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April in Paris! Come With Me!


Many of us who grew up during the early women’s movement were told we could have it all. The reality is yes, we can have it all—just not at the same time—but working toward that goal can push us past the brink of running on empty. When’s the last time you did something special, even extravagant, to recharge your batteries? I don’t mean going to a conference, or a trip with your husband, but something that says, “I’ve raised my children; taught school; managed a company and put everything and everyone else before me? Now it’s my turn!”

If you’re like most women, the answer is never. What are you waiting for girlfriend?

When I read about An Extreme Self Care Retreat to Giverny and Paris, France, this April 22nd—29th, 2016, I knew it had my name on it. The retreat is led by Ann Hoffman-Ruffner, a Certified Brené Brown, Ph.D. Daring Way™ facilitator. Ann is also a Certified Martha Beck, Ph.D. Life Coach. Because I didn’t know Ann, I called her to learn more.

Ann Hoffman-Ruffner has been a therapist for over 25 years. Like many of us, she’s juggled a job, a husband, a teenage daughter, aging parents and outside commitments. It wasn’t until she went through Brené Brown and Martha Beck’s certification programs that she recognized her own life was out of balance.

“I didn’t realize what a huge impact Martha and Brené’s work would have on me personally,” Ann said. “We wear blindfolds about what’s important and armor up against each other, even our husbands and children. My ability to be vulnerable and authentic, joyful and playful was buried under so much armor.”

Since achieving her own ah-ha moment, Ann now helps women achieve those same breakthroughs by taking them on the trip of a lifetime. Ann gives women the tools to discover themselves; to open the door to the next chapter of their life. What does it look like, and how do I get there? Ann has seen, firsthand, that something important happens when women leave their homes and travel half-way around the world to experience life through a new window… when women give and receive courage from one another.

Ann’s Extreme Self Care Retreat appeals to me because I’m at a place where I want to do something just for me. Not 1010 Park Place related, but just for me. I know, all too well, tomorrow is promised to no one. I’ve survived breast cancer, the death of two husbands and my mother, and most recently, two moves in two weeks. I know that along with survival comes the end of many of our dreams. At the same time, we gain the knowledge that we can keep moving forward, but to what end? Where are we all going in such a hurry? Are we even on the right path, and if not, how do we find it? BTW, 1010 Park Place is my path, and I’m excited about what the future holds, but the idea of a pampered, self-exploratory trip to France, with a group of likeminded women, is too good to resist.

“One of the catalysts for growth and renewal is providing that safe place and sacred space we can fill ourselves back up,” Ann said. “Everything’s done for you on this trip. Everything’s taken care of. All you have to do is show up.

“On one of my previous trips we had a woman who’d been a CEO of various companies all her life. The first morning she looked at me and said, ‘I’m so excited. I’ve never had to be responsible for anything but me.’”

I’m that woman, so sign me up! April 22nd, I’m going to France with Ann Hoffman-Ruffner. Who’s coming with me?

PS: Just so you know, I’m not receiving a price break or compensation of any kind for writing this post or going on this trip. It’s something that appeals to me, and I wanted to share it with all of you.

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Hi Girlfriends,

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27 thoughts on “April in Paris! Come With Me!”

  1. Oh Brenda, it sounds wonderful. I wish I could go as well but with my daughter’s wedding in May it won’t be possible. I hope you have a fabulous time and I can’t wait to read your blog about it.

    • Helene,
      A wedding! How exciting! I want to hear more about that. I imagine you’ve been so busy.
      xoxox, Brenda

  2. I’m a fan of Ann’s, too. I would love to go to this retreat but, it’s not in my budget this year. But, it is on my to do list after the book is done. Have a great time and I’ll look forward to your posts!

    • Hi Barbara,
      LOL! I’m not sure a trip like this is EVER in my budget. I’m just going to do it!

  3. I am a huge fan of Brene Brown and have read some of Martha’s work too. Ann’s name is new to me. This sounds like an amazing opportunity. I wish it was in my budget. Enjoy Brenda!! I’m so happy you’re taking the time for yourself!!!
    XO, Jennifer

    • Jennifer,
      I’d been thinking about asking if you wanted to go, but was afraid your hip wasn’t ready for this. Budgets… That’s something I need to write about. With this trip, I’ve just closed my eyes and jumped.

  4. This is just what you need Brenda, divine intervention, you may call it? Can’t wait to hear the stories! I will be in Nairobi, Kenya same time—want to fly down and see East Africa too?

    • Hi Philippa,
      I haven’t decided whether you’ve been in Africa all this time, or you’ve been going back and forth? The self-care retreat is the only thing I’m scheduling for this trip.

      • I’m in Houston and will be going to Kenya in April. I was pulling your leg since I’m always inviting you to Africa!
        Have a great time in Paris!

    • Margaret,
      It just occurred to me the blinders we wear may be worse than blowing my budget on this trip. There! I’ve made an inner discovery already. Thank you!

  5. How beautiful for you, Brenda, and how wonderful for all of us as well, as I know we will be enriched by your experience. There is nothing more healing than a group of likeminded supportive women. This is why I love blogging. Blogland was the perfect distraction for me through “empty nest” and has lifted me through six years post breast cancer. Your 1010 reigns at the top of my blog roll.
    w / L

    • Hi Lynne!
      How great to hear from you! I’ve lost tract of your blog…. Please send me the link. Like you, blogging has gotten me through post breast cancer and other losses that blindsided me. I’m happy you like 1010PP:)

  6. Sounds wonderful, Brenda! Time to recharge and recenter! I am taking myself on a retreat of sorts-back to England for the month of June. Lots of driving around the southwest-but I do some of my best thinking behind the wheel 😉

    • Elizabeth,
      Do post lots of photos to Instagram! Think I said this before, but we should take a photo shoot adventure together… Just iPhones.

      • Yes Brenda! That would be lovely. Meet you in New York? Or I would love to show my first city, philly.
        As for pictures, I will post plenty, don’t worry. I hope you do the same!
        Last year I reposted some of my 2014 shots on Instagram-this link takes you to the last day. Scroll back for the the best of each day of the 6 week trip!

  7. Sounds like a terrific opportunity. I love Brene Brown and Martha Beck so there should be lots of good food for thought. I did an extreme self-care workshop with Cheryl Richardson years ago and it was life changing. I too have been through the grist mill and after so long in survival mode, it’s critical to take some time to envision the next exciting stage. And in Paris, no less! Enjoy!

    • Jen,
      Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve been reading some of your writing. Good stuff! Look forward to getting to know you better.

  8. This is awesome! i so want to go to Paris, it is on my bucket list. Add to it that it is a Brene Brown and Martha Beck retreat and you have the best of both worlds.. Have a wonderful time and tell us all about it.

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