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.


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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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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Inside the Quiet.

Like many people, I have tried over the years to stick to New Year’s resolutions and promises made to myself.

Like most, inevitably I fail a few weeks into the year. Whether it be my bad habits, the desire to shift some unneeded weight, the year I learn a new language or start to paint. The only resolution that I hold onto seems to be the one that promises I won’t do it. Resolutions, for whatever reason, have not worked for me.

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The Story of You – Discovering Your Identity

Have you ever wondered who you are? Have you ever found yourself pondering your purpose and where you fit in? Maybe you have you watched others walk with direction and confidence whilst you question what part you have to play? Have you considered how good it would be if life were like a play or a movie? Everyone cast in their ideal role, confidently delivering faultless lines and perfectly portraying every aspect of their character. Confusion eliminated. Do you wonder if people around you actually know what they are doing, or are they just making their way in the world as best they can?

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When Dreams Conflict and Collide

she-1I’m 44 and I feel like my life has just begun. How is that possible? I have three children, I have been married for 20 years and I have had a fulfilling career. However, the excitement, the desire and the drive that I find within feels more like it did in my twenties. What is this and where does this come from?

Allow me to reflect. I am a dreamer and I believe that, in the seemingly impossible, the possible can be found. I know that small steps will always lead to big steps and achievements. I’m a perpetual optimist and choose to dig deep and pull out the gold within, whether it be personally or in relation to others. I’m not afraid of hard work, nor rejection, for both are part of life and understanding that at an early age promises to rid one of burdens that can tend to hold us back. I choose to let challenging things like, rejection and hard work, fuel me rather than rule me.

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The Ordinary into the Extraordinary

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At the end of this month, Philip and I will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. I can hardly believe it’s been two decades since we said ‘I do’, and if you include the on-and-off dating before that, we’ve pretty much been together for 25 years. We met when I was 19 and he was 21.Read More


A Cup of Warm Milk

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So I’m sharing this article today simply because one of my readers had remembered this article and she shared how it had touched her. She asked if I would repost it so here we go…. I hope you enjoy!

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Everyone Has a Story

This a story that has made its way around the globe. I’ve talked about it countless times on my radio show and to family and friends. I’ve been reminded of it countless times. Why? Because we all desire wholeness in our lives.  And personally,  I think all of us can see a piece of ourselves in these events. After sharing this, I was asked to write my story, so I hope it makes its way into the right places.

The story is simply about a day in my life. A day that I know will stay with me forever.

I was at the supermarket doing my weekly shop. Normally, I am a very interactive shopper. I like to know what’s going on around me and I truly enjoy the supermarket experience. I go down every aisle because it is a time and space in a busy day to simply roam perhaps a little aimlessly. I love it! Today was slightly different for me, I was extremely focused on the job at hand. I was stepping outside of my culinary safety box and cooking something new for our dinner guests. So, with cookbook in hand I was charging through the shops focusing on my recipe and my trolley. Normally I would greet my fellow shoppers with a friendly ‘hello’ and a smile. Not today.

After making tracks through the supermarket, I made it to the checkout.

As I began to place my purchases on the sliding belt and the cashier scanned each item, I felt a sense of satisfaction. I had found almost everything I needed. I had completed my shop in record time which meant time for a relaxing coffee before the cooking began. I stood patiently, waiting for my transaction to end, smiling at the man who was doing his best to pack my groceries. Whilst I was at the checkout and daydreaming about my coffee and thinking about my impending culinary extravaganza. I turned to discover someone had joined my line. It was a man who appeared to be homeless, he would have been in his late 30s or early 40s.

His hair was matted, his clothes were very dirty and he carried a horrible stench. Sadly, his smell was so strong that it invaded almost the entire front of the store. As my groceries came to an end he began to delicately place his purchases on the sliding belt.  I can’t remember exactly what he was buying but I do recall it surprised me. His groceries, would have probably cost around $10. I stood, riveted to the floor, my feet wouldn’t move. My heart began to beat a little faster, my internal temperature increased. It was that feeling that maybe some of you get when you’re about to hear that ‘small voice inside’ speak loud and clear. That’s exactly what happened.

I heard that voice say, ‘pay for his groceries’.

I know many, if not most of you reading this story are familiar with that voice. We all hear it. Call it your conscience, call it the Universe but I call it God and I know that voice. It’s the voice that can warn me, caution me, motivate me…. so many moments I have heard that voice. Anyway, back to the story. I immediately began a debate in my head that went something like this: “What if he gets offended? What if he freaks out on me? How embarrassing, what if, what if.” I argued with myself for so long that others had joined the line. Again, I heard the voice say, “Will you not humble yourself to do something that will change a life? Have you not asked to be my hands and feet? Pay for his groceries.”

Being stubborn, I attempted to ignore the voice and my instincts.

I was becoming more uncomfortable. My internal temperature was raging like hot molten lava and my heart was beating faster. I was shifting from side-to-side. I knew what to do but I couldn’t step over my pride or fear to do the right thing.

My transaction was complete. As the kind cashier put my last bag into the trolley,  he said, “thank you miss, you have saved $16.00 today.”  I quickly realized that my savings (thanks to my supermarket club card) were greater than the homeless man’s entire bill. My heart sank. I had missed the moment. My internal temperature began to cool down, my heartbeat began to slow down and my head hung low.

Offering to pay for his groceries now would be awkward. I couldn’t add it onto my bill. I would have to stand and wait and there would be an uncomfortable silence. The excuses stacked up and I began to convinced myself that maybe I didn’t hear that voice,. Maybe I made it all up. I knew better, I knew I had missed a chance to ‘be the change I want to see in the world today’!

I wheeled my well-packed trolley to the exit and left with a horrible sense of sadness.

The sadness of walking away from a missed opportunity, is also associated with letting your pride stand in the way of the good we are offered to do. As I walked toward the exit, consoling myself I heard a well-spoken man calling out after me. “Excuse me Miss, excuse me Miss”. I turned around expecting the friendly cashier but found the homeless man with the matted hair and dirty clothes. He handed me my supermarket club card, explaining I had dropped it and he wanted to make sure it was returned.

Now, take a moment and allow me to paint a picture for you. This man had captured everyone’s attention through his looks, stench and the concern of him  generally perusing the shelves. Now he was following and calling out to me as I exited the store. Imagine, the fellow shoppers looking on, the store security almost ‘at the ready’. Can you see it? Can you hear the gasps and the looks of concern?

At that moment, I heard the voice again say, “here’s another chance.”

I ignored it and stood at the entrance saddened by my weakness. The well-spoken homeless man returned to the cashier to complete his transaction. I stood, once again, riveted to the spot. I was scared but desperate to BE in the moment, desperate to step over ME.  I was the only thing that stood between doing the good and the right and walking away and missing the opportunity to be a blessing. Finally, something within me broke and I began to rise up on the inside. What was happening, courage was taking the place of fear. Pushing it out like a storm within.

I began to hope that the man would take the same exit as me and silently prayed for a third chance to make a difference. I prayed that this courage I felt, this strength within would help me live beyond myself at that very moment.

Before I knew it, the homeless man was behind me ~ he had chosen the same exit!

He said, “I hope you don’t mind that I chased after you with your card.”
I looked at him and said, “No, thank you so much.” I paused and then continued the conversation, “How is your day going?”
He locked eyes with me and replied, “Not very good, it’s hard being homeless.” The conversation continued as we walked to the car park.
“You took a risk in there running after me to give my card back and now it’s my turn to take a risk with you,” I said.
“When we were standing in line I believe God spoke to me and told me to pay for your groceries. I ignored him because I was scared.”
His eyes remained locked on mine. He told me, “Everyday I ask God for direction, I wasn’t always homeless you know. I used to live in a nice area, I grew up there, I had a good job, life was great. Things just went wrong and life changed very quickly but I know I won’t always be homeless.”

I listened to him and was moved with compassion.

Our conversation continued and I said, “You’re in this space right now but God wants you to know that this isn’t how your life will end, that there is more and this isn’t forever.”
He replied, “It’s Angels like you that give me hope and today I needed hope. I just spent my last dollars on those groceries.”
I asked him if I could help him and he replied, “If you would like to – I want you to know that I’m homeless but I don’t do drugs, a lot of homeless people do but I’m just not one of those.”
At that moment, I believed him about the drugs but you know even if that isn’t the truth, God is in control and He orchestrated the entire encounter.

I asked him his name and introduced myself to him. I told him I would pray for him, that I knew God was going to do something great in his life and that he needed to hold onto hope and have faith. He extended his hand to shake mine and I was thinking, “Oh no, I don’t want to shake.” Again I heard the voice say, “Shake his hand well, place value on him.” I extended my hand and said, “God bless you and have the best day today.” He said the same and we parted ways.

When I made my way to my car and instantly began praying for him, I almost buckled over in tears. I felt such a huge burden for him. I cannot claim that I know how his story ends or how his life will change. But I know through God’s creativity this homeless man’s life can become what it was meant to be.

Today, I walked away from an opportunity to make a difference. But I believe I was given a second and third chance and I chose to do what was right.

I ended up giving him all that was in my wallet. Not a lot to most, but a fortune to him. Who knows what will happen in his life. All I know is that I’ve asked to be God’s hands and feet on this earth. Today I had the opportunity to speak into a hurting life. I realise now more than ever that on either side of our obedience there are people who will be affected forever.

My friends can attest to the fact that I always say EVERYONE HAS A STORY. I learned that from a great man … my dad. I believe that as we walk through life it is our responsibility to pull back the layers of our stories. When we do this we discover the gold that is within each one of us. Try to look beyond what you see. There is a why behind every what. Thank you for reading this simple story. I ask today that you say a prayer for this homeless man, my friend whose name is Sean.

Susan

Original date January 14, 2010. 


The Red Plate Theory

 

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Well, friends, it’s finally here. My explanation behind many Facebook, Instagram and Twitter mentions or pictures of the ‘Red Plate’. I posted a quick update on my different social media platforms about the Red Plate and had since been asked (countless) times to share the wisdom behind the Red Plate. So, here it is (finally)!

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