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UPDATE - Debbie M -

Hi Matt

I'm excited to hear all about what your new project is all about! Anyways, here is a quick breakdown of a few successes I have had since the retreat I went to in San Diego, August 2015. 

- Since August 2015, I learned to let go of a lot of my friends and acquaintances that I hadn't realized were keeping me from growing as a person. I never realized that they were discouraging me to accomplish things in my life not because they were protecting me, but because they were really just jealous! When I figured out that all I needed was a stronger backbone and a few new friends from the Retreat to remind me of my own worth, my friendships quickly changed and it was suddenly so easy to apply what I'd learned at the Retreat to the way I approached my friends and relationships. My lesson here: It's much easier to not have to appeal to everyone to keep their attention: people will automatically be drawn to you if you have an exciting life worth being interested in! 

- Before going on the Retreat, my career was at a stand still. I was working an office job I didn't enjoy, and all the stressful responsibilities I consistently took on for 'extra credit' only made it more obvious to others around me that I was a work horse and I could handle having more work than everyone else despite no salary change. So, in turn that was what they did: pile on as much work as they could give me. On one hand, I was getting paid well at this job, and living in Vancouver made this a very hard feat to achieve. But the Retreat made me realize that I was way more than just a hard working gal who would never really get anywhere at a job like that so I ended up quitting and found a position at an architect firm where I'm currently working towards a marketing position in the next few weeks...! (I should probably mention that I've never taken a marketing class in my life, lol!) My new office is amazing, and I'm a million times happier here. I know for a fact that I wouldn't have been brave enough to leave the comforts of my old job if it wasn't for the Retreat. 

- I have also built my modeling reputation, one of my biggest goals coming back from the Retreat! I had just started modeling very shortly before going to San Diego and at the time, didn't fully have my heart into it. I wasn't confident enough yet, and I was also still painfully living through a really bad break up (which is mentioned a bit further below). Similarly with anything art-related, the beginning wielded a lot of rejection. It's hard to stomach, and I wasn't very motivated despite friends and family suggesting I go for it anyways. 2 years later, I can happily say that I am a full fledged, freelance model, not to mention I have my own fashion show I am producing in February in collaboration with a number of local artists that is keeping me quite busy at the moment! The Retreat gave me more confidence than any recruiting agent ever could, and it's surreal to think of how proud I am of myself and the achievements I've made along the way. (I've attached a few photos for you of some of the shoots I've done recently to this email that I'm really proud of. :D)

- I have also fully healed from a really painful break up that I didn't really know how to let go of before going on the Retreat. I had been suffering from the backlash of a lot of really poisonous things that had happened during that time and was really stuck in a bad place. This was a really big one for me because the frustration and negative space that I was left in from that experience had been ongoing for almost a year: in fact, this issue was probably 90% of the reason that convinced me I needed to go on this Retreat in the first place! I am so happy to say that my ex-boyfriend is now completely out of my life and all the demons have been expelled for good. I feel like I've figured out how to forgive him, and most importantly, how to forgive myself. When I came back from the Retreat, I stayed single for a year before my now-boyfriend came into my life. In fact, I say 'came into my life' because he really did just that! I didn't really have to do much of the work, and this relationship eventually made me realize just how easy all this should have been all along. My mom always said she prayed for an angel to help me heal and I really think he's that angel, simply because of how easy it all was. Maybe it was fate, or perhaps a bit of karma...I don't think I will ever know. But it's been a year and a half now and I still feel as giddy and as happy as I did when we first started dating. (The photo of the man in the purple blazer next to me in the orange dress is him! He's even modeled with me a few times!)

So those are some of the bigger milestones I feel the most proud of since the Summer of 2015! I still have a few big goals I would love to achieve, including starting my own salsa dance program and doing more charity work...but I'm not in a huge rush and I'm really excited about the things to come. 

I miss San Diego and the Retreat all the time, and I'm so thankful for the way you and Matt's team really changed my life. I like to think that maybe I could have done it without the Retreat, but the truth is that that reality is very hard to envision. 

Best of luck on your new project!