Once upon a time, I co-created a retreat to celebrate the women who craft, champion and enrich our world through the magic of cacao. The retreat was called Mujeres Milagros, miracle women, and it was a living dream.
It started, as dreams do, with travel. A fateful podcast interview with Lauren of WKND Chocolate would result in joining her on my first trip to origin. During our 10 days together, we traveled from Ecuador’s Andean foothills to coastal Esmeraldas, in cacao-filled rainforests by day, discussing the transformational gifts of the godly fruit by night.
A couple months later, we talked about the potential for gathering women from across the industry and around the world — IRL — with chocolate sommelier, Sophia, of Projet Chocolat.
By September, after months of animated conversations, the three of us would be standing at the doors of a historic hacienda. That first year, we humbly welcomed a collection of women who shared our love of chocolate and, more importantly, a desire for something more transcendent than working for work’s sake.
I have to confess my fear of collaborating in a female-only space yet, after only a few days together, I was on fire with inspiration. Post-retreat, I retired to a tiny casita outside Santa Fe, NM, feeling more connected to my self and my desires than ever before.
Over the next three weeks I found wonder in everything — I drew pictures of my food, wrote poetry for the first time in years and laughed and cried without reservation or regret as I painted from dawn to dusk.
The second year, I returned to the desert to find a new batch of women brimming with a similar spirit. We opened ourselves up to one another, vulnerable yet emboldened by the delicate act of bonding.
Before these gatherings, I thought I understood the virtues of creating a plan and taking action but it was in those moments that I truly discovered the power of clarity and it’s ability to manifest the improbable.
Last year’s retreat celebrated the “art of chocolate,” a prescient theme in hindsight, as this post is about the things that must come to an end in order to continue creating.
What began as an open, honest conversation with a new friend in a new country completely transformed my world. And yes, this is a rather long way of saying that I won’t be returning to co-host. As for that dream, I am confident that it will continue to transform the miracle women that gather — gifting them the clarity to find, and the courage to take, their own, true path.
My treasured time in the desert taught me, again and again, that my desires are simple and sincere: more time and energy for my personal art practice. And though cacao may not always be in the foreground of that practice, my life and work will remain centered around the many gifts that it has revealed to me.