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Here’s your schedule for LIVE FREE

So many of you have asked for more details about what the week will entail, so we thought we’d paint the full picture for you.  Take a deep breath and take it in…

After packing your bag with your five favorite outfits, comfy pj’s that pair of shoes you finally have an excuse to wear, you head to airport and board the plane destined for San Francisco.

You land at SFO, grab a green juice at The Plant in Terminal 2 and set off to baggage claim to meet the three women who you’re carpooling with to Sonoma.  As you walk through the terminal you feel a little nervous to meet these complete strangers. Sure, you’ve been chatting with them on Facebook, learning about their businesses, relationships and why they’re coming to LIVE FREE, but you’ve never gone to an event like this without knowing anyone, and it’s a bit nerve wracking.  You take a deep breath, a sip of green juice and hope to god you don’t have to spend the next 2 hours in a car with a total psycho.

You recognize one of the women from her picture on Facebook, “Hi are you…?”. The woman shrieks with excitement gives you a huge, long hug and you take a sigh of relief.  She’s normal, even warm.  Excellent.  Soon after you connect with the other two women, more shrieks of delight fill baggage claim, you make your way to Hertz, talking the whole way, get in the car and set off for wine country.

The tunes are cranking, the sun is pouring in the windows and everyone is sharing the basics… where they’re from, what their career is, if they have kids… and after all that stuff is out of the way, you get down to the real stuff – the break up that encouraged one woman to change her life, the new business someone is starting, the desire to have more time with her family… real stuff.  You can’t believe how easy it is to talk to these women, like they’re the friends you’ve always wanted but could never find.

When you arrive at the Lodge at Sonoma you’re greeted by a warm sunny day and beautiful foliage.  The bell man greets you at your car, takes your bags and shows you to check in.  Once inside the lobby, which is filled some of the comfiest couches you’ve ever seen, you see small groups of women chatting and you wonder if they’re here for LIVE FREE.  One woman catches your eye from across the room, squints to bring you into focus and takes a few steps closer.  “Is she looking at me?” you think.  And suddenly a light of recognition pops onto her face and she screams your name, “You look just like your picture!” and then, yes of course! Three weeks ago you responded to her post about needing a roommate for this retreat.  “I already have our room” she says as she grabs your bag, “let’s go get you unpacked”.

She takes you out past the pool – cool, and sparkling blue with gorgeous lounge furniture all around.  You weren’t sure you wanted to put on a bathing suit… but this just may convince you.  She takes you to the back of the property where there are a collection of small cottages.  She opens the door and you’re greeted by a sitting room and two fluffy beds with amazing bedding.  Together you settle in, get to know one another and get ready for the cocktail party.

At 8pm you make your way to the other side of the pool where a group of women have started gathering.  You approach cautiously, not knowing exactly who to talk to, but you see one of the women from the trip from the airport and go over to say hi.  She introduces you to a women she just met who happens to be in a similar line of work and you instantly find a million things to talk about.  Suddenly you feel a hand on your shoulder and turn around. It’s Sarah!  She gives you a big hug and welcomes you to Sonoma.  Even though you’ve never met, she knows your name and your story.  You talk for a few minutes, she introduces you to Nisha, who asks you how things are going with your new website.  You give the report and are grateful that she remembers your story about firing your designer back in July and how you’ve been struggling to find a new one.

As the night goes on you meet so many amazing women.  It seems like everyone here does such cool things, are from all over the world and are just so… NICE! What a breath of fresh air.

Though it feels like you could be up all night, you take Sarah and Nisha’s advice and go to bed early to get rest for the next day.

Friday morning you put in your leggings and head to the great lawn for yoga. You’re greeted by one of the most serene, beautiful women you’ve ever encountered, and Michelle leads you through an incredibly relaxing, enlightening, feminine practice.  You finish feeling strong and calm.  “I should start my day like this every day!” you think.

You head back to your room, shower, put on your favorite jeans, new silk top and high heeled boots (you never wear heels, but when in Rome) and head to the Stone Room with your roommate.  You walk in and think, “was there a wedding here last night?” No, you realize, this is all for us.  Amazing.  The room has the tallest ceilings with huge beams and rough stone walls.  The tables are decorated with gorgeous flowers and the french doors lead out to a beautiful green lawn.

You find a seat next to two women you spoke with briefly the night before and wait for things to start.  You hear the music start to build and before you know it everyone is on their feet dancing their faces off.  You’re not one to usually to get down at 10 am, but hey, why the hell not!?

After a quick intro, Sarah launches right into the first lesson on Clarity.  Through out the lesson you start to identify your ideal life including moving to a bigger apartment, how to restructure your business, hiring a new assistant, the need to get to yoga more, how you want a garden and a dog and maybe…. a baby, what? You had no idea.  It all seems so big, so scary. “How am I ever going to make all this stuff happen?” you worry.

Then you break for lunch and walk outside to the most incredible spread of fresh veggies, salads, fruit and organic meat.  Sarah leads everyone in a mindful eating exercise and you enjoy your leisurely lunch with five other women sprawled out on the lawn.

For the rest of the afternoon Sarah & Nisha give you strategies to make shit happen.  You plan out your whole calendar including your day, week, month and year.  Then you had to get on the phone and actually cancel some things and sign up for that yoga class.  Sarah & Nisha want to make sure that what you talk about isn’t just dreams, you’re starting to really make them a reality.

The ideas are flowing and you’re getting so excited about what you want to create and you spend the rest of the afternoon masterminding with other women, troubleshooting where they’re stuck and getting support for yourself.  At one point you feel particularly stuck so you steal Sarah away for a quick one-on-one to get her opinion on something.

After a quick dip in the pool (you felt oddly at home in your bathing suit, weird) you shower and put on this super fun cocktail dress, something you would never wear, and head to the room for dinner.

The room is filled with soft candlelight and all the women look HOT.  You’re handed a glass of champagne and introduce yourself to a woman you haven’t connected with.  “This is so unlike me” you think, “being such a social butterfly, but I just feel so oddly comfortable and confident.”

Dinner is perfection.  Delicious, gorgeous and the WINE. Oh.My.God the wine.  I mean, you imagined it would be good since you were in Sonoma, but this is just beyond.  Sarah and Nisha really didn’t skip any corners.  You think about how nice it is to have all of your meals planned for you.  You’ve been to so many other conferences before when finding people to have dinner with you is a challenge and super awkward.  You never know where to go or how to split up the bill.  It’s so nice to just have things handled for once.

On Saturday you’re so psyched to get back to work after another amazing yoga sesh – god Michelle is gooood.  Sarah and Nisha talk about how to really leverage your time and talents, and Nisha teaches about the intersection between ambition and ease.  You didn’t realize just how much time you were wasting on stupid stuff.  You can finally see how you can work less AND make more.  After lunch you learn all about feminine flow and how to use it in your life.  You’ve never given femininity much but oh man, this is powerful stuff.  Sarah finishes with a lesson on body image and she made everyone cry… didn’t expect that one!

On Sunday morning you wake up a little sleepy after an incredible night.  You can’t believe the dinner Sarah and Nisha planned. What a surprise that was.  When you get out of bed you step on your wet towel.. “I forgot we went skinny dipping, ha!” you think and hop in the shower.

After breakfast you go straight to the room for your final lesson on relationships.  Sarah explains how as women, relationships are our foundation and the source of our joy.  Without good girlfriends and an amazing lover, we can’t create the life, body and businesses we desire.  They brought on an amazing panel and we spent most of the morning getting laser coached on our specific challenges with our relationships.

After another amazing lunch on the lawn we all pile in limo buses to go into wine country.  You spend the rest of the afternoon in awe of your surroundings at one of the most beautiful wineries in Sonoma.  As you taste wine and take in the scenery you reflect on all that has happened the past four days.  You have a clear plan for the next week and next year. I mean everything is booked, cancelled and ready to go, no long to-do list to tackle on Monday.  You’ve eaten well and worked out every day so you’re feeling strong and sexy.  You’ve met incredible friends, signed a new client and finally found a designer you love.  And more than anything, you just feel happy, calm and content.  You can’t remember the last time you felt like everything was going to be ok. “ Life is good” you think, and go back to drinking wine.

So there it is, a snapshot of LIVE FREE Sonoma.  If you’re feeling like you’re meant to be there, we would love to have you.  Secure your spot at LiveFreeRetreat.com

There’s something in the air – have you felt it too?  Big things are opening up as we move through summer into the fall, and looking ahead at the new year.  We’ve decided to keep registration open for a while, but the deadline to register for 3-payments is August 22nd.

If you’re hoping to come but haven’t made it happen yet, let Danielle know ASAP so she can help you figure out the details…let’s be honest, we’re more powerful than we give ourselves credit for!  If your heart is called to be there, we know there’s a way.  Let us help you figure it all out.

Lots of love,

Sarah & Nisha

The personality flaw most women have

I’d be lying if I said that past few months have been easy.  Becoming a Mom is rough sh*t.  And I’ve found myself from time to time putting so much pressure on myself to be perfect.

To be the perfect Mom
To be the perfect Wife
To have the perfect Life
To have the perfect Body

It can be all consuming.  But luckily, I’ve done enough personal work and have visited this place of perfection (you’ll read about one particularly low point below) enough that I know how to deal with it.

I’m so happy to give you today’s Throwback Thursday because it touches on this topic that so many of us struggle with.  If it’s anything I’ve learned, perfection is not all it’s cracked up to be.  You’ll see what I mean:

Today, I want to give you a window into my personal life that I’m pretty embarrassed to reveal.

My reflection scowled at me with disgust as I was getting dressed.

I felt so fat.

Yep. Fat.

My inner bitch came out with guns blazing. She told me that feeling fat was the unacceptable flaw that could ruin everything: my business, my relationship, my beauty. Toast. What would I have if I lost the one thing I had worked so hard at getting? A body I loved.

I was a puddle of grief, embarrassment and panic.

Luckily, my higher self (aka soul, intuition, inner light), the part of me that helped me heal from emotional eating in the first place, was able to talk some sense into my inner bitch relatively quickly.

She reminded her that weight gain is a sign that something is out of balance, that an emotion, a need, a void, requires tending to and nourishment. There was something to learn in all of this. I reminded myself that weight is just a big red flashing sign that something is seriously wrong. It was the arrow pointing to where I needed to focus more energy.

So I’ve spent the past month being curious about the lessons my body was teaching me, trying so hard not to cancel all social activities and go on a juice cleanse, because just getting rid of the “fat symptom” feels like the easiest thing sometimes, even for me, and I teach this stuff.

But my higher self knew there was a lot to learn from the discomfort and rushing to get out of it was only going to send me right back to feeling like shit.

So I sat and let myself feel fat for several days. It was incredibly uncomfortable. I hated it, but honestly, it turned out to be an amazing process

Here’s what I learned:

Our definition of perfection is masculine. We define perfection as linear. Our goal is to go in one direction towards a specific end point and when we reach it, we strive to stay there.

Masculine perfection is unwavering, stiff and permanent… I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a penis, so that’s not gonna work for me.

The feminine version of perfection is ebb and flow, expand and contract, wild, and unpredictable. Think of the ocean, tides, puberty, pregnancy, giving birth … always expanding and contracting, rising and falling. An exhilarating roller coaster.

Perfection is not about straightening out the roller coaster, it’s about strapping in and knowing that’s it’s going to be a wild ride. Ups and downs, dizziness, nausea. But when you expect it, it’s not so maddening, in fact, it can be really fun.

There’s nothing imperfect about gaining a little weight, or maybe not losing enough. It’s part of the ride. And the key to healing is forgiveness, love, learning from the falls and knowing how to start moving (slowly) back to where we know we feel our best.

Your task for the week is to accept your “imperfections” as normal, and still hold a vision for your ideal.

It’s so much more fun to be human, than it is to be perfect. Tweet it.

I can tell you from experience, that adopting the ebb and flow as perfect is incredibly healing. As I became more comfortable with the uncomfortable, looked for the lessons and continued to engage in my amazing life without rushing into a diet, my body responded lovingly by letting go of the weight that no longer served her.

Love,

Sarah

See what they’ve accomplished in just one year

We’ve been thinking about something and have been itching to share it with you…

Here’s the thing: Most people think that the key to having a successful life and business is hard work and making it all look good.  If we just bust our asses enough and put our best face forward, voila! Success.

But what we’ve learned over the years is that it isn’t about looking good, it’s about feeling good, and it isn’t about hard work, it’s about vision. {click to tweet}

We’ve been watching and reading the feedback from the women who invested in joining us last year, for LIVE FREE 2013, and marveling at how much they’ve accomplished in less than a year with their focus on feeling good and having a clear vision.  In celebration of them, and of our collective power as women, we wanted to share their stories with you…

“I’m coming To LIVE FREE again to revel in the fact that what I created last year in my 3 year vision has happened.  I’ll be 8 months pregnant, which is something I envisioned.  We moved to California, and I totally went for it in my business, leading a live retreat and launching a 9 month mentorship program.  I can’t wait to see what comes out of this retreat!”  - Angelina DeWeese

“The biggest thing for me in attending this retreat was that I already knew quite a few of the women attending, but what was amazing to me was how I met so many other women and connected with so many of them.  In fact, reflecting back as I say this, I just realized that over half of my clients over the past year, I met at LIVE FREE last year. What was so great though, is that I didn’t just meet a lot of potential clients, a lot of the women have turned into friends as well.  It’s just been this magic circle that has created itself in my life and I can’t wait to attend again this year.” – Jen Blackstock

“Prior to the retreat, I was just finding my footing after a brutal break-up and an ensuing waterfall of emotional crap (no other way to say it!) in early 2013.  This retreat peeled back so many layers that I didn’t even know were there.  For the first time in my 32 years, I am finally feeling comfortable being seen.  Truly seen.  I realized that I spent so much energy trying not to stand out – whether it was dressing plainly or wearing safe makeup, not taking the lead on something at work, trying not to do anything different than my friends or colleagues (or hiding it if I was).

Post-retreat, I am rocking the lipstick every time I go out, I dress in a way that makes me feel fabulous (as I write this at a cafe in downtown Palo Alto I have a cute maxi skirt, tank top, hair curled and bright lipstick on – hello world!), I am comfortable being me in every situation (though still working on it to make it more comfortable), and I have completely blazed my own path with work – something I never thought I could do.

The ripple effect of the retreat has been far reaching into most areas of my life – in fact, I can’t think of a particular area that is untouched by my experience in Sonoma last fall.  It was truly and honor and a privilege to have been a part of this amazing weekend.”  -Emily Nelson

“My life looks completely different from the one I was living 9 months ago when I showed up to LIVE FREE. I’ve made the leap out of my cushy corporate job and into a life of wonder, play, and alignment with what I really want in this world. I am no longer exhausted at trying to be the version of myself I thought people wanted me to be. My marriage is more playful and honest. My friendships with women are deeper and authentic. My relationship with my body is one of love and respect. And I’m running my business with focused intention and ease. And it all started with LIVE FREE.” -Becca Piastrelli

Watch this and get to know some of our LIVE FREE 2013 alums:

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We’ve decided to keep registration open for a while, because so many of you have asked for more time, and we want to fill the room with women who are really ready to stop the “someday” conversation and start creating the life you want now.  After talking with so many of you, we know that’s who you are – women of action.

We really believe that this weekend will be the catalyst to create the clarity and motion you need to have the success you want.  While this retreat is filled with fun and pleasure, there’s nothing fluffy about it.

The deadline to register for 3-payments is August 22nd: RSVP HERE

If you’re hoping to come but haven’t made it happen yet (or you still have questions), hit reply and let Danielle know right away, so she can help you figure out the details… Let’s be honest, we’re more powerful than we give ourselves credit for!  If your heart is called to be there, we know there’s a way.  Let us help you figure it all out.

Love,
Sarah & Nisha

The gift every woman has but rarely uses

intuition

I used to pride myself on being pretty smart.  I could argue my way out of most things, bang out a 10 page paper in college in a night or figure out how to build a website.  I was a talker, a thinker, an executor.

When I enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition I started to meet a bunch of “hippies” who wore a lot of hemp, took wheatgrass shots and had their cards read.  I was judgemental to say the least, and felt completely separate from that way of life.

But part of me was super jealous.

They were so relaxed! They were “go with the flow” women and seemed to have life handed to them on a silver platter.  I wanted some of their secret sauce.

So I started rubbing elbows with the granola girls and studying what made them different.  When they spoke about “divine alignment”, “fate”, “being guided” I was fascinated.  How?  As I continued to dig, I realized that all of this “magic” came from one place, their intuition. They all swore by following their intuition, that it never let them down.

I was bummed.  I didn’t have an intuition.  I wasn’t at all psychic and I didn’t receive divine guidance.  I was a thinker.

But my new friends assured me that every woman has intuition, it’s built into us.  Over the years we’re just taught that ‘reason’ is more reliable than our intuition, and we slowly lose the ability to hear that still, quiet voice.

So I set out to build my intuition.  Here’s what I learned:

1. Your intuition lives in your belly.

This made sense to me.  My reason lived in my head, and my intuition, literally my gut instinct, lives in my belly.  My issue was that I was completely disconnected from my body, so I started a practice of putting my attention in my belly during a meditation, massaging my body with body wash in the shower, and talking to her nicely during the day.  Once I created a relationship with my body and my belly, I could start to hear her (my intuition) a little bit.

2. Your intuition has a specific way of talking.

Once I had enough stillness in my life and was connected to my body I could start to hear a small internal voice.  Whenever I was trying to make a decision about something, let’s say whether or not I should take on a client that I was on the fence about this is how it went in my head:

‘Reason’ said in a loud, bossy slightly panicky voice, “Of course you should take her on, you need the money, you can handle her, you can handle anything, even if she’s a pain, it’s only a few hours a month. Just do it, don’t be lazy.”

‘Intuition’ said in a soft, quiet voice, “It’s not right.”

That’s it.  Simple, calm.  No back up.

3. Just because she’s quiet doesn’t mean she doesn’t know her sh*t.

Even though I could start to identify the voice, it seemed like an idiotic idea to take her advice.  She has no back up, no reasons and was not based in reality.  It seemed so wishy washy, so unreliable.  But I was committed to developing this part of me so I decided to just experiment.

I decided that for a month I would base all of my decisions off of my intuition, even when it seemed like the worst decision in the world.  I figured even if I made horrible mistakes for a month, nothing in that time frame was unfixable.

So if my head said “go to the party’”, and my intuition said “stay home” I stayed home.  When my head said “take that job” and my intuition said “don’t take it” I said no.  When my head said “it’s too much money” and my intuition said “it’s worth it” I made the investment.

Everytime I followed my intuition I wrote down the scenario, the gut instinct and what happened as a result.  I wrote things down like I had a great night at home and my friends said that party sucked anyways, I passed on the job and my dream job popped up two weeks later, I invested in this program and made four times the money this month.

My intuition was consistently helpful and always lead to more opportunity, even though the decisions I made rarely made sense at the time.  These examples became my proof and my reality.  I could now clearly see a pattern and I was able to trust that quiet voice.

At the same time I thought back to the times I chose reason and recalled outcomes of exhaustion, disappointment and a feeling like I had wasted my time.

So if you’re craving more clarity, more magic, more intuition I hope you can see that it’s simple to cultivate and I swear, it is by far the best tool in my box.

In the comments below, I’d love to know about a time that you’ve followed your intuition and what the outcome was.

Love,

Sarah