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And the point is to get out of the head and into the body because I’m not saying ditch the head, nor am I demonizing the minds. I’m not into that. What I am saying is we need to switch out which we think we should be hailing at the source of the deepest wisdom. The deepest wisdom comes from the body.

– Elizabeth DiAlto

Darla: Hello and welcome to this episode of Retreat and Grow Rich, the podcast. I am here with the fabulous Elizabeth DiAlto. Welcome, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth: Hi, I love this topic, I’m so excited.

Darla: I am so excited you’re here. You’ve led retreats all over the world and short ones, long ones, in all different types of spaces. So I’m so excited people are going to get to hear from you. And let me just share a little bit about you so they know why they should lean in. Yeah!

So I’m excited for this conversation because I know it’s going to get really juicy. Elizabeth is known for her raw, honest and grounded approach to self-help and spirituality. She is a practical mystic, the creator of Wild Soul Movement, and author and host of the popular Truth Telling with Elizabeth DiAlto podcast. She’s been a teacher, leader, speaker, coach, and trainer to groups and individuals for 15 plus years in three different industries. Her greatest mission in this life is to help those who identify as women worldwide to reclaim and redefine their own womanhood and contribute to a new paradigm of culture where it is both safe and natural for women to love, trust, and accept themselves fully.

She’s written for and been featured in Marie Claire, New York Magazine, Self, Shape, The Huffington Post, US News and Health Report, Yahoo News, and many more. She’s a reiki master, has completed energy mastery trainings with energetic solutions and is an avid student of many spiritual traditions and sacred lineages.

Elizabeth I’m so excited to dive in.

Elizabeth: I’m excited to write an abridged bio.

Darla: Is it always fun hearing it back?

Elizabeth: It is funny because you forget. You write these things and they just sit on your website forever and you’re like, “Oh yeah, I did do that.”

Darla: Amazing, amazing. Well it gave me even more questions I want to ask you. But tell people just a little bit, like I want to just dive right into the heart of this mission of really redefining what it is to be woman and what it is to love ourselves as women. And what brought you here.

Elizabeth: Yeah, I love this question, I love talking about it and it’s amazing because just this past weekend I was a certification. I work in the Akashic records and I specifically went to this certification because it focused on helping people manifest their soul’s purpose. And I started working in the records earlier this year officially and out of a hundred something readings I’ve done this year, probably 75% to 80% of the time, the first question people ask me in the reading is what’s my purpose. And we all have multiple purposes, right? Like we all have a common purpose to just be the most full, beautiful, loving, compassionate, creative expression of ourselves. And then within that is what are all the different purposes that we have.

And so I think anyone living in this time, in this world, who, and I specifically say identifies as a woman because it doesn’t matter what you were assigned at birth, it matters how you move through the world. It’s a wild time for us, wild. We have access, some of us, to more things than we’ve ever had access to. For some people that feels empowering, for some people it’s wildly intimidating and scary and paralyzing. But just because so much progress has been made and so much possibility is available doesn’t mean that a lot of the old ways have actually gone anywhere. So we’re still bumping into, it’s this interesting kind of like duality of more than ever is possible. And we’ve always had so much burning potential inside of us and I think a lot more people these days are awake too, they can feel that potential. They’re not satisfied with just going through the motions and following traditional paths.

And people who also identify as maybe a bit more unconventional or maybe they think of themselves as non-traditional, or some people identify probably more with the word rebellious. It’s such a wild and amazing path to take, but it’s not easy. There’s so much passion, but sometimes passion can burn the house down.

Darla: So talk a little bit about that. So I can see you on video so I can see you imagining this wild, amazing, passionate journey. What are you imagining when you’re describing that?

Elizabeth: For myself or for anyone?

Darla: Well, in the last five minutes.

Elizabeth: So what it’s reminding me of, and I’m scrolling. If anyone’s watching this, “Like why’s this bitch on her phone?” Sorry, if I can’t say bitch. There’s this Maya Angelou quote, I hope I didn’t, that says, “Seek patience and passion in equal amounts. Patience alone will not build the temple, passion alone will destroy its walls.” So it’s this integration of truly passion and purpose, because purpose has more structure to it than passion. But all of my work is rooted in embodiment and the idea that anything that you’ve ever needed is inside of you, and that’s in the soul. So how do we actually fully embody our soul and express that, not just be I want to say almost vomiting all of this human conditioning that we’ve all accumulated through the course of our lives.

So how are we peeling away at the conditioning to discover what’s true and what’s really there, and then figuring out how do we express this and get this into the world in the way that only I can, that only I am meant for. So to me that’s what all that means and it’s a freaking tall order Darla.

Darla: Yeah, yeah and you talked about, I love the way that you phrased it that we’re having access to more tools and waking up in new ways, and yet there’s structures that are still in place that we’re bumping up against. What’s been your experience with that?

Elizabeth: So, this is amazing the timing of this conversation because just last week I was talking to my buddy, Dr. T, who he’s been somebody I’ve learned so much from on my path to educate myself in all areas of social justice, racial equity, collective liberation, and things like that. And one of the things that he helped me to realize about myself is that I’m a person, the technical term for it is a border identity. He calls it a straddler because he likes the visual aspect of it, to give it a visual component. So I’m very, and again I know some people are probably listening, not watching, right?

Darla: Mm-hmm, yes.

Elizabeth: So I’m very ethnically ambiguous. I’m Italian and Puerto Rican by heritage. I have very curly hair, freckles, I’m not super fair skinned, but I am light skinned. And so people never know, the number one question in my life is what are you. I’m also from New York. I have very integrated masculine and feminine energies and aspects of myself. So I’m really a person in so many ways that can move through and into many different types of spaces quite comfortably but doesn’t necessarily belong in any of them. I get welcomed in by all kinds of groups of people, but I don’t necessarily belong. Like there’s a difference between fitting, but not belonging.

And so for me it’s a really interesting, I get to see all these cross sections because I’m invited in. And that in a lot of ways has painted my journey in a couple of different ways for all the years that I didn’t understand that that’s what was happening. And then now that I’m very aware of it and it feels like an enormous honor and also something to use with care and responsibility and wisdom in terms of what can I bring into a space and share that someone might hear me saying that they wouldn’t necessarily hear someone else who isn’t so that straddler.

Darla: And how do you see that playing? And you talked about being from New York and balancing the masculine and feminine. How does it play in, in groups of men, or how does that help you, if we think about bringing more power to the feminine?

Elizabeth: So to answer this question I need to be super honest that I don’t spend a lot of time in groups of men. But if and when I am in that … Also interestingly times question because just this past weekend I went to this amazing event on Saturday which was actually my birthday and …

Darla: Happy birthday.

Elizabeth: Thank you, on decolonizing wealth, which was centered around the book written by Edgar Villanueva. And I was having a conversation with a musician named Sive and he was asking me what I do and I was talking about my work. And he’s like, “You don’t do this with men? Men need this.” People always say that to me, and I’m like, “Yeah.” And I had this idea of actually bringing the feminine embodiment work to men, to spaces to actually help heal toxic masculinity. Like if men could actually feel their feminine and connect with that vulnerability … Not like there is vulnerability in their masculine, which I think is what is causing a lot of toxic masculinity. When people don’t understand it, they don’t know how to work with it and it just feels like shame and they can’t express it. But actually connecting with their own feminine and realizing the difference and what it would feel like, that could be really cool.

But in the past when I’ve been in spaces, like even the space where we met at Archangel, they do a pretty good job of balancing it out gender-wise, but energy-wise, it’s just super masculine space. And that’s, I can just, I sometimes feel like I’m a chameleon and it’s all an authentic expression because we all contain multitudes. So it just feels like being a little more direct, which is where the New Yorker is, communicating in a way. To me, it’s very important to communicate with people in a way that they’re most likely to hear me. So I know …

Darla: I love that distinction that you made too between the men and women in the room versus the energy being masculine or being feminine.

Elizabeth: Yeah, yeah.

Darla: And I know that’s such a huge part of the work you do is helping people bring forward that feminine. And so just a little bit about me that you may not know. So I’m in a same-sex marriage, which you probably know, but I came out at 39, and so that was a change for me. And I’m fairly balanced masculine and feminine. I call myself a recovering engineer. My first career was very left-brained. I was a corporate engineer and so I’ve had a huge journey with embracing more of the feminine, which I’m still on.

But I’m pretty balanced. Kimmy is also quite balanced, but in totally different ways. So my masculine comes out in business and hers comes out in fixing things and building things. So we have this conversation a lot about balance of masculine and feminine being the answer for where we’re going. Yet we have to do so much re compensating for all the patriarchy that’s been in place for so long.

Totally. Thank you for sharing that and also just giving context for anyone who’s listening. I love this because again I do wish we had better non-gendered terms, but in terms of just functionality for conversation, masculine and feminine is what I work with. And so for anyone who might not have that necessary context, masculine is just like the more structured, right, just the more linear, the more, and again there’s so many expressions of it. And feminine is going to be the more non-linear, like the creative, the more flowing, the more surrendered, the more receptive, the softer.

Elizabeth: And so even the word balance sometimes, and I love the word integration because integration also implies that we can dance in and out and use what we need when we need it. And so to be cultivating both is important so we can just access whatever we need when we need it because we all have all of it, in again in whatever is the appropriate expression for us. Then we can really get in the complexity, which I know is not what this conversation is about, of looking at the shadow and the gift aspects of things because we all have those too. But I love this because again it’s just another way to look at ourselves and be like, “How can I be the most me in whatever context?”

Darla: Yeah, and mostly we’ve disowned parts of ourselves. And for some it may be the feminine, for some it may be the masculine. But anything we’re denying is going to come out in an unhealthy way.

Elizabeth: Yeah, and for some, listen you might have been doing this just out of survival in your life. Your context, your circumstances, your environment, whatever it is just might require you to be more in one than the other. And so I just want to acknowledge anyone who is tired, that’s the piece. A lot of people are living mostly in survival mode. I find myself there still more often than I would like to and it’s exhausting.

Darla: So when you were describing the different energies you used the word receptive. And I kind of want to jump off from there because when we’re talking about retreats, first of all you have to fill a retreat, which means you have to receive money and receive the people who are coming to your retreat. And if you’re too in your masculine, for lack of a better word, you’re not in that place to receive. So what’s been your journey, and I mean there’s so many questions I have for you, but specifically with hosting retreats and receiving people in that way and in that feminine way?

Elizabeth: Yeah, you know I will say that comes so naturally to me. It’s funny because I don’t want kids. I always say I reserve the right to change my mind, but I really don’t want kids. But I have very natural mothering energy. I love holding space, that’s like a zone of genius for me and I know we’re going to talk about that at some point, but I’m really built for that. I’m really built for … The receiving money, so that’s totally different. Knowing how to price a retreat, I still go back and forth with that because there’s so many immeasurable factors to what goes into that. It’s like, well, you know if we were really going to charge what this experience is worth it would be millions of dollars and all of our retreats would be empty. So how do we figure out what’s appropriate, like what makes sense for us to show up for, what makes sense for the people to show up for, what makes it accessible, if that’s an important thing to you, which for me it is, and what’s going into the experience.

But in terms of receiving the people, I’ve just always had a massive capacity for that. I am extroverted and so I have honed my facilitation skills. One of the things, so my confidence in my ability to do that is one of the things that makes it really easy to receive because my skill set is there. My ability, but also my desire to do it. I love doing it and that’s important because if you’re someone who just thinks you should do retreats because it’s a cool thing to do or it sounds good, but you don’t love it, it’s not going to be a really great service or experience for folks. You might want to have someone with you who can hold the space or who can be more of the guider/facilitator. You might like organizing it or just curating it more. But I love all, like all of that, the details and stuff. To me that’s not the receptive part, that actually is the masculine part that someone else is best to do for me. But getting up in there with the people, cultivating and curating a specific experience, love.

Darla: Can you remember your first retreat?

Elizabeth: Oh man, what a great question. Well, here’s the thing that makes that hard. Retreat to me can mean so many different things.

Darla: Yes.

Elizabeth: Like an extended period of time in a room with people, to me is like a retreat. Are we getting away, even training. So I’ve been running trainings since I was 20 years old. My very first job was with Cutco Cutlery. I sold knives and then I was recruiting and training the knife selling sales reps. And so then I went into fitness where I was teaching classes and things all the time. But my first extended thing with people, like if we qualify retreat as there’s at least one overnight experience …

Darla: Yeah, I call it a multi-day experience with the intention of creating new awareness.

Elizabeth: Love that, love that. I’m going to quote that and give you credit for the rest of my life. What was it? So I ran my first extended retreat to Costa Rica in 2015. I ran my first two and a half day small group immersions in 2015. Did I do any overnight kind of group thing before that? With friends, so probably informally.

Darla: I did some of that.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Darla: We had succulent wild women parties if you ever knew that book.

Elizabeth: Let me think, yeah, SARK right?

Darla: Yeah.

Elizabeth: I’ve never read it. Do you ever do this? When something sounds a lot like what I do, I don’t look at it.

Darla: You just assume you’ve got it?

Elizabeth: No, I just actually don’t want the creative conflict. Like literally if someone were to come to me and be like, “Well, that’s just like this person so and so.” I could be like, “Never read it.” You know what I mean?

Darla: Got you. Well, that was a long time ago for me.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Darla: So Costa Rica, how was it for you?

Elizabeth: I’ll be straight up with you Darla, I didn’t love it. For one, I don’t love Costa Rica. I know a lot of people do.

Darla: I’ve never been actually.

Elizabeth: Well, and then also, so my thing was, I was thinking about the experience. I travel a lot for a lot of things and planes, trains and automobiles is one of my least favorite things. So I chose a retreat center, which is a great place, that was relatively close to the airport because I didn’t want people to have to travel from wherever the hell they were coming from, and then have to be in a car, taxi, or bus, or van for another three or four hours. Which the most beautiful retreat centers in Costa Rica, that’s the case.

For me, I didn’t want that to be part of the experience I was creating. But I do wonder if there would be a significant difference if there was because excursions weren’t really a thing there, and I think that’s what some people are interested in doing when they go to Costa Rica.

Darla: Why did you pick Costa Rica? Do you remember?

Elizabeth: I actually think I was originally inspired because a friend of mine had gone to a retreat at this place, and the place sounded really great. So I think that’s why I picked it.

What I did like about it though was just having more time with folks and giving them more space to integrate. I liked running a morning session and an evening session, getting together for lunch, but then they had all this space to get a massage or have a treatment, or just have time to themselves. Whether they wanted to be socializing or on their own, because I think that’s also part of a retreat is to get some freaking space to yourself. Because to me it’s not a retreat if it’s an immersion, right? If it’s like you’re just going to be from morning to evening with no space for yourself, there should be some aspect of it that almost feels a little bit like a vacation.

Darla: Let’s talk about space. So that’s one of the things that you told me you’re really passionate about that is something that you’ve committed to mastering. It’s one thing to have space in the agenda, but it’s another thing to hold space for people. Tell me, what does that mean for you, to hold space?

Elizabeth: So the words that immediately come to mind for me are like a prioritization of divine witnessing where people get to come and literally be held. And part of being held is being seen, it’s being witnessed, it’s being met where they are. It’s not holding an agenda over their heads. It’s really centering the people in whatever experience they’re having in your container. And this is one of my facilitation pet peeves is when people want people to be on board with the experience that they want folks to be having because guess what, that’s not how it works. People are going to come have whatever experience they need to have, and it’s often not going to line up with your agenda.

Darla: How have you seen that show-up?

Elizabeth: I think the primary way that it shows up is in people’s resistance to the experience. And listen, someone’s coming to a retreat, they’re coming to that depth and intensity of a container, they’re going to have hell of resistance because it’s part. Like they’re coming into a transformational container so their stuff’s going to come up. And so it might be, someone might be … Oh, I’ll give you a great example. I remember in 2015 I was running these Untame Yourself weekends. And they were more immersions than retreats. And there was one woman in my group, there were six women who I could tell was having an absolutely miserable experience the whole time. And I had to just let her be miserable. Because we’ve all done this if you run a retreat before where you spot that one person and then all of the sudden it’s like you’re only talking to that person, but everyone else is having a fine time. So I just, I let her be in whatever she was in. I didn’t try to fix her or change her, and I certainly didn’t cater to her.

Eight months later I get one of my favorite thank you cards I’ve ever received in my life from her being like, “I came there with the expectation of having these break throughs and this life altering weekend experience and that is not what happened. I was pissed off, I was resentful. I was feeling like I wasted my money and my time. But then over the last eight months, the seeds that were planted were like embers. The healing I’ve experienced, even my health,” like this was a person who had a health condition where she was in the hospital almost monthly. And since she had come to that weekend, she hadn’t actually been to the hospital in eight months. So something was happening, right, some alchemy was taking place. It just wasn’t happening on the timeline that she was expecting it to have.

And so this woman went on, she did my teacher training for Wild Soul Movement. She’s been an incredible teacher, an incredible member of my community for years now. So we’re in 2019, four years and counting now. So that’s part of it is truly letting people be where they are and not making it wrong or bad.

If someone’s having some kind of traumatic experience, we do need to, this isn’t about catering to a person, this is about taking them aside and being like, “What do you need? Support? Taking care of it.” But also being aware of that, if you’re a good space holder and facilitator, you do not let one person’s experience derail everyone else’s experience.

Darla: Is that something that you feel you came by naturally, or is that something you learned the hard way?

Elizabeth: I did not learn it the hard way in my own spaces. I would say I learned it the hard way by going to other stuff, and being on the receiving end of it where someone wants to center someone and then everyone else leaves feeling like, “This isn’t what I came for. Like I didn’t pay to come, I came to receive. I didn’t come to hold space for one person.” And that’s fine if that’s communicated, that that’s the kind of container it is. But if that’s not communicated, and then that’s what ends up happening … And that happened to me a lot actually when I was living in North County, San Diego and going to a lot of different kinds of circles and “conscious spiritual events”. It’s like I came here to have an experience, I didn’t come here to … I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t asked if it might be okay if I wanted to hold space for someone to have a deep traumatic release. I’m not qualified for that at the time. You know what I mean?

So that’s how I learned that, and from literally hating and leaving a lot of experiences like that. I was like, “Oh hell no. That’s not ever going down in my space.”

Darla: Awesome, and well what I’m hearing you say is the energy of non-resistance is really important.

Elizabeth: Yeah, and just allowing people to have their experience with guidelines and discernment.

Darla: Yeah, yeah and the woman that you talked about, did you ever, did she ever process it with you after or it was just like …

Elizabeth: No, she also, I will say my containers into my work, I call my people spiritually curious. They’ve already done work, they have their own tools and because I am a boundaried person, I tend to attract people who have a pretty high level of personal responsibility, and I always let people know. Like I’m available so if they need something I’m like, “Come ask me.” I can’t help you with something if I don’t know what’s going on.

Darla: Yeah, absolutely. And I know, for me I know I’ve been in my own growth opportunity in retreat where knowing someone’s not getting it and they’re not going to and they’re not actually committed to, they’re not really interested in getting the outcome. And letting that be okay, or letting them leave. I’ve given a refund and said, “I don’t think you’re ready for this. Like, here, take your money.” But yeah, I’ve also had those evenings between days of the retreat where you go to bed, where I went to bed thinking about someone and wondering, “How am I going to get them to get it?” And that’s not fun.

Elizabeth: No, and there’s always, I feel like there’s a really elegant way to address the things that you suspect are happening for folks.

Darla: 100%.

Elizabeth: And you know if you’re feeling this or you’re thinking this, or if this is coming up, and that person can either identify with it or not, you know, and offer solutions or ideas for how to be in the experience without necessarily doing unnecessary processing and hijacking everyone else’s experience to address that.

Darla: Beautiful. So I am, there’s a lot of things you touched on that I want to kind of circle back to. But you’ve done, do you know how many retreats you’ve done?

Elizabeth: No, I can’t count.

Darla: A lot right?

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Darla: What are some tips that you have for people, and especially you go to different locations, you travel. You talked about wanting to make it accessible for people. And I know you’ve also trained other people to do this work. So what are some of the main nuggets you’ve learned that could help someone who’s maybe been doing one on one work or they’re just, they’ve gotten the nudge to host retreats but they’re not sure where to start? 

Elizabeth: Main thing, know thyself, know what you want to do. Length of a retreat, that was one thing when I did the retreat in Costa Rica. It was four days. I knew I didn’t want to do a full week. Then a few years later when I ran teacher training I did full week and I was like I’m never doing that again. It’s too long for me. So I love shorter things, three days. Like a two and a half or a three day experience.

Elizabeth: I love, again as I mentioned, I don’t love the details. So if you’re not in a position to pay someone, if you’re not a details person like me and you are not in the position to pay someone to handle that stuff for you, create a situation where people take care of the details themselves and price accordingly. So when I would do my immersions, which are kind of like retreats, I let people take care of their own lodging and I would handle some of the meals. We would do dinner together on the first night and then lunch together day two and day three. And I loved that because it also really honored people who are introverted and want to stay on their own, people who maybe wanted to room up, someone who wanted to have a luxury get away experience, someone who wanted to stay on someone’s couch in an Air BnB. And I priced accordingly and that was …

Darla: Would you get a space at a hotel or more like a funky meeting room?

Elizabeth: No, so I would get an Air BnB, or like my friend Heather in North County, San Diego, in Vista. So actually by the way I’ll plug the Momma Yurts. Anyone who’s interested in hosting something in San Diego, it’ll be a bit farther from the airport but the Momma Yurt, it’s, I think you can just go to Momma Yurt, is literally one of my favorite places on the planet to host anything. So beautiful, so amazing. Heather’s property is just divine, it’s so unbelievable. People can come do the food.

So for those, yeah. I really like doing things where I just take care of the gathering place and people take care of their own lodging and things. But next year I’m actually creating a much higher level experience, but I have a team who can handle the details and almost be like concierge for everyone who’s going to be coming.

So this is what I’m saying. Not only meet people where they are, meet yourself where you are and create and experience. Because the other thing is this. If you’re the space holder, you can’t be the person that people are texting on the way there if they’re messing up their directions. So either refer them to the space, have the space handle that, call the retreat center for that stuff, or an assistant or someone, or a retreat doula or whatever the hell you want to call it. So that’s a big thing. Know yourself.

Darla: I’m just thinking. I’ve got to give it a better name. We just call it back of room support. How horrible is that?

Elizabeth: As if people care. They do what they need to do, who cares what you call it? Who cares? But what’s your genius, what is your genius? You should be doing those things and to the best of your ability dishing off everything else.

Darla: And I really want …

Elizabeth: Expectation.

Darla: I want people to get that because so many people start and say, “I’m just going to do it myself,” which his fine. I still, I have a retreat coming up. I found the venue myself. I spent hours searching online.

Elizabeth: I like doing that.

Darla: I like it and I’m particular. And so don’t try to do the retreat itself without support for you.

Elizabeth: Yeah, yeah, or if you are it just needs to be, what you’re responsible for needs to be so simple that it’s not going to be distracting from what you actually, people are paying to come receive from you. And listen, here’s something that I do. I tell people, “I’m not a details person. So here’s all the information you get from me and if there’s something you haven’t received, you’ve got to take care of it. Like feel empowered to use this as part of your growth experience to handle your time, handle your rental car, handle this. Know here’s what you’re getting from me and here’s what you’re not. And if that’s not what you’re looking for, it’s totally cool. There’s a bajillion retreats available.”

Darla: Non-attachment.

Elizabeth: Yeah, yeah I’m 1000% percent cool with not being for everyone. The other thing I want to caution people against is if you went to a retreat that you loved, and you’re trying to replicate that experience, really check in with yourself if you’re built to replicate that experience. And just because you loved it doesn’t mean other people will love it. You’ve really got to look at am I doing this just because it was so meaningful and impactful for me. That’s not necessarily the reason to do it. It really might not be who you are.

Darla: Yes, that’s such great advice. Know thyself.

Elizabeth: Yeah, it’s so big, so, so big. And listen, and everything is like, when you’re first starting out everything’s an experiment. You’ll learn. There are plenty of things that I’ve done and been like, “Well, never doing that again.” I wouldn’t have known without trying it on.

Darla: What are some of those things?

Elizabeth: Like the Costa Rica retreat. Going that far away for that long, for that particular experience. It was amazing, but there’s a reason why I’ve never done it again. It didn’t feel worth it. It’s also, I know it’s your show, I would love to ask you a question.

Darla: Yeah.

Elizabeth: Like the stress, when I look at the opportunity cost of that, the profit on that to me was not worth the hours spent there or prepping and filling the retreat. Having to get people, like you have to give a deposit before you even get paid, unless you pre-sell it. I mean, and these are the logistical things, which often for me I’m like …

Darla: No, this is awesome.

Elizabeth: I’m never super interested in having to lay out all kinds of money before it comes in. That’s not something I love.

Darla: So I love this conversation about the length of the retreat because here’s what I believe and what I teach. And I do some international. I’ve done Italy a couple of times, I’ve done Mexico a couple of times. I did one in London, and those are usually four and a half days. So like a dinner and then four days. And then maybe if everybody’s still around we’ll have breakfast, but it’s not even part of the program. And that for me feels, three days feels too short when you’re flying far. But for me, kind of like you, if it goes much longer … I mean there’s plenty to fill the space and that’s great, but people need to jump off and go back and be in their own energy field.

Elizabeth: Yes.

Darla: We need to integrate because I mean that’s the whole thing. The retreat will wake you up, but then you have to actually go integrate and hold that energy back in your own life. And as the leader, however good your boundaries are, at a certain level the energy is running through you as the leader as you’re holding that space. So that’s not necessarily healthy to do for long periods of time unless you have two days off and you’re going to do this thing, and then we come back together or something like that.

Elizabeth: Or if it’s like a collaborative where you’re not running every session. Other people are coming in.

Darla: Exactly.

Elizabeth: I want to say something on something you just said. I do, so I primarily now love the shorter retreats, two and a half or three and a half days. And when I was doing the two and a half though, I liked doing Thursday, Friday and then half day Saturday so people had the rest of Saturday and if they wanted they could travel then on Sunday. I do not love, so one of the things to consider is how the people are integrating, how are people getting back into their life and also making sure that you address that at the end of the retreat. Because nothing to me is more of a disservice than if something ends on a Sunday, people have to go back to life on Monday.

Darla: Yeah.

Elizabeth: Flush the experience down the toilet at that point. And so even in prepping people, if you can give … And time is a thing. Time is an immense privilege. So I know it’s not going to be for everyone, but if you could just prep people to be like, what is the time that you’re going to have to yourself. Travel doesn’t count because travel can be unexpectedly so stressful, out of your control. So where is the little window that you have, or larger window if you know that you’re someone who needs more processing and integration time. Like how are you setting yourself up to be able to integrate.

Darla: Yeah, yeah that’s awesome. And to teach that is so important, and that’s something that I saw modeled really well from my early mentors of like on the last day always talking about, “This is what it’s going to …” I teach a thing called The Cycle of Proving, which is you see this vision and you start to move toward it and inevitably something’s going to show up to validate your fear and it’s going to make you go, “Oh,” it’s either proving, it always has something to do with proving Mom or Dad right or wrong. It’s like some nuance of that comes up that stops people. And when you know it’s going to happen when you go home, your spouse is going to say, “Huh,” or something. The car has an unexpected expense, like whatever it is. Something will happen and that’s your opportunity to say, “Hey, I can give myself a new experience. I don’t have to behave in the old way.”

Elizabeth: Yeah, that’s cool. And just rest, right? Also reminding people that no matter what is the container, there’s so much happening on energetic levels. And just because we can’t see that doesn’t mean that we don’t need recovery time. I think people really underestimate that rest in and of itself is a form of integration.

Darla: Well, we don’t do a very good job with rest, right? I imagine that you must do some work around that, helping people with their feminine embodiment.

Elizabeth: I mean, and obviously too depending on the nature of the retreat, sometimes the retreat in and of itself is quite restorative. And so to need rest after a restorative experience might not be as much as if someone goes to a retreat to learn something, or it’s like a business retreat or whatever.

Darla: Yeah, so yeah. So that’s international and then domestic, I teach people to do two and a half days to start. And then if you want to make it longer, great. Mine are three days now, typically three full days. We end at like four on the third day because really at that point people start to be filled up. And whatever the length of the container, and I know you know this, but I’ll share kind of how I talk about it, it’s one transformation. We might pick up little additional information or tips or thoughts or ideas, but each person is really coming to integrate one new vibrational up level through the experience. Whether it’s two and a half days or four and a half days or ten days, there’s a theme. And it might be easier to hold if you’re in it longer, but I don’t necessarily know that that’s true.

Elizabeth: I think it depends on the person, depends on the other work that they’ve done leading up to it, where they’re at. I feel like there’s a million things that factor into that.

Darla: So it comes back to exactly what you said, which is know yourself and really design something that you want to lead.

Elizabeth: Yes, I feel the same way about online programming too. I know it’s different and that’s not what we’re talking about, but literally in anything, any container you’re going to hold. Make it a container that you want to hold and hopefully you have the freaking skills capacity and ability to hold as well.

Darla: Yeah, I’m just thinking of the masculine/feminine or I always talk about it as left brain/right brain.

Elizabeth: Similar.

Darla: The moment we get into, “Oh, this would be a good idea,” we’re in our head. And so your work is all about being embodied and being in the creative.

Elizabeth: Mm-hmm.

Darla: So what advice would you have for someone to kind of get in that energy or that flow to be able to decide what their retreat is about, or their container?

Elizabeth: Have an embodiment practice. You know I created a movement practice six years ago now, literally almost on the nose six years ago, called Wild Soul Movement. It’s a sensual movement practice, combines movement and mantra and meditation. And the point is to get out of the head and into the body because I’m not saying ditch the head, nor am I demonizing the minds. I’m not into that. What I am saying is we need to switch out which we think we should be hailing at the source of the deepest wisdom.

Elizabeth: The deepest wisdom comes from the body, and then you farm it up to the mind to go, “All right, how do I pull this off?” Genius intellect. How can we use the mind to serve the wisdom of the body. And one of the things the body will do for us, it’s not like the idea is necessarily going to come from the body, but as we’re having the idea, this is like the collaboration, as we’re having the ideas which sometimes come from feeling the inspiration and the resonance in the body when you see something outside of yourself. Or when you have an experience so often, the first point of body wisdom is resonance.

You’ll get a chill, a shiver. You might have tears of truth. Like something in your body is going, “Oh, pay attention to that,” or, “That resonates,” or, “That’s inspiring me,” or like, “Let me put that in my mind grapes,” if anyone watches 30 Rock. And you roll it around and see what I might be able to do with that. That could be an ingredient to a recipe that I’m really excited to bring into the world.

And so then as you’re moving through the ideation and whatever, bringing it to life, just feeling, at each point feeling for what’s a yes and what’s a no. So people can, if they go to … I don’t know if I have the yes/no truth practice. If you go to I know we have a morning ritual there and I know we have energy hygiene practices. We should also have some embodiment practices over there. I’ve updated some things over the last little bit of time. But to just be able to know, to use your body like a tuning fork. What feels like a yes, what feels like a no. So as you’re brainstorming, you’re not just logic-ing your way through, you’re actually feeling for yes, there’s resonance. Okay, let me run with that.

Darla: That’s awesome guidance. I love it so much. So one of the things you mentioned Elizabeth is pricing and I think that could be a fun conversation too. So you said, “If I really priced it as what it’s worth, it would be $1 million and no one would come.” And we know a true shift, energetic shift that we embody can change everything so it’s priceless. So what’s been some of your experience with pricing? And there isn’t a right answer. I have different philosophies that I can share, but what’s been your experience?

Elizabeth: First of all trial and error, like you’re not going to know until you do it. So how do you know you undercharged, because like a day or two into it you’re like, “Damn, I undercharged.” One of the things that I say, which applies to this conversation, but also applies to many things in life is at any point if you feel resentful, it’s an indicator that you’ve over given. So if you find yourself, and a lot of people don’t want to cop to this so feel free to keep it to yourself, but if you’re doing work like this you have felt this as some point. If you are resenting the people in front of you, you under charged. You under charged or you’re just over giving.

There’s a disproportionate, you are giving too much and it’s not about the people. These are the wrong people. You either undercharged or you’re over giving. If there’s resentment, that’s what’s happening in some capacity. They could be a million reasons for it.

Darla: Yeah, beautiful.

Elizabeth: You’re doing too much. Maybe you’re handling all the details and you shouldn’t so you really feel like you’re working too much or too hard.

And then on the other side of that is again, we have to charge enough that people will show up fully. If we undercharge, people might not really show up and do their work. I know personally the things that I’ve invested more in, I’m like extracting every last drop out of that experience. And there’s things that if I didn’t, I might not even show up to a day of it because I’m like, “Eh, whatever.” So there is that part where the investment creates skin in the game. The problem with only looking at that aspect is investment is so relative. What’s a lot to one person is nothing to somebody else.

So there is something about knowing who your audience is. At least, I always think of that in a Bell curve. So we always hear people talk about the customer avatar. Who’s the one person you’re talking to? I’m like listen, I’m probably talking to a range of three people, and the majority of the people I’m talking to are in the center of the Bell curve. So my Bell curve, the center of the Bell curve are spiritually curious people. They’re already open, they’re already doing their work. So on the ends of the Bell curve for me are like spiritually skeptical, and then on the other end are the spiritual by-passers who think they’re super evolved and enlightened, but they’re really not actually doing their work. Every once in a while an outlier ends up in my space, but for the most part it’s the middle of the Bell curve.

Darla: Yeah, well and I’m curious too. So I teach people what I call desire based pricing. So desire is of spirit, it’s like if it comes through that there’s a desire for a certain lifestyle, to live in a certain place, it’s not coming from your head or your ego, but it’s really coming from your truth, like I’m being called to up level in this way, then your pricing of all of your offerings needs to reflect that so that you’re able to actually fulfill on that because that’s not coming through by accident. Spirit needs you to be there at that place or at that level, or at this event or that maybe you didn’t want to pay for but you’re going to figure out how to budget because spirit wants you there. Like those things are signals to up level your pricing.

And there is some math, we’ve got to do some math around that and understand our expenses and what do we need to charge and where are we making money in the overall scheme of our business. But I like to come from desire because then it’s not coming from comparing. We can go do internet searches and find retreats in all different price ranges.

Elizabeth: That’s a slippery, dangerous, and often inappropriate slope.

Darla: Yeah, but that’s what most people do. What’s the going rate?

Elizabeth: I’ve done it.

Darla: Okay, let’s do that. And then you also, yeah, I mean you don’t want it to be coming from that comparison, and you also really don’t want to be thinking what can they afford. Because like you said, if someone can afford it …

Elizabeth: That’s where I drown a lot.

Darla: And it’s totally, like you said, it’s dependent on your star client and it’s dependent on your mission, and how do you need them to show up.

Elizabeth: One of the ways that I’ve, like if anyone listening has struggled with this too, I struggle with this all the time because accessibility is so important to me. I like to have, it’s not really a scholarship unless you’re allocating resources from somewhere else to pay for someone’s spot. So in my business now I call it gather up pricing where there are a certain amount of spaces reserved for people who will not pay full price. I have an application for stuff like that. And some experiences it’s not available for because it’s just not appropriate for the container and the energy exchange. But when it’s not appropriate in the space, I’m taking money from that and putting it somewhere else that ultimately is feeding into something else.

Darla: Some kind of giving back.

Elizabeth: Yeah, but you just said … Go ahead.

Darla: Well, and what was the name of the conference, decolonizing wealth. I’m sure it relates to this idea, right? Yeah.

Elizabeth: Say that again. You cut out for a second.

Darla: You have a commitment to creating equal opportunity for people from all backgrounds. And so that’s something that’s important to you, and that is tricky to balance because when someone’s not committed to their transformation, the moment they bump up against it, they’re going to revert. Commitment can come in different ways.

Elizabeth: Yeah, yeah, yeah that’s the thing. So one of the ways that I’ve resolved this conflict within myself because often I’ve cut off my nose to spite my face around this and undercharged or not, I’ve done this a few times. I have a fully fleshed out business model. I have offerings where it’s much more appropriate to give discounts and gather up pricing and scholarships and I have some where it’s just not. Because the reason, higher touch also requires higher ticket, higher investment, in some cases. And so I’m able to feel good about that and an integrity because of all the other ways I create experiences that people can access. Because listen, someone can’t necessarily afford the retreat, they can’t necessarily afford to travel either. So it’s just not the appropriate offering for some folks.

Darla: Exactly.

Elizabeth: And I can’t be the one to decide that because this is so personal. I’ve had times in my life Darla, especially in my twenties when I had no business scraping together the money for some of the things that I figured out how to do it for. But just because I did that, I’m never going to shame someone who is not doing that. I’m not going to make it about their level of commitment or whatever. I do not believe in that shit because people have so many different experiences and different obligations, responsibilities.

Darla: Well, and their commitment to themselves doesn’t necessarily mean they have to come to your retreat.

Elizabeth: Exactly, that’s so arrogant.

Darla: That conversation might help them learn, “Oh okay, this is what I really need to step into and it’s not this retreat. It’s something else.”

Elizabeth: Yes, I’ll give an example. I’m running an experience next year called Sacred where I’m actually going to take, it’s a container, multiple retreats for a small group of high powered women, people who are like, either have a leadership role, whether they run a business, are an executive. They have a lot of responsibility and they are often feeling like people don’t meet them “at their level,” which is again not based on any moral thing. It’s based on who they are and what they do in the world and just the sheer nature of their roles.

So I had a client who’s come to other things with me before, message me and be like, “I am so drawn to this.” It’s a five figure invest, she’s like, “I cannot swing it at this moment. But what I got to thinking about was what draws me in about this experience and how I can create something like that for myself in my life right now.” So she’s going to go on a trip with some girlfriends, she’s planning a couple of things. And I’m like this is service, right, just because she’s not coming to my thing, she still was able to go, “Oh, I’m so drawn to this. Look at what I could create for myself.” And that was enormously empowering for her. Mission accomplished.

Darla: It could be a spark for her to say, “I want to be that person who this is the right offer for.”

Elizabeth: Uh-huh.

Darla: Let me be ready for next year, or you know.

Elizabeth: Or be totally satisfied with what she created. And this comes from not having a scarcity mindset, being like, “Okay it wasn’t for her but I only need 12 women.”

Darla: Yeah, that’s beautiful. I love that example.

Elizabeth: Yeah.

Darla: I have one last question because I don’t know, but we’re friends on Facebook so I know some things. It seems like you’ve changed your audience over the years. Does that feel true to you?

Elizabeth: You know what’s so fascinating about my audience? A lot of them have changed with me. So I haven’t changed my audience, I’ve changed myself. So the people who want to come along for the journey keep coming, the people who don’t, peace out and go find what they need somewhere else. And then you know, new folks are popping up all the time. So that was not, that was by no function other than my own evolution.

Darla: It feels like you’ve positioned yourself more, I guess I kind of want to say mainstream versus the personal growth industry and coaches.

Elizabeth: That’s super interesting.

Darla: More any woman who wants to be more embodied and love herself more.

Elizabeth: Yeah, you know well one of the things that I realized is actually my work … That was just by nature realizing who was showing up. I did this massive survey of my audience in 2017, like a 40 question thing to be like who’s actually here because especially when you have an online platform, there are so many lurkers, there are so many people who are never going to comment, never going to message you, but they’re there. So I became really curious about who actually are my people because I know who shows up but I knew who I think they are.

Darla: Was it different than you thought?

Elizabeth: There were some differences. The biggest thing to me was actually realizing that I really don’t have newbies. I don’t need to speak to the newbie spiritual person. I really have people who are already on their journey. They have more than one foot on the path. So that was cool because I’m like, “Okay, great we can just go a little bit deeper.” And one of the other things was cool, my people are really, I want to say both emotionally and intellectually intelligent. A lot of marketing advice would be like, “Talk to your people like they’re a fifth-grader.” Just in terms of making sure you’re communicating where people will understand.

Darla: I’ve gotten that advice.

Elizabeth: And I’m like, my people don’t need that. That would actually be a disservice and very condescending to my people.

Darla: Thank you for saying that. I haven’t remembered that advice for so long, yeah. That’s terrible.

Elizabeth: And listen, in some industries with the level of consciousness where the work is functioning, totally appropriate.

Darla: Or if you’re wanting to bring in people who want to be spoken to at the fifth-grade level, right?

Elizabeth: Yeah, that is a thing to consider. And again, everything we’re saying here, I don’t say it with any judgment. People are who and where they are and that’s fine. Everyone’s work should be meeting people where they are. So yeah, those were two really interesting things.

Darla: That’s awesome. So Elizabeth, if people want to learn more, they can go to your website, And you mentioned earlier the forward-slash resources so I have pulled that up and guys you want to check this out. There are so many cool things here including your podcast.

Elizabeth: Yeah, we have our favorites there. It’s like 12 of our favorite episodes.

Darla: Yeah, and they’re so juicy.

Elizabeth: They really are. It’s a range of topics.

Darla: Yes, love race and liberation, energy matters, sex consent, and relationship dynamics, deeper dating, yeah. So guys, go check that out. And there’s also, so you know Elizabeth, there is a nine-minute morning ritual.

Elizabeth: You know, it’s on your own website.

Darla: Exactly, easy energy hygiene practices to clear negative energy from your field. So that’s awesome.

Elizabeth: Oh yeah, that’s right. And embodiment is not on there because we do an embodiment challenge every year in December.

Darla: Oh great, well this is perfect timing guys to get on Elizabeth’s list so you can be invited to that challenge in December.

Elizabeth: Oh yeah, actually and if you go to, that’s the list you want to be on to be invited to that challenge.

Darla: Oh great, beautiful. Thank you so much. Thanks for not just bringing your answers, but bringing your questions.

Elizabeth: I love this conversation, Darla. Thank you.

Darla: It’s so good. I love, people are having these questions and if we can free anybody to say you don’t have to have every answer, but you just need to follow your curiosity.

Elizabeth: Yeah, so good.

Darla: Amazing.

Elizabeth: Love this. Thank you so much. Thank you, everyone, for listening. Find me on Instagram. I’d love to chat with you all. Let me know what you thought of the episode, all that fun stuff.

Darla: Awesome, thank you, Elizabeth.

Have you been called to integrate retreats into the way you do business?

Are you a coach, consultant, creative, or healer who tends to be on the cutting edge with the way you work? Are you ready to integrate transformation into your offerings in a way that your clients get better results, faster, all while you simplify and leverage your time?

If so, it might be time to start leading transformational retreats. Transformational retreats are only going to get more popular as our world gets busier, and more and more people are opting to invest in experience and transformation over stuff and information.

If you’re a part of that shift and you want your live experiences to get traction now get our five-part starter kit today.

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