PRACTICE & PURPOSE – THE IMMERSION BY LULU LEMON
I have always dreamed of going to Hawaii. I was 32 years old when I went for the first time with Hot Ronnie and we went to the island of Maui for our “hey, our son just died trip and we need a break and some time to heal and not make a decision”. Before that, I had never been to Hawaii and only dreamed of it. And now I was going to be able to go back to Hawaii just 6 months after I had been there. Talk about being spoiled.
Let me back track so you see how this all unfolds. I got a call from the Community Maven at Lululemon here in Calgary; she asked if I was sitting down. I said that I was with Hot Ronnie and we were driving – so yes, technically I was sitting. And then she lead with “are you busy from June 2 – June 5?” This was in 2017 (it has taken me a year to put fingers to key board to finish this post). We technically were really busy as we had booked the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert for Ronnie’s Bday, but you can always find the time when you want something bad enough. I glanced over at Hot Ronnie who had over heard the whole convo and he nodded telling me “yes babe, you gotta go”. A week later the most insane invitation came in the mail. It didn’t give much detail. It just asked deep and meaningful questions that really made me think. I was all in and kinda of liked the unknown.
From the details of the invite to the mystery of what layed ahead I couldn’t wait to get after it. They honestly gave us no information other than our flights and to be ready for anything – not sure how you pack for a trip like that, but I managed. So I boarded my flight and took off, leaving Hot Ronnie behind on his bday and me on an airplane to go experience a trip that would forever change me.
On that flight I got 2 nasty emails that really rubbed me the wrong way. One accused me of using (and I quote) “my dead son Lewiston to have people pay for me to go to Hawaii”. It was then that I decided that I didn’t need to be checking emails and Instagram every 5 seconds. For me to really get everything that I could out of this trip I needed to shut it off and open up my head and heart. No distractions turned out to be the biggest blessing, and I can see how those nasty emails had such purpose to make me really focus on what was about to happen.
I landed in Hawaii and was greeted by the sweetest local who owns and operates her own transport company running tours from town into Hana. She has lived in Hana her whole life and knows it like the back of her hand. We were one of the last groups to arrive but she didn’t rush the drive and stopped several times for pictures. We got to stop at this amazing little restaurant just past Pia called Jaws Country Store. Check it out if you are in the area or on your way to Hana – amazing Poke Bowls and homemade iced beverages!
Little did I know that this trip would be a game changer. We were the second last group to arrive, and the attendees had already bonded and started to form connections. It was a bit awkward and uncomfortable stepping our of a car, grabbing a name tag, and not having a friend or person you know to gravitate towards to be your wing man. I was solo and didn’t know a soul. So I had to be ready to mingle – like mingle and meet some friends, not single and mingle. I went to my room to freshen up because if I was gonna meet some solid people I couldn’t smell bad. Our rooms were spacious and had the most incredible welcome package. I didnt need to worry about packing the right stuff. I needed to worry about how I was going to fit all the amazing Lulu gear in my carry on. I quickly headed back to the main lodge. The crazy thing is that it was a level playing field. Nobody was better, or more popular we were all there to immerse ourselves in yoga but also so in connection to ourselves.
That night at dinner I joined a table of random strangers, it was scary and fabulous all at the same time. I ended up sitting across from a fellow Canadian (a total beauty with the biggest heart), a famous Puerto Rican singer from Miami, a girl who lived in LA who worked for the OWN network, and the list goes on. It truly was the most amazing mix of people. We dined on the most delicious food, asked questions, and didn’t just talk about the weather. I was blown away at the depth of the conversation. It wasn’t just “how nice is Hawaii?” It was questions like “what is your story?”, “what inspires you?”, and “what goals of yours scare you?”.
And so that night everything started. Going deeper, dreaming bigger, and surrounding myself with fierce lions that too wanted to run fast and hard. I am not gonna lie I felt pretty out of my depths. I was one of the only parents in the group, many attendees were single and actually ready to to mingle. There were professional athletes, professional photographers, major food bloggers who had published their own books, wood workers, musicians, and business owners. I felt like just a mom and very out of my league. Truthfully, I felt like I was there as a pity invite – like, “we feel bad your kid died so go on this trip”. But I would soon discover that someone just really believed in me and the message I wanted to spread (BRING THE JOY!).
The next day after an early morning protein shake, 90 minutes of yoga, and another breakfast, we got to work on the real deep stuff. We were all given a beautiful journal with our initials engraved in it, and notebooks with a theme for each session that we would tackle. The first question was about purpose: “What did we believe our purpose to truly be?”
I wrote these words:
“I am here to be a light that shines bright – to show others real joy is possible.” I remember getting up to share and being one of the first to go. You know when someone is asked to share and no one wants to go up and be the first? Well usually I don’t mind being the first to raise my hand, so that’s what I did. I am pretty outgoing, but even for me my heart was beating out of my chest and I was so nervous to be so vulnerable with a group of 49 strangers from across North America.
It was an emotional day, but I can not tell you the countless amount of people that came up to me after and loved on me. Told me how brave and how powerful it was I shared. It was scary, but so valuable to share with everyone. I also could not believe how many Christians were there. I love how God continues to show up and put the right people in my life. Deesha (this mega babe who worked for Obama) came up to me and was like ” I am gonna pray for – I hope you don’t k Everyday we did 4 hours of yoga; 2 hours in the morning, and 2 in the afternoon. It was an incredible way to get focused and be challenged. We were fortunate enough to have Baron Baptiste lead us. For those that don’t know, Baron is basically yoga.
The next day we did a sunrise hike at 5 a.m. to the top of a hill the overlooks the resort and the ocean. This is where I connected with Rusty from Fit Radio (more on that in another blog post). It was a stunning and simple hike, but it opened up the door for amazing opportunity and set the tone for the day.
The day flew by and we were never short of a workout and a good sweat. The best part was that this event was not about who was the fittest but about changing your mindset and empowering yourself. I was consistently pushing myself. We did an awesome bootcamp with a trainer from the island. A good reminder that you can workout anywhere and you don’t need weights or lots of equipment. I happened to wedge myself in between a bunch of the professional athletes, so I felt a bit of pressure to keep up. I like to be competitive.
After that work out we dug back into our books – the next question was about our legacy. If we were to live until we were 80, what would be said at our funeral and who would read it? I wrote mine as if Swayzie, my daughter, would read it. After we wrote this very personal letter we were asked to find someone we hadn’t worked with yet and have them read our tribute back to us out loud. You could hear the groans in the room. I got paired with another mom who was from Toronto, Canada. She was a talented artist and had a daughter like me. It was crazy to have someone read back your testimonial. It is something so deep and a practice that we never do. Being so raw and real as my deepest desires were in that letter. I liked getting pushed out of my comfort zone. The best part about this session is that I still have this letter over a year later, and it captures my heart and dreams so wholly.
This experience was once in a lifetime. I have never in my life been able to spend so much time solely focused on me, my heart, my dreams, and getting my head out of the weeds. I met some of the most epic people (like Nicole who is pictured above, she legit has the best laugh in the entire world and radiates joy). And if you know anything about me, you know I am pretty passionate about this whole joy piece. We connected and last August we hooked up in Austin, Texas (her hometown) for glass of wine. We still are in touch to this day and I am always inspired by her drive and passion.
As I look back on my notes, I am reminded of how my goals are the same, and how I still want to and need to let go of the same $h!t (I always struggle with the distraction of comparison, social media, and I need to say NO more often). I need to remind myself that it’s okay to be be focused and to have clear objectives. And that forming small daily habits is so important to the success of my big goals and dreams. I was so fired up after Immersion. I had no clue how much it would inspire and push me to dream bigger and to do more. This trip allowed me to become fully alive and gave me the possibility to dream crazy dreams.
The biggest thanks to the Lulu Lemon Global Team and especially to Keightly for the nomination and for believing in me.
***This post is in no way sponsored I just wanted to share my experience.***