Hi! I’m Ashleigh Peltier. If you’re curious about who is behind this and how Wholehearted Gatherings came to be, read on!
Wholehearted Gatherings would not exist if I hadn’t personally been led through a season that forced me to my knees with the need for retreat.
In my late 20’s, happily married and settled into a new home, ready to start a family, we made some decisions that in hindsight I see were a little crazy. At the time, we just felt like “normal” people with big dreams, stepping into the hustle of life that seems so expected in our culture. We added one thing on at a time, but soon the pile of responsibilities and burdens was stacked so high I lost the ability to see my path clearly. Sound familiar?
Within the course of about a year, I took a big demanding job and my husband was accepted into law school. We decided he would balance part-time work with classes and extracurriculars so we could also cash flow law school, pay off all our loans and our house, and come out the other side of this season debt free and ready for anything. I would work to pay for it and handle everything else at home. I thought I should be able to do it all. We had one baby, then another. With two kids, 2 and under, a full time job with a long commute and all the responsibilities of the household on my plate while my husband worked long hours and studied late into the night, every night, for years… I hit a wall.
I needed to refuel. I needed to refocus. I was frustrated because I’m just not willing to live that way, scheduled to the brink without room for the rich beauty of life that fills up my soul. We weren’t created for long stretches of survival mode like that… I believe there is so much more potential for us if we’re just filled up enough and can see clearly enough to grasp and go after our purpose.
So I had this thought: “I need a retreat. I’m going to just plan one and invite people and see what happens. If no one else comes, that’s ok. I’ll go by myself.”
What has happened since simply blew me away.
Women actually came. Lots of women (hundreds, now). Incredible women (I’m humbled and honored to know). We’ve laughed so hard we cried. Cried so hard we laughed. Howled under the moon in the middle of the wilderness. Journaled and prayed and meditated our way to unlocking life-changing “a ha” realizations — ‘that’s what I was missing, that’s my calling, that’s what I was meant to do’ kind of things. Created art. Wrote poems. Read whole books. Found our faith. Learned new skills. And there’s a magic in the air when women come together in a safe space to simply be, follow our instincts in every single moment, nap and run and cross things off our bucket lists together, ask questions, encourage one another, and just live the deepest most satisfying truth. Ask someone who’s been — there’s simply nothing like it.
My role in this is simple. I’ll take care of all the planning and details, and I’m really focused on making them convenient and affordable so it’s easy for women everywhere, from all walks of life, to say “YES” to taking care of themselves.
What I’m most excited about is this crazy vision that we take this time away to recharge and breathe and get some perspective on our lives, and doing it regularly transforms us — helps us see our path more clearly, fills us up so we can love others well and bring our best selves to everything we do. Picture total freedom to listen to what your heart and body need at every moment of the day, no schedule to follow or expectations. Nap, knit, read, canoe, dogsled, hike, craft, journal, laugh, eat super awesome food, drink wine/coffee/tea, do yoga, climb a mountain, get a massage. We all deserve to hold space for that. In fact, I think we need to.