This is a guest post by Tania Wojciechowski.
I was on a business trip for my day job, and was sitting at a table in the restaurant, eating alone in a dark corner by myself. Well, not entirely alone — I had my laptop beside me, and was reading an inspirational ebook. It was the end of a long week, my meetings had been draining, and I was feeling pretty lonely.
And then I read the paragraph that changed everything.
The author was talking about a creative retreat she had set up in hopes of connecting with other women. She rented a cottage and invited several women — some she knew personally, others she had met online. After that weekend cottage gathering, they became her lifelong friends and supporters: people she could call on to laugh or cry together.
My eyes immediately welled up. My skin went all goosebumpy and my heart knew that, yes, this was exactly what I needed. I had started a small business about six months earlier, working on it in the evenings. I had spent those months in a bit of a vacuum, sitting in front of my sewing machine, spending hours by myself.
I loved that I was being creative, but I was missing something: connection with others.
Without missing a beat, I sent someone an email about my idea for a retreat. Weirdly enough, it wasn’t a good friend that I had known for years. She was an acquaintance who I had spoken to a handful of times in a group coaching class. She was in a similar place in life, going through similar issues, and I just felt she was the perfect person to ask. I had to trust my instinct that she was the Right Person.
The email was tearful and rambling, and straight from my heart. I wanted to set up a retreat that would be a welcoming, comfortable get-together where women who had small creative businesses could connect. We’d build a community of strong women that we could count on, be there for, and go through this crazy journey together. That initial instinct was rewarded when she quickly wrote back, “YES!”
Here’s the biggest epiphany for me about reaching out. Even as an introvert who craves alone time (in fact, it’s a requirement for me to be able to recharge), I get so much out of connecting with others on a deep level. I learn so much about them, about myself, and I feel supported knowing that others are going through the same things, and want similar things out of life.
In a way, the retreat I planned with Deanna of Apples and Orange (who is now a member of my closest tribe) is a celebration of that. Spark Retreat is now in its second year and we have brought on the amazing Lori-Ann of Boreal Trim. It is everything I hoped it would be: a place for creatives to connect – deeply – with others. Not just with our fellow participants, but also the speakers that we invite.
As someone who works alone in her basement studio, it can be really scary to reach out to people who have a large internet presence. The answer to moving through that fear?
Reach out in an authentic way, from your heart, put it out there, and ASK.
What a powerful experience. Connections like these not only build a support system of friends and colleagues; they truly feed your wellbeing and your soul.
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Tania Wojciechowski is a creativity coach-in-training, a maker of handmade goods, and a food and health aficionado. All these activities are a reflection of the thing that she’s most passionate about, which is finding ways to become her best and most joyfully authentic self. She uses humour, creativity, and an inordinate amount of daily dance-breaks to really explore this in herself. As a creativity coach, she’ll be guiding women who may have forgotten the deep connection to their creativity and wellness back to a place that makes them feel whole again. Fine her online at manusmade.com and on Twitter.
Join Tania for Spark!
This year’s retreat takes place in Taos, New Mexico and features Jacqueline Carly, Alexandra Franzen, Dyana Valentine, Erika Lyremark, and Michelle Ward. Get all the exciting details at reigniteyourfire.com.