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A heartfelt letter of gratitude from a past Tuscany participant to her fellow retreaters

The following is a beautiful testament of how one woman was compelled to change her life top to bottom, after last year's retreat in Tuscany.  She recounts her journey, grateful to the dynamic and powerful group of women she found herself surrounded by last year.  While the setting and landscape of Tuscany is in and of itself an inspirational setting, coming together with other like-minded creatives conjures a sense of sacredness and community.  Things shift and get shaken up in all the best ways when we move in the direction of soul and spirit.  Alongside other soul seekers, creativity becomes a connecting point and catalyst for change.  As Tisha says below, "I didn’t know just how much of my Self I had given up over the years, but now I’m taking me back. You all have been a significant part of that."

Thank you, Tisha, for sharing.  We look forward to seeing you again this year in the very place where your process found wings.  And we look forward to meeting all the others who'll be there flying along with you.    


Dearest Women,

I’m sitting here thinking about how different my life is now from this time last year. So many things have happened since then. In November I wrote and told you how I was in the process of dismantling my life, maybe it would be better said, building a new one.

As you know, I sold my house in January and downsized by 2000 square feet. I love my little garage apartment and surprisingly, have not missed my dream home all that much. Very little in fact. It was my intent at that point to continue writing, return to Italy, and then decide where to go from there.

I had been playing with the idea of going back to school, but I wasn’t going to make any decisions until I returned from Italy. That changed one night as I sat in a writer’s conference at a local college. I felt myself cross some internal threshold, saying to myself, “I’m going back to school.”

That night I came home and started looking at MFA programs. I went through all of them and finally culled them down to four and eventually applied to two: Goddard and Spalding. Waiting to hear from them, I was sure it had been weeks, when it had really been maybe 10 days. I tried to distract myself with golf and writing.

In the midst of that I was also wrestling with another huge decision. It seemed important to deal with that before I heard on school, so I told my boss I was leaving counseling. It is still hard to say those words out loud. When I moved back from Maryland in 2010, I thought I would have this job and my house for the rest of my life. Little did I know.

This past week I officially accepted Goddard’s invitation to their creative writing program. I can hardly believe that they accepted me and that I’m going back to school at 47. While Spalding was a great contender and even though I haven’t heard from them yet, I decided Goddard is where I really want to be.

The end of July will mark the end of 15 years of counseling. After that I will go to Italy for a short jaunt around Rome and Florence, ending on the Tuscan hillside where this all began, then begin school in the new year.

In the mean time I will spend a lot of time playing golf, writing, wrapping up work, Italy, and trying to get some other small trips in before school. This next month golf will take up a lot of my time as I won my first ever golf tournament yesterday. It was an important one too, our chapter championship, which allows me to go on to regionals in June and potentially to nationals in the Fall.

When I said yes to Italy last Spring I also revived my love of golf and joining this women’s league has afforded me the opportunity to do things that I didn’t do when I was a teenager. I will always regret not playing competitively back then, but I’m doing it now.

I didn’t know just how much of my Self I had given up over the years, but now I’m taking me back. You all have been a significant part of that.

Thank you, you dear, dear women for coming into my life. I will be forever grateful.

Your faces still look at me from my desktop and I can’t help but smile.

You are in my heart.