Five Days Of Summer – My Amazing Summer, Part Two

Hello Again,

If you haven’t read the previous post in this coupling, don’t worry, although of course you can if you like over at High Summer.  As I mentioned there, I want to warn you that this is going to be a biggy, so with that, I’ve broken with tradition.  This time, I’m telling you all about my summer, but in two parts.  As you know, I usually write about my month, where I’ve been, who I’ve seen,  and what I’ve been up to, all in one big lump, but I’ve decided to break it down a little, as this experience I think deserves a posting all of its own, so without further ado, I welcome you to Part Two… of my Amazing Summer.

You may remember that back in March I attended one of Matthew Hussey’s Get The Guy Women’s Weekends.  I wrote about it at the time in Learning to Fly and told you all how life changing it was.  I’m not exaggerating – that weekend for me was absolutely life changing.

At the end of that post I told you that I would be lucky enough to be joining Matthew and his team in Florida for his immersive 5 day Retreat – a full programme designed to help build a blueprint for each individual so that they can live their best lives, work through issues maybe holding them back, look at how to structure plans and goals for the future so that they become attainable, learn and gain confidence in everything we do, and so much more… a complete look at our lives.  And that’s where Part Two of My Amazing Summer has taken place.

I’m going to quickly mention now that I’m not going to share the names or photos of anyone else on this Retreat, other than the Trainers and Matthew.  Not because I’m not allowed, or because I don’t want to, but because I want to respect their privacy and their experience.  We all attended The Retreat for very different, although surprisingly similar reasons, just as we all had our own experiences on The Retreat.  This is mine.

Arriving at the hotel I checked into my room – to be shared with one of the other Retreat ladies – and unpacked.  I was very nervous about the days ahead, and sat on the end of the bed for a while wondering if I’d done the right thing by coming along.  It was such a massive step, knowing that I was going to have to appraise my life, look at how I approach things, talk about my fears and worries, all with and in front of a group of women I’d never met before.  Total strangers…  my nightmare.  I felt my breath quicken and my body temperature rising as I sat alone, panic taking hold, very tempted to re-pack and get the next flight back to California.  I didn’t.  Instead I took a deep breath and went to the bar to get a bite of supper.

Crunching on a crouton from the Chicken Caesar Salad, and sipping on a Sam Adams, two ladies sat down at the table next to me.  I sneakily listened in to what they were saying for a few minutes before realising that they were also part of The Retreat group, so with another deep breath, I turned and introduced myself.  We joined together for dinner and had a lovely chat, all discussing how nervous but hopeful we were for the week ahead.

On the Saturday, six of us came together to explore Clearwater Beach, and to find the local mall to do a bit of shopping…  before returning to the hotel in the evening for our Retreat Welcome Drinks – an opportunity for us all to officially meet one another and the Trainers we would be spending the next five days and nights with.  It was here we were given our timetable of events.

By 7am each day we would be doing group exercise with a Trainer, Michelle, then we would meet on the beach for Gratitude.  Breakfast would follow, before Content started at 10am through till lunch.  We would then have either a group session with our Trainers or one-to-one’s before returning for more Content from 3pm through to 7ish.  More time with our Trainers would follow, before breaking for the evening.  Over 12 hrs a day for the next five days would be spent on us.  No outside distractions.  Just us.  This wasn’t going to be a holiday.

Day One’s Content started with Matthew asking us why we were here, in Florida, on The Retreat.  Tentatively I put my hand up.  I explained that I had problems talking in public, real core confidence issues, and that I wanted to learn how to overcome them.

Now, Matthew has the most amazing way of getting the heart of the matter within seconds, and a bullsh*t detector that is second to none! So of course he pushed…  He asked me questions that were uncomfortable.  Tried to get me to answer why I had those issues.  I gave a glib reply.  All the while, my breath was caught in my throat.  My heart was racing.  I was getting hot.  My vision was closing in so it felt like the room was getting dark…  Another panic attack brewing.  I didn’t have a good answer at that moment.  Matthew left an instruction for me floating in the air as I was given a round of applause for talking first, and he moved on to the next person.  That instruction stayed with me all week.

Throughout the next few days we covered amazing content, and took more notes than I though possible.  We questioned our pasts, we nodded in moments of realisation, we laughed at the things we’d done before, helped each other understand things to do in the future.  We did powerful visualizations.  We danced like mad women to get our energy levels up.  We also drank lots and lots of water!

Day Four was my toughest day.  It’s the day my past came back to haunt me.  The day I broke down.  During an exercise where Matt took one of the most amazing women I’ve ever met to the front of the room, he did an exercise with her that will stay with me forever.  The exercise was one using our internal voices.  Worrier, Leader, Fighter, Lover, Joker.  Watching this beautiful woman  face her struggles, her reason for being with us in Florida, voicing her inner thoughts without shame, without fear, without hesitation, broke me.  My darkest days came to the forefront of my mind and I couldn’t see how, if that had been me at the front of the room, I would have been able to move between voices so eloquently, so powerfully, and so assuredly.  I have no doubt that it was probably one of the hardest things that person has also been through – but she was so courageous, so determined in her convictions, and at the same time, so open, I could only watch in awe.

And then the tears came.  Slowly at first.  But as my mind raced and my heart crushed, I couldn’t stop.  We were supposed to do the same exercise in pairs, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t breath.  I couldn’t stop crying.  I just couldn’t do it.  I ran to the bathroom to escape.

Returning to the room a few minutes later, I stood just inside the door, hidden still behind a wall, listening to the group as their voices spoke their fears, their worries, their power, their determination.  But I couldn’t take another step forward.  I sank.  Despair.  As the sobs took hold again, I felt arms around me.  Michael, one of the trainers, had found me.

Gently, he took me outside to get some fresh air, and to change my focus.  It’s one of the things we learnt.  P.F.A.  Physiology, Focus, Action.  Once the tears had subsided a little, he made me do the exercise…  there really was no escape however much I hoped for it.  Of course the sobs returned, and it took a while, but eventually, he got my Leader speaking – it wasn’t very loud, but it was there.  For me, that was the hardest exercise, not least because I was a blubbering wreck doing the most emotional exercise in front of a group full of people checking into the hotel…  Facing your fears in front of strangers – yeah, just what I wanted…

I returned to the room and carried on with the rest of the content that afternoon, all the while my mind racing, with memories haunting, but I got through it.  Thankfully I had a one-to-one planned with my Trainer Raph, that evening, so was able to sit and talk to him privately for a while.  He helped massively, and suggested some additional ‘homework’ for me which he thought would help.  Afterwards I joined the girls for dinner, changing focus whilst I thought about my action.

I woke up at 5am the following morning to start my homework.  What I ended up doing was writing.  I needed to get my thoughts onto paper, so rather than produce a list of things to work through, I wrote.  I wrote what was to become a speech.  I didn’t intend for that to happen, but writing in my own voice is easier for me, its how my mind works, so it’s what I did that morning to help me work things through.  For two hours I sat in bed getting my thoughts out, working through my deepest issues, sobbing again as my fears landed on the paper.

I joined the morning exercise class a little late, but I made it.  After Gratitude I found Raph and walked along the beach with him.  I told him that I’d written something, and asked if he would be kind enough to read it.  And then I really pushed myself out of my comfort zone and asked, if he and Matt felt it appropriate, if I could read it to the group.  Talking in public, facing my fears, my innermost demons being shared.  Raph read what I’d written and returned it to me at the start of Content.  He said one word.  “Beautiful”

It was after lunch that I stood up, in front of the group, in front of these strangers that had since become my friends, and admitted the true reason as to why I was on The Retreat.  Trust.  As I stood at the front, I took a deep breath, and read the words I’d written.  I looked out at my audience.  I searched for the woman who had spoken so bravely the day before and told her that she inspired me.  I searched for Michael, for Raph, for Steve, and for Matt, and for all the faces of my new friends as I told my story.  And I got through it.  No panic attack.  No tears.  Some fear.  But with courage.  I had, for the first time ever, spoken about my most hidden self, in public.

The instruction that Matthew had left me with on Day One, was to let him know when I thought I’d be able to talk in public, when I’d be able to answer his question of why I had low core confidence, to answer why I couldn’t speak… That was the moment I answered.

After hugs from everyone, and some music to lighten the mood (a song that will for me, forever be linked to a feeling of power) we returned to the afternoon and our final session together.  The coming together of five intensive days, of listening to each others stories, of learning from their struggles, being inspired by their achievements.  Laughing, crying, joking, learning, we had a final visualisation which was empowering.

I felt, and still feel, so lucky to have shared five days with these incredible women, and to have learnt from everyone there, not just Matthew and the team.  I don’t think I’ll ever truly be able to explain what and how much I’ve learnt and grown in just a few short days.  I know I will never be able to put into words how much I want to thank everyone that I shared the week with, how much they inspire me…  and how I will be forever grateful.

We celebrated our final night together with a bit of a party, a few drinks and some great tunes, before heading outside en mass for a starlit swim in the sea, where another amazing moment took place.  It was something that has never happened before, and something that will never happen again.  It’s such a special moment, that again, I’ve thought long and hard about whether or not to include it here in this post.  But having learnt that it’s OK to trust people with things, I’m going to share this will you.

As I say, it was something that has never happened before, and will never happen again.

Bobbing around in the water, laughing and joking as one massive group, lit only by the light of the moon, the most amazing thing happened.  One by one we noticed phosphorescence sparkling in the water around us all.  Just as our lives were sparking with the joy we all felt being there together, having gone through the week, the experiences, the tears, the heartbreak, the breakthroughs and the endless laughter, in that moment our world reflected exactly how we felt.  It’s a moment in time I’ll never forget, and I’m sure my fellow Retreat-ers wont either.  The perfect end to a truly amazing week.

You may remember that I said I had received a life changing hug from Matt during the Womens Weekend, and that perhaps, just perhaps, I would be lucky enough to receive another life changing hug on The Retreat….

I got something better.

I got a hug, but this time, it was for a life changed.

 

 

Another hug from Matthew Hussey…

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~ by BlobbyJogger on 3 October, 2012.

31 Responses to “Five Days Of Summer – My Amazing Summer, Part Two”

  1. Wow. Amazing. I got quite emotional reading that knowing how hard it will have been but you did it! I am very proud of you. xx

  2. very moving ..i need a tissue , well done !!!

  3. Wow, this is beautiful and having just also got accepted for the weekend I’m excited, though naturally nervous for similar reasons …

    • Hi Sonia, thanks so much for your lovely comment. You’ll have an amazing time on the weekend! For me it was incredible, I met some amazing women, and got so much from it. Have fun, and let me know how you get on. Tx

  4. I am glad I found this post about the retreat. I met Matthew in a one day event in Toronto that just happened then today I got a phone call about registering for the retreat. I had a lot mixed feelings I left the one day event feeling empowered and motivated and also a little confused. I did agree to attend the retreat but it’s not til December so I have time to save up for it and finish Matthew’s book Get the Guy. I guess finding your blog made realize this is something real and I can definitely benefit from it. I mean I took an intensive trauma recovery program in my city for 2 months and that was intense but I am sure I can survivor this one

    • Hi Shelly
      Thanks so much for getting in touch, and I’m so happy to hear that you found Matthew and the GTG event. I absolutely loved the Retreat, and although it is a much overused phrase, it really did change my life. Every day now is so much better because of the things and tools I learnt during that week. I do hope you’ll go in December. It is expensive, but really is worth the money. I’d honestly do it again in a heartbeat!
      Keep up with what he taught you at the event, and reading the book (I’ve read it twice now) and get ready for December. You’ll have an incredible journey!
      Best wishes

      Tracy

      • thank you so much for a response. I did find another blog of a lady who went to the event and retreat but she doesn’t seem like she wants to embrace it. Yes part of me is a little freaked out about it but at the same time I really want to do it. I’ve spent thousands on traditional therapy that I think this would be something good and even if some how it’s not, it will be a time away from home , away from the cats and the people who drain me to learn more about myself and meet other people.

  5. Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve just been accepted for the retreat in November and plan to put down my deposit tomorrow–it seems SO worthwhile to me but yet I had been afraid of the cost, but reading your post reassures me that it is DEFINITELY the right decision! I cannot express enough gratitude to you for sharing this wonderful experience, and I’m sure I’ll have even more after I’ve been through the retreat! xx

    • Hi Maren!

      WOW! I’m so thrilled you’ve been accepted onto The Retreat, I honestly can’t tell you how incredible the week is… Yes, it is a lot of money, but trust me, it’s worth every penny and more.

      I’m in the process of writing a follow up piece to this blog – nine months on – as I’ve had such amazing progress since September, I want more people to know that the Programme really does work, and that people can achieve incredible results. It really has changed my life.

      Please let me know how you get on… I’d love to hear about your journey after you’ve shared a week with Matthew and the team. Good luck.

      Tx

    • Reading this post and the replies has made me feel a lot less nervous about the retreat next week. I have never been out of town by myself and have just generally been very nervous about this process.

      • Hi Heather, thanks so much for your comment, sorry it’s taken me a while to reply. I hope the Retreat was all you hoped it to be and more… Matt and the team are such incredible teachers, and if your group was anything like mine, you’ll have made friends for life. One year on, and I can still say without hesitation, that one week has absolutely changed my life for the better. I hope it has for you too. All best wishes xx

  6. Hi I feel happy to have read your retreat experience. I was selected for the December retreat less than two weeks away. I was feeling excited about it all year but a bit nervous about it as it comes closer. I’ve never traveled anywhere outside my area on my own before and it may be challenging to share these personal things with complete strangers. Also the price was a bit hard for me to swallow at first. However reading your experience puts me more at ease. Even the preliminary exercises sent to use have already given me a better sense of direction so I can only imagine how powerful it will be. My nervousness has calmed again after reading how much you got out of this experience though and replaced with my initial enthusiasm. So once again thank you for our inspiration and congrats on your new lifestyle!

    Jodi

    • Hi Jodi
      Thanks for taking the time to drop me a line… I know exactly how you feel as you get nearer to the Retreat, I very nearly backed out at the last minute as my nerves were crippling. I’m so glad I didn’t.

      I can only tell you how amazing and incredible it was for me, and hope you will get the same kind of achievement and success from your week with Matt and the team. I attended over a year ago now, and can honestly say that each day since then has been better and better.

      It’s hard work, and sometimes uncomfortable, but so very worth while if you put all your energy into getting what you want from the experience.

      I hope you have an amazing time. Do let me know how you get on… And say Hi to Matt and the team from me.

      Tracy xx

    • A well written emmotional piece of work. I couldn’t stop myself from crying, so how much did it cost you, the whole retreat.

      • Hi Harry. Thanks for your lovely comment. It’s so wonderful to get feedback.
        The cost of the retreat was similar to a luxury holiday, certainly not cheap, but worth every penny and I’d highly recommend anyone considering it to spend the money on themselves.

        • So it is over 10k US $???

          • Oh gosh no! Much less than that. However I went a couple of years ago and flew in from the UK so cost will be different now, so I can’t give you an accurate amount (not do I want to on a public platform).

            • Alright! I completely understand that. Do you want to go for another retreat?..

              • I’d go again in a heartbeat if I needed to, but I’m very happy to say that’s not necessary. The Retreat gave me everything I needed to live the life I always wanted. I couldn’t be more grateful to Matt and the team.

  7. Wow! that sounds amazing….
    I’ve been thinking on attending the retreat for a while, I found myself nodding in agreement whilst reading through you’re blog… its funny how the thing that made you want to take the first plane home, is holding me back from signing up…
    you’re personal ‘diary’ has given me the knowledge of what to expect, which is kind of reliving….
    thanx for sharing…

    Debbie

    • Hi Debbie
      So happy you stumbled across this post… I really can’t recommend the Retreat enough. It’s over 16 months since I attended, and my life is now what I had always hoped it would be. I’ve had the confidence to make great changes, and continue to push to make every day the best it can be. I’m just so very happy!
      Yes, it is a big step, and takes a lot of courage, but just by writing to me on this blog – I think you have what it takes…
      Good luck.
      Tx

  8. Thank you for your overview of the retreat. What was the greatest motivating factor that allowed you to make greater changes? What has been the most significant change? If you don’t want to be the example for an exercise in front of the class, do they pressure you to do so anyway? If I prefer to work one-on-one with trainers or with the other women, is that allowed? How have you been able to sustain your happiness level without the energy from Matthew and trainers. Thanks, again for your input.

    • Hi Ball1room. Thanks for your comment, sorry it’s taken me a while to reply but I’ve been away with work. I guess the greatest motivating factor for me was the pure need to change my life from how it had been. I knew it was no longer sustainable but didn’t really know how to go about changing things on my own, although I was trying. The Retreat gave me the tools to do that. There is no ‘pressure’ to do anything, but there is a promise from all that attend to give it their all, after-all, no point in going if you’re not going to try… Well over a year later, and I can honestly say I am happier than I’ve ever been. Matt and the team might not be there every day alongside me, but the lessons and tools they’ve provided me and other Retreat attendees with, continue to work long after the week has ended. Hope this is helpful. Best wishes. Tracy

  9. Thanks so much for sharing your experience, it makes me even more excited to attend. I initially read your review to find out how much the retreat costs? Thanks again for being so inspiring. (:

  10. Very inspirational read. I am currently in the process of changing my life. I can relate to the exercise focused about finding your inner voices. It is hard to separate myself from my past, and think of myself as a different person than who those bad things happened to.

  11. Hiya I read your blog about the retreat as I was hoping to find out more about the retreat , Im 21 year old and had been in an abusive family situation till I was 17, till I managed to finally leave not only that house but also the country. Im familiar with Matthews work interms of his videos plus his book, but I never considered the retreat until I realised he expands further from just your love life. Do you think after having attended the event. yourself, the retreat would prove useful to me_ by the way your blog was beautifully written , love Sidra.

    • Hello Sidra – thank you for taking the time to write. I heard about Matthew first for his love life stuff, but that wasn’t really relevant to me at the time… but as soon as I heard about the Retreat I knew it was right for me. Just over a year and a half later and my life has gone from strength to strength – as it has for others that were on the same Retreat as me… I have no doubt that it would be useful for you, as long as you’re prepared to put the work in and focus on making your life better. I really hope, whichever path you choose, that you continue being strong and that you find the life you want. Best wishes to you Tx

  12. This is amazing and a very inspiring story. Women were so brave there !! Have you since some changes since the retreat ?

    • Hello Marjo1809, Thanks for your comment and sorry it’s taken me so long to reply. My life has totally transformed since the Retreat – so much so I haven’t had time to update what I’ve been up to (hopefully will have time soon!) I can’t recommend the work that Matthew and the team do more highly.

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