Okay. We interrupt our scheduled programming because I absolutely have to share with you this conversation I had with my gentleman friend yesterday.
Man, I love it when someone asks a question that’s so completely reasonable to ask, but the answer is so completely … obvious (you know, to you) that it never even occurred to you that someone would be curious about this.
Blows my mind.
This came up because of the Destuckification Retreat I’m doing in Monterey.
This is something people have to apply for. I’m very picky about who gets in.
And, even though I haven’t even announced it yet and just sent one paragraph to my “Hey, I’m doing a thing” list last night, we’ve already received applications. For more than half the spots.
At this rate, we probably won’t even get around to announcing it.
My gentleman friend thought this was bizarre. Very, very bizarre. Dialogue loosely translated because we were probably
drunk tired, and I can’t remember exactly how it went.
It went (kind of) like this.
Me: What?! What’s bizarre?
My gentleman friend: I don’t get it.
Me: What do you mean? You know my duck is a rockstar. People travel for hours — days — to be able to be near Selma. Remember when Sanders flew in from Nigeria for our weekend in North Carolina?
Me: See? Selma loves Sanders.
My gentleman friend: Oh, it’s not that. Clearly I’m not unaware of your awesomely insane pirate-ey cult following. I pick up your mail. I just don’t understand why people go on retreats. What’s up with that?
And that’s why there’s this post today instead of what I was planning on talking about.
It turns out there are all these things that people-who-don’t-retreat don’t get about retreats.
Things that are so important and that I completely take for granted. So I’m going to share some bits of our conversation, and hope that at least three things will surprise you.
Reasonable questions. That I never even think about.
This is super interesting.
Reasonable Question #1: What is it about being there?
My gentleman friend: It’s not like there’s a shortage of teleseminars in the world. You and your biggified friends are always doing them.
Me: And …?
My gentleman friend: So why would someone want to pack bags and book a plane ticket and have to actually go to a thing?
Me: You do realize that I just did that when I went to Barbara Sher‘s retreat, right?
My gentleman friend: Yeah, but you’re not like other people.
Me: Don’t I know it.
My gentleman friend: No, I mean, I totally get that you wanted to meet Barbara. You’re crazy about her. Justifiably.
My gentleman friend: And I know your sneakified brain. You knew that if you met her in person she’d write a blurb for your book, and happily biggify you.
Me: Okay. All that is true. Going to a retreat to make an impression on a beloved biggifier is a totally reasonable thing to do
But what I’m getting here is that you maybe haven’t experienced the difference between distance learning and in-person learning when the person you’re learning with is really good with … can I use a word neither of us will like?
My gentleman friend: Are you going to finish that sentence?
Me: I can’t think of a non-California way to say it. Oof. Stuff like “holding the space”, “creating the container”, “working with energy” … but I don’t like any of those phrases.
My gentleman friend: That thing you do when the room gets all buzzy and tingly? Like the crazy force field effect?
Reasonable Question #2: But why is that so important?
My gentleman friend: Okay, so that’s a cool experience but I still don’t get why it’s so important that you would go on a retreat.
Me: I love how you say retreat the way I would say dead fish.
My gentleman friend: And you adore me for it.
My gentleman friend: What I’m more curious about is … what is it about this experience that matters?
Me: Well, there’s something weirdly magical and transformational that happens when you go to a space with that kind of person.
It’s like a ritual of transition.
With a huge amount of power in it. If you put a week of your life to doing nothing but being in that transformational experience, and you’re doing it with someone who is brilliant and fun and has great material, you come out having shed a skin.
You’ve walked into this version of you who knows how to access more of your you-ness. It’s still you, but now you know what you need and how to get it.
My gentleman friend: Wow.
Reasonable Question #3: But the money!
My gentleman friend: It’s still crazy how much of a financial investment it is, though.
Me: Mmm. Not really. And I’m saying that, even remembering all the years when I couldn’t even consider putting money towards anything that wasn’t food or rent.
My gentleman friend: What makes you say that?
Me: Two reasons. One is that the kind of transformation that happens in that kind of environment is really intense. Things happen quickly, so much more so than however many years of therapy or coaching are going to get you there.
My gentleman friend: And?
Me: The second thing is that you always make money from going on retreat, if you do it right?
My gentleman friend: ???
Me: You meet people. They either buy your stuff or help you create stuff or tell people about your stuff.
My gentleman friend: Really?
Me: Dude. You live with me. Alright. Examples.
Me: Listen. Half the people at Barbara’s retreat ended up buying one of my products after we got home. And three of them are applying to the Kitchen Table.
My gentleman friend: How did you manage that?
Me: I didn’t. I have no idea how that happened. I didn’t go there planning to have people buy my stuff — I didn’t even talk about my stuff, other than mentioning that it existed when people asked me how my business works.
But yeah, I’ve more than made back what I spent on plane fare and the hotel.
My gentleman friend: And when you taught at Jen’s Writer’s Retreat, everyone there went home and bought the Shiva Nata Starter Kit. I guess that counts.
Me: Pffffffft. That’s nothing. One woman I met at a thing a few years ago has spent $13,000 in my business. The thing we met at cost $900. Remember?
My gentleman friend: No. But I remember that being a terrifying amount to spend on anything. Of course if I’d had any idea that the connections you made there, I probably would have insisted that you do it.
Me: You did insist.
My gentleman friend: I did?
Me: Yeah. You knew I really wanted to do it.
My gentleman friend: smiles
Me: The truth is that every product and every course I’ve done have come together because of the help of fabulous people I’ve met while taking someone else’s program. It’s like, the best bonding experience in the entire world.
My gentleman friend: And other people do this too? It’s not just you?
Fine. More examples.
Me: When I was at Jennifer Louden’s retreat, there were a bunch of my Kitchen Table people there. And when I taught my retreat in North Carolina, there were also a bunch of Kitcheners there.
And they’ve started joint-venture-ing up a storm, except they wouldn’t call it that. But they’re teaching programs together and promoting each other’s things in this really sweet, organic, beautiful way.
My gentleman friend: Okay. But they already kind of knew each other, through you.
Me: Right, but when they start doing this “hey, let’s biggify each other” thing at the retreat, other people see them do it. And then they start doing it. It’s stunning.
My gentleman friend: So you’re basically saying, don’t go to a retreat for the content. Instead, go to hook up with the biggified person teaching it and to make monies either from or with the other people in it.
Me: I’ve actually already made that point in a post a while back. But yeah. That’s a great reason to retreat.
Well, that and the insane transformational experience that makes everything in your life way, way better.
And the support network of people who really get you.
And the hilarity that happens when you’re an adult who gets to go to what’s basically a week long slumber party.
My gentleman friend: You are a very odd person and I like everything about you.
I hope some of this was interesting. If not, then hey, you got a peek into my strange little life.
And a bit of my philosophy of retreating (not the same of my philosophy of run awaaaaaaaaaaaay! which is also a very good philosophy).
Comment zen for today?
Same as usual. We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. We’re practicing.