If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that a week and a half ago I was strolling around stunning Puerto Rico. It was my first visit to the Carribbean and it was a pretty incredible introduction. I was there to participate in a creative business retreat with two other amazing women, Meghann of Halfmoon Atelier and Anne Weill of Flax and Twine. Both are accomplished, creative, supportive and inspiring women and together we undertook a deep dive into our businesses…what is holding us back and what could move us forward. It was the kind of introspective, challenging dreaming that really has changed everything for me.
We started thinking about a trip like this last year when we all met at Craftcation, (where both Anne and I will be teaching this year). The idea of spending time in a warm, tropical place while hashing out ideas and setting concrete business goals grew irresistible the more we talked about it. Meghann has a background in non-governmental organization development and she established a really solid framework for reviewing our businesses and making pie-in-the-sky dreams a reality. In the end, she ended up really leading us through an overview of our current business; a visioning for the future; and a complete, in-depth look at how to accomplish our next steps. She was excellent and very solid leader and it was exhilarating work for all three of us. She is going to be leading more of this type of retreat so be sure and sign up to find what she is offering.
We did, of course, have an amazing time seeing San Juan, Puerto Rico as well.
I loved getting to know this part of my country with its amazing blue cobblestone streets and colorful homes. Signs of the devastation of Hurricane Maria were definitely evident. Many of the homes near the ocean still do not have roofs and the ubiquitous blue tarps are everywhere. Old San Juan, where we stayed had gone without power for three full months and, as a result, many restaurants couldn’t manage and had to shut down.
But, signs of a quick rebirth are also clear. The land and trees that had been stripped of green are lush and verdant. Most of San Juan has electricity (although much of the rest of Puerto Rico is STILL without) and everyone we met was so excited we were staying overnight since most tourists come on cruise ships and leave within the day. Basically, we were welcomed and embraced at every turn.
We stayed in one of those apartments that makes me question my whole existence. It was owned by a local sculptor and jewelry designer and was full of art and plants..some of which were 15 feet tall! I’m still a bit in shock that our airbnb host, Ivonne, gets to live her everyday life there!
The middle of the apartment was a completely open-air courtyard and often while we were busy working a yellow finch (or two!) would fly into the room, enjoy perching on the plants and then fly out. Lizards and geckos scaled the walls..free to come and go as they please. One day it rained during the day and we had to run through the rain to get from the kitchen to the living room. It was nearly impossible not to soak up the creative, positive energy of this place.
I really could have stayed forever and it was easy to be swept up in imagining a romantic life in Puerto Rico. I can’t wait to return with my family.
The beauty, the creativity, the warmth and the good company of supportive women led to lots of creativity and I’ve been busy every since the visit working on accomplishing some of what I put down on paper since being in Puerto Rico.
Mostly, I’m embarking on a re-design of the website and clarifying my message of creating a mindful wardrobe. With the help of Meghann and Anne, I have developed plans for ways to help others who want to build a more sustainable closet but don’t know how. So, watch for all of that coming up!
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