very core. Read on, dear one.

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My book has arrived and it’s not face cream!

The last 24  hours have been a whirlwind, and many of you have watched the video of me seeing my books for the first time. I’m still pinching myself. I actually can’t believe they are here. I can’t believe I’m a published author. And I can’t believe that I mistook a package that I thought were my books for face cream!

After that video was shot, I did my first radio interview about the book. I’m not even really sure what I said in that interview. I sincerely hope it was sensical. I guess I’ll have to wait until it airs and listen to it to determine my state of mind.

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How fear robs us of living free

For those of you who know me, I have spent a good portion of my life terrified of cats. I would go so far as to say I had a cat phobia. Sounds stupid, doesn’t it. Who is afraid of a cat? Me. Well, I was. I’m working on it!  But to be completely honest there is a bit inside of me that is still a little ‘unsure’ when I’m around certain cats. However, for the most part, I would suggest that my family and close friends have seen a transformation in me when it comes to cats and fear.

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Standing on the shoulders of giants

One of the chapters in ‘True You‘ is about standing on the shoulders of giants, by doing that we begin to live in our truth and allow our children to confidently stand on our shoulders.

The chapter is about being honest about what we’ve walked through and sharing our stories. Brene Brown says, in the Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted, that story is our way home and truth is our song. As challenging as this can be I believe it to be true. We need to tell our truths bravely because it is part of our stories.  We have to let it be our song rather than the thing that holds us captive.

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Chapter One: If the truth sets you free, why am I caught in lies?

Chapter One is a big one for me because like many of you (I’m sure) it’s something I’ve lived. There were times when I’ve been so caught up in lies, for the most part not really even knowing it, rather than braving it and living in my truth.

During the initial stages of the writing process I spent hours being reminded by David, my editor… to just start. His job was to get the bulk of my words out of me so we could start to formulate the book. David was masterful at doing this. He pushed and pulled my thinking in ways that challenged me. He listened to my words with intent and helped me formulate ideas. It was these thoughts which eventually became the chapters of the book.

Additionally, I’ve spent time with some of the most incredible women in my life and have helped them walk through. the narrow hallway that living caught in lies creates.

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