I dream a dream that comes back to me - Toni Morrison

As I start this post, I am sitting on my bed in my cabin thinking about all the peace and joy I experienced at Fever Dreams Collective. This women’s retreat brought me in community with people that I have never met before. Read on to see where this took place and what life lessons I took back with me to Chicago.

Westerbeke Ranch

Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma, California.
Discovering peace and joy at Westerbeke Ranch.

The setting for this retreat was at Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma, California. I was overwhelmed by all its beauty when I showed up last Wednesday. Their gorgeous flowers and greenery, cute cabins, relaxing pool area, and delicious food are just a few of the many amazing amenities they offer. I cannot say enough about the food! Each meal was a work of art and dessert came with every lunch and dinner. I am not a salad person but every salad they made was fresh and so tasty. My favorite dessert was their salted caramel pot de creme. (Can’t stop dreaming about that dessert!)

I stayed in a cabin with my new friend and soul sister Regine Rousseau. She is also from Chicago. We hit it off immediately and found that we had a lot in common. She is a talented poet and expert curator of wine. Check out her website here. Her poems are incredible and she shared one at one of our group sessions. I was blown away by her performance. I look forward to connecting with her more in the future.

Fever Dreams Collective Retreat

Peace and Joy at Fever Dreams by Kathrine Eldridge, Wardrobe Stylist

My good friend Alisha Sommer is one of the creators of this retreat. We were in a Mom’s group together before she moved to California. Her first go-round with this retreat went really well so her and her co-creator Jennette Nielsen scheduled another one. From what I saw on her Instagram, I knew I had to experience it for myself. Here is their description of what this retreat entails:

“A women’s gathering where we’ll explore, study, & investigate the constellations of, and intersections among: writing, aesthetics, handcrafting, ideologies, mythologies, photography, poetry, & nature.”

I joined 15 other fellow fever dreamers in several activities that were fun, engaging, and thought-provoking. We shared our hopes and fears with each other as we learned more about ourselves through discussion, contemplation, and writing. We had a morning, afternoon, and evening session each day with several breaks in between for meals and whatever we wanted to do on our own.

During these sessions we worked on creating our own dyed botanical shawls/scarves (they turned out beautiful!) and self-portrait collages. I am not a crafty person but I enjoyed every minute putting these together.

Botanically dyed scarves before unbundling.
My botanically dyed silk scarf from Fever Dreams retreat.

Jennette and Alisha really cared for each and every one of us. Every time we went to the Round Room for a session, there was some little gift waiting for us at our seats. Each little gift and poem they left at our cabin every morning was so thoughtful and life-giving.

There are two moments that really stuck out for me at the retreat. First was the movement classes early in the morning. Not many people went because they wanted to sleep. I’ve couldn’t break my early riser ways so I tried it out. It was the most freeing time for me because we just listened to beautiful music and moved our bodies in any way we saw fit. It sounds a little out there but I loved how relaxed and alive my body was. I might try to check out ecstatic dance classes in the future.

The second moment that stood out was when I got to share a recording that I made for a recent flute competition. The contemplative piece for solo flute that I shared was called Winter Spirits. I felt such joy revealing my months of hard work. Everyone was so appreciative of me sharing it and their reaction gave me confidence to push further with my playing. My cup is full.

Life Lessons

Fever Dreams Collective 2019

To sum up, I uncovered life lessons that I hope will stay in my heart.

We all have the similar fears and dreams and even though there are painful moments, we can rise above and become better people because of them.

I am enough and I am loved.

I want to share that love with others.

Most of the all, trust in the Lord and surrender.

If you’ve read this far, thanks for following me on this journey. My prayer for you is that you find some kind of community like this in your life to support you while you go through it’s ups and downs. Thanks to Alisha and Jennette for this unforgettable experience.