I Believed I Could and I Did
Theresa Polley
March 18, 2024
May 13, 2024
My Journey

In spite of hearing “you can’t“ throughout my life, in 2004 I dared to believe that I could. So I did. Creating what would become Retreat in the Pines, at a time when there was nothing else like it. For years I felt like I was moving backward instead of forward. I kept going. 

I was inspired to begin hosting yoga retreats after I was invited to teach at a fitness retreat in 2004. While I was disappointed at the “un-retreat” like weekend – a full schedule with non-existent free time, very little sleep, and highly restrictive meals (no coffee, no carbs, no fun!) – I was inspired. I allowed myself to dream of something better.

I wanted to create a “retreat like” experience, inviting guests to indulge in some of my favorite things – wine, coffee, chocolate and meals cooked from scratch – all as a complement to yoga, meditation and time in nature..

You can go as far as you dream, think and imagine. ~Lailah Gifty Akita

I hosted my first retreat in October 2004 - with two guests. That didn’t stop me.  All of those “you can’ts” inspired me to keep going.

I’m Not Afraid of Hard Work

When I first started out, I had no money and did everything myself. From teaching yoga to making meals (from scratch) to cleaning the property (which was humbling). Not having a maintenance man, I'd bring the lucky guy I was dating to help with any repairs. That seemed to work. At least for a little while.

I didn’t let the hard work or exhaustion stop me as I worked towards my dream. I was inspired to keep going after spending the weekend with amazing women. Plus I found exactly what my life was lacking along the way - community and connection with other women.

I Believe in What I’m doing

I started off by offering ridiculously low prices. When the time came to raise prices (about $50/guest) a frequent guest told me instead of raising the retreat price in order to hire someone to help me cook I should buy pre-packaged meals at Sam’s. That went against everything I stood for. I refused. Part of my vision was to make a home cooked meal for every busy woman. I never saw that guest again, but I've welcomed hundreds of guests over the years who love our made from scratch meals.

I Recognize My Value 

Not charging enough when I first started out was a symptom of me not valuing myself or my talents. As a woman, I’ve been told by society that my time and talents are not as valuable as a man's. 

I learned two valuable lessons 

  • People value what they pay for.
  • We teach people how to treat us. 

I’m Open to Try New Things 

I worry when I try something new it won’t work, yet I remind myself that not trying is not an option. If I try and it doesn’t work, I learn something. If I never try, I’ll never grow. Growth is everything.

The Pandemic was hard on all of us. In the early days, I was lost and completely panicked about everything. I made the decision to host “Retreat at Home.” I charged $10 for guests to join me on Zoom to do several yoga practices plus a meet and greet on Friday and closing circle on Sunday. It was a lifeline to a sense of normalcy for the guests, as well as myself. 

Nina suggested hosting Destination Retreats. At first I was hesitant, but she’s very convincing. She and I hosted our first beach retreat last May. So much fun! We'll do another one next year. Since then, Dayna and I hosted our first Wine Country Retreat in January. Michelle and I are hosting a Santa Fe Retreat in September. Dayna and I are going back to Sonoma next January.

I Give Myself Grace

I’ve made mistakes over the years - big and small -  more mistakes than I can even remember! In making mistakes, I learn valuable lessons. Some mistakes I had to make more than once. At the end of the day, I pick myself up, dust myself off and get right back out there. I remember that I'm doing the best that I can with what I have and I'm learning along the way.

I Take Time for What Matters Most

I hate the term work/life balance but a priority for me is to enjoy all of the wonderful pieces of my life. I don’t want to work all of the time. Before I got Mason that was my routine. Work, yoga and work some more. No way to live. Mason teaches me the value of the present moment every day. Time with my family and my friends is priceless. I never regret traveling and taking care of me and my needs. That allows me to keep going when challenges arise which they often do.

I'm so grateful for all of the women who've trusted Retreat in the Pines to come and share a weekend with us. I've witnessed first hand the power of community and connection. There is nothing better wherever you are on your journey.

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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