Breakthrough & Begin Retreat
Step away from the busyness of life and reconnect with what matters. Then, decide what it is you truly want and create a path to get there.
Emerald Isle, North Carolina
Thank you to all who submitted applications!
This retreat creates the space for you to reclaim your purpose, gain clarity and refocus on what matters.
You will be amazed at how simple questions will bring you to deep unearthed places. Part of it is the question, part of it is the light I lead with, but more so, it will be you finally devoting time and presence to things that have been begging you for stillness.
This retreat will also lead to connection with like-minded women.
I know you think it’s just you. I know you hesitate putting yourself into a space where it will be impossible to shine and look polished the entire time. I know the closeness of our time together both threatens your ability to hide and invites your desire to be fully seen and heard.
Here’s the beauty — you just have to show up. You have to trust that there is another woman — just as scared as you — who is doing the same. And when you have the moment with her — where you see yourself in the eyes of another human who feels your same pain, hurt, fear, love and hope — you will feel a connection that burns so deep in your soul you’ll wonder how you were ever alive before it.
We do not get these connections unless we show up for them. I know how to create spaces that unlock, reveal and celebrate, but the magic happens when the right women show up.
Your two big questions
The most common questions I receive with regard to this retreat are 1) what do you do there? and 2) who attends (and is it right for me)?
I get it. From the outside looking in, it’s a mystery to know what unfolds and you’re truly wondering if you belong here.
1) What will you do at this retreat?
Let’s start with what will NOT be happening. You won’t be distracted by a million little things because you’ll be in a space where you can actually breathe, focus and remember what matters. If you’re familiar with my style and programming, you already know it’ll be a combination of teaching and discovery. I share my story on a much deeper level, and I ask you some pointed questions and give you the space to answer them. I dive deep into personal coaching — in the large group, small groups and 1-on-1. I share more on the specific content below, but know this:
You will get clear on what matters and you’ll leave with the skills and clarity to activate them in your everyday life.
2) Who comes to this retreat?
The short answer — brilliant, talented, busy and strong women who have recognized they are meant for more and just need a little time and space to be still, sort through and realign. The longer answer — the women just like you who are feeling pulled to show up. The women who don’t even know why they are showing up, but trusting they’ll find the answers. The women who are ready to chase the dreams and just need the push and connection to get started. The women who feel alone and crave a sense of belonging. The women who are perceived as strong, polished and put together out in the world and need a space free from those expectations. The women who find themselves running businesses, classrooms, households, advocacy groups, communities, practices, and everything in between.
She is the woman who wants to go out and live life ON PURPOSE. She is me. She is you. She is all of us.
And every woman who shows up is always the right woman, and it’s always the right time.
Regarding content, I can tell you the main pillars of our conversation and your journaling will revolve around:
Your story + identity
Your beliefs + patterns and how they show up and operate in daily life
Narrowing in on the fears holding you back
Clarity on values + what matters
Aligned decision-making + how to take wholehearted action
Regarding flow and structure, you’ll experience:
Large group teaching + coaching
Small group discussions
Solo time for writing and reflecting
Opportunity for questions, deeper dives and group sharing
Small group coaching with Mel
Open mornings for rest, running, workouts and coffee
Breaks focused on rest, self-care and unplugging
Opportunity to work with Mel directly 1-on-1, in small groups and in the large group setting.
Much of this retreat will focus on self inquiry. I can speak personally and passionately on this — the single biggest barrier to success (however you define it) comes down to mindset, and specifically, aligning your actions with your essence. (Also, confidence is the outcome of repeated small ACTIONS — so just imagine when those actions are aligned with WHO you are!) It’s like FIREWORKS. But before we can do this, we need to acknowledge our stories. You need to know who you are, what you want, what your gifts are, what your challenges are and what (and who) will truly fulfill you.
Then, and only then, can you build and align your living around your actions in a way where the pull outweighs the fears. And where the invitation to rise up is so overwhelmingly intense, you can’t help but let go of all the reasons, things, relationships and doubts that keep you playing small.
My goal is to help you close the gap between what you truly want and your current reality. My hope is that by closing this gap with you, we create the invitation and opportunity to take the leap. To breakthrough and BEGIN.
But what does that actually look like?
We will lovingly scan over our lives – in activities, conversation and words — and look upon them with love, curiosity and wisdom. We’ll sift and winnow and look beneath the layers that trick us into thinking there’s nothing else beneath. We’ll examine our judgments, unconscious patterns and self-sabotaging behaviors. We’ll finally pull the loose threads that have always been there and be brave in acknowledging their origins. We’ll write words that both stun and relieve us. We’ll own and name our desires. And we’ll look upon the horizon of our life and create the north stars and illuminated path we’ll need to get there. We’ll hold other women up as they speak realizations for the first time, both new and long held. We’ll speak from a place of positive inquiry and not judgment. And when it all feels like too much, we’ll let the ocean do the talking.
You will not leave with a detailed blueprint of how every step must look and feel, but you will most certainly leave with a reverent and unshakeable clarity that will ground you in ways you simply can’t imagine yet.
> You can’t go unnoticed at this retreat and there is no partial participation.
As much as you may desire to be quiet and let others share, I will ask that you be a full participant of our collective energy. (Because a LOT of us are good at being in the room but not being IN the room – you get me?) There will be plenty of time for personal reflection and rest and sitting with the waves. But there will also be small group settings for sharing, as well as larger group conversations. You will be asked to let the shields down, and I can tell you the experience you have will be a direct result of doing so. This is very, very different than coming into a knowledge or story or pain that you weren’t prepared for and needing time to yourself. Awakenings need space, and we will certainly give this whenever and wherever needed.Bottomline: You will need to take up some SPACE.
> It’s a girls weekend, but it’s not a girls weekend.
This isn’t about how late we can stay up or how many cocktails we can consume. This isn’t about making sure a friend can come with you, and this isn’t about not coming if your friend can’t. This is about you and your growth. This is an investment in you and your path. The fun and laughter will overflow in all the right ways. Of course there will be cocktails when the time is right, and you may very well find yourself in the best conversation of your life at 1 a.m. … but all within the intentions set forth by me and for this retreat. Abuse of alcohol will not be tolerated nor will any irresponsible behavior that threatens the experience or safety of other attendees and me.
> Closeness. It’s happening.
We will have up to 18 women in one space. Yes, it is a huge space, but 18 ladies is a lot of energy to contain. If you are someone who needs total and complete privacy, this is not the retreat for you.
> About the room sharing.
Don’t freak out, mm-kay? The rooms are spacious and generous in size. Also, every room has a full bathroom attached to it. Whether sleeping in your own bed or sharing a king bed with another attendee, you will have plenty of personal space to spread out and relax. Several of the rooms in the house are king bed suites, so yes, while you may be sharing a bed, you’ll be doing so OVERLOOKING THE FREAKING OCEAN.Also, think of sharing a king bed sort of like sleeping on a twin. Lastly, the ability to bunk up in king bed suites allows for 1) keeping registration prices lower and 2) allowing more women to attend.Again, if you prefer complete privacy, this is not be a retreat setting where you will thrive. There are PLENTY of spaces throughout the house for privacy and quiet time, and if you need to unplug, take a nap or just ‘be’ for a bit, you’ll be okay. We’ll also create some really clear expectations to allow for this.
Your registration includes:
Stunning oceanfront/beachfront accommodations
Pool / Jacuzzi
Wireless high speed Internet access
Covered and open decks for lounging
All bedrooms have a private, full bath
All-inclusive meals, snacks, coffee, juices, beverages, and adult beverages; breakfast is ‘make your own’ with an assortment of delicious options. Lunches and dinners are catered. The kitchen will be open 24/7 for #allthesnacks as well.
At minimum, rest assured you’ll enjoy:
All the snacks.
All the coffee.
All the sparkling water.
All the beverages.
All materials for the weekend (paper, pens, etc)
All the swag and gifts. Xo
120-minute reflection and listening ZOOM chat two weeks after retreat
Registration does not include:
Travel to/from Emerald Isle, NC
Travel to/from nearby airports to Emerald Isle house. You do not need to rent a vehicle and we do not recommend doing so. Shuttle service is available from New Bern airport to the island. Uber is also available. Many ladies coordinated transportation on the private Facebook page as well. Our team is also able to assist you with booking your shuttle and/or other transportation. Once at the house, we will take care of all transportation needs.
Also, your registration includes:
Me. All of me. (Picture me and John Legend serenading you right now …)
My current one-hour coaching fee is $150. For companies and small groups, my daily fee is anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000.
Typically the curriculum I teach is delivered one of two ways. It is either my own — created from scratch and built from my own experiences and questions. Or, it is a lesson or concept inspired by the trainings of my mentors and teachers with whom I have worked closely with over the past five years.
I have poured myself into learning concepts both for my own growth, but also with the goal of framing and building my own body of work and teachings. I have also built an incredible network of mentors and co-visionaries from around the country with whom I regularly meet with and work with on various projects and efforts.
When you commit to attending, you’re likely taking the spot of someone outside of the Breakthrough & Begin community. Spots are limited and I’m expecting many I know will ask to attend once they learn about this opportunity — and I will likely have to say no. I don’t take that lightly, neither should you. So, when you say yes, I’ll ask that you do so with your whole heart and show up ready to do the work.
And, here’s what you can expect from me.
Accessibility – I am yours all weekend long. Morning coffee, beach walks, conversation, meals, lounge time, learning time, all of it. Except to give myself space for planning, I will be fully present with you the entire weekend. I will be wearing yoga pants, tank tops, comfy wrap sweaters and be rocking a messy ponytail as well.
Knowledge – Whether business, professional, personal or otherwise, my gift is helping you see a path through it and asking simple questions that get to the heart of what’s really going on. My experience and insights are vast and deep, and I will offer it freely in this retreat space. And oh the stories I will tell. So much of my experience comes from my humbling failures, lessons learned and awakenings had.
The space – Creating a space for you to feel safe, free and open is a responsibility I hold in the highest regard. Past participants have commented how the space – and my presence with you in it – is what separates my retreats from anything they’ve ever done before.
The women – I don’t say this lightly — there is a woman at this retreat who will become your person. There is a woman who will become your ally in life. There is a woman who will hold your story, pain, joy and grief with immeasurable love that you simply can’t know until its experienced. My work — and joy — is to pay attention and curate the opportunities for these bonds to unfold.
What women are saying about the B&B retreat experience…
This retreat was a life changing experience. If you’re reading this and still on the fence about signing up, please stop what you’re doing and register immediately. Your future self will be beyond grateful that you did. – Carrie
This retreat provided me with nudges and pushes and big realizations that I needed to be a better me. To share my voice. To know that I am enough. It also provided me with the amazing space to do the work. – Jennifer
A retreat was WAY out of my comfort zone, but I had this nagging sense that something was missing. My life is pretty good, but was this it? Was I wrong to want more? After this weekend, I felt such a sense of peace. I broke down walls so I could better love the amazing woman that I am, and I became clear on the things that were most important to me when it came to living my best life. I also didn’t realize how much I yearned for authentic connection. Walking into a room of strangers, prepared to be all in, was scary. Walking out with close friends was the priceless gift I didn’t know I needed. – Heidi
I was looking for connection and in just a few short days, I feel not only more connected but I feel supported on a heart level by new friends who will be there with gentle nudges, big pushes and words of encouragement as I venture out to live my life’s purpose. I also know they will be there to catch me when I stumble. That kind of connection is priceless and beautiful. It’s pure magic! – Jennifer
This experience helped me see that I am not giving myself the opportunity to show up as myself in my own life. I feel fiercely bound to a new sense of clarity and alignment regarding who I am, what matters most and how to take actionable steps to truly begin living a life with my values at the center. Mel has a profound and rare gift for creating a safe space filled with ease, trust and connection. Because of this, I felt heard, I felt seen and I felt more myself than perhaps I have in my entire life. – Angie
I didn’t fully know what to expect from this retreat, but what I found was a community of strong women who have beautiful stories to tell and have the capacity to lift each other up. While I didn’t know what to expect going in, I knew I needed lifting, and that’s exactly what I got. – Ann
I was finally able to identify and articulate what was holding me back from living my best life. Mel arms you with a systematic approach to identify your core values — what matters most — and helps you to see the pathway to putting thoughts into actions. The retreat was the best use of my time and resources and, truly, a gift. – Kelly
This experience helped me to see that I’ve spent my life making decisions on everything but what I truly wanted. I always kept a job with good benefits, even if I hated it — I needed health insurance. I sacrifice my own dreams for the dreams of my partners — feeling like it was my duty to support them. I didn’t even see this pattern. I was stuck feeling like I was being selfish or ungrateful for wanting more. I have realized that I am worthy of happiness and that I deserve to look for it. Being empowered to ask for what I need has truly transformed my life in the last few days. – Jessica
Before this retreat, I was a woman who believed she was simply made quiet. This experience led me to find a fire, a power and a voice I’d learned to stifle for others. The woman who left North Carolina is profoundly stronger than the woman who arrived. I went in pursuit of a path to finding a career passion, I left with a passion for me and my life. – Rebecca
I didn’t realize I had a story. Mel’s gentle way with words and prompts lead me to my real story. Over the course of the weekend I learned that I get to decide. I get to decide. No, really … I get to decide … how my story is constructed, what matters to me and how to set boundaries to protect what’s most important. I forged friendships I will cherish for a lifetime. These women get me. Finally, I was able to feel again what it’s like to be truly present, in the moment, in a space where I belonged. – Audrey
Is it worth it for you?
Honestly, only you can know. But I won’t sell you on what awaits within this opportunity. I want you to read these words, envision yourself with me and your future soul mates and FEEL the knowing that you must attend.
And you already know it. In THIS moment, you already know. So, you will likely do one of two things — listen and act on that immediate and powerful intuition or find all the reasons why it can’t happen. And for most of you, I know it will come down to schedule and cost. It may not be the right time, OR it may be an inconvenient time that will require you to find a way. (There’s a difference.)It may not be in the budget. This is a significant investment, and I do not take it lightly at all. That said, it is a life-changing investment worthy every penny. All attendees will need to be paid in full prior to arriving at the retreat, but I will do everything I can to make it work for you. If you need a custom payment plan or have questions on payment timelines, please reach out.
All registrations require a non-refundable $350 deposit. Once you are registered, (if you chose installments) we will contact you to set up your monthly payment plan. We’ll work with your schedule and make sure it works for you.
Registration options + payments:
Keep It Cozy – Bunkmate Registration (max of 3 spots available)
Accommodations for this registration will be the following:
– Sharing a large room with your own full bed
– Room features private full bath and shower
All at once registration: $1,750
Installment registration: $2,000 ($350 deposit + 5 monthly payments of $330)
Keep It Cozy – King Suite Registration (max of 12 spots available)
Accommodations for this registration will be the following:
– Sharing a spacious king bed suite (1 bed) with private full bath + shower
All at once registration: $1,950
Installment registration: $2,200 ($350 deposit + 5 monthly payments of $370)
Queen Bed Suite Registration (max of 2 spots available)
Accommodations for this registration will be the following:
– Sharing a room with your own queen bed + full bath (street side)
All at once: $1,950
Installments: $2,200 ($350 deposit + 5 monthly payments of $370)
Single Room Registration (limited to one spot)
Accommodations for this registration will be the following:
– Your own spacious king suite (ocean view) + full private bath + shower
All at once: $2,800
Installments: $3,000 ($500 deposit + 5 monthly payments of $500)
How registration works
Registration for 2020 opens early in the new year. All applications will be reviewed in the order they are received. The maximum capacity for this retreat is 18 women, so it will be important to apply early if you would like to attend.
There is no risk or downside to applying. You can always decline the offer. Even if you don’t have the ‘how’ figured out yet with regard to schedule and/or investment, I encourage you to apply.
The application will have questions specific to sleeping accommodations and preferences.
IMPORTANT: It is super critical that you list all acceptable options for your accommodations. While we’ll do our absolute best to honor your first preference, it may not be possible. Based on the order of your application and your flexibility in sleeping accommodations, we will extend a registration to you via email. You will have 48 hours to secure your spot. We will keep registration open until spots are filled.
The application also looks at the care and attention you give to the questions asked. Please be thoughtful in your responses!
I get it! Sometimes life happens and things come up. Here’s how our policy works:
$350 deposit is non-refundable.
All registrations paid via installments are not refundable. Meaning, you can cancel your registration at any time but no portion will be refunded. (Obviously you are not obligated to fulfill your full registration cost.) Please know that you alone may not transfer your spot and registration to another participant nor can you be credited for a future retreat.
If you pay in full, you are able to cancel four months (prior to June 1, 2020) prior to the retreat start date and receive a full refund, less the deposit. If you cancel three months prior to the retreat start date, you will receive a 50% refund not including your deposit. For instance, if you paid $1,750 in full, the 50% refund would be based on $1400 (for a total of $700.) After July 1st, 2020, we regret that no refund is available. Please know that you alone may transfer your spot and registration to another participant or be credited to a future retreat.
If there is a waiting list for available spots and per Mel’s sole discretion, she will consider this option to fill your spot. If your spot is filled, you will be refunded less the $350 deposit plus $50 transfer fee. There are no refunds for no shows, early departures, or unused services.
What about travel insurance?
We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance for your flight. You are traveling to a coastal island at the end of hurricane season. In the event of storm and/or hurricane conditions, we will follow all instructions from local authorities including evacuation should that become necessary. We cannot control Mother Nature and unfortunately we cannot be responsible for refunding travel expenses due to unforeseen weather interruptions. Thanks for understanding!
I hope to sit next to the ocean and hear the waves with you this October.
This is a lifelong dream of mine. Sitting by the ocean, diving deep into life’s biggest questions and creating the space for women to find their true selves. I will bring my whole heart to this space, pouring out every lesson, story, humbling failure, glorious win and path taken. Many women ask me how I found my path and how I had the courage to chase my dreams.
Nothing about it has been easy, but everything about it has been worth it.
I remember four years ago showing up to my first ever retreat — uncertain but oh so ready. What happened over those four days changed my life forever. I fell apart while there — and I mean, I completely unraveled. I felt lost and overwhelmed with the questions I was being asked — but rather than running from them, I leaned in. I surrendered, and I let the transformation happen. To this day, every choice I make and decision I follow, I use the lessons from that retreat as my ‘does this truly matter’ blueprint.
The biggest thing I can tell you is life won’t change unless you do. Dreaming is one thing, action is another. We have the choice to be complacent, or we have the choice to act, change and evolve.
And you won’t find the answers unless you go out into the world and ask the questions. If you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, you will miss the opportunities to expand into your true potential. This is the hard one — you have to be willing to find a way. You have to be willing to get creative, ask for help and do whatever it takes to be WHERE you know the growth is.
We’ve got this. You’ve got this. Now is YOUR TIME. Now is the moment when you listen to the whispers and the calls for you to SHOW UP and live a life you are meant for. A big, fulfilling and deeply-aligned life that you love.
Ahh … I’ll meet you at the ocean. Let’s do this.