t e s t i m o n i a l s
"Before my trip to Greer I had heard about NINE through my cousin Lauren. She had attended that previous year and had so many interesting things to say about her experience. I'm not going to lie, I thought she might have lost her marbles, and I wasn't sure how to tell her (jk). In all realness I was jealous of the experience she described. I was mostly drawn to the idea of making really great friends and getting to reset in the woods. She convinced me to sign up about a month before the Greer trip and I was naturally apprehensive. So I won't know a single person? I am paying to be open and honest with strangers? What are we going to talk about? Energy healer who? I had no idea what was in store. It has been a few weeks since my return and let me tell you the difference I see in myself is indescribable. I couldn't have imagined how the retreat would unfold. I can't describe each day and their activities, and how each impacted me specifically, because it was the retreat as a whole that shifted me. I was a person filled with fear; the type of fear that stays with you day and night. I was a person who needed a plan, to be prepared for every outcome. It controlled my life in a way that was preventing me from being...ME! After three days of gut wrenching honest and restorative meditation/yoga I felt different. I felt optimistic and ready to create the boundaries in my life necessary to thrive. I felt support, trust, compassion, empathy, strength, love and fierceness being amongst all those amazing women. Our time was sacred and the energy we created will never leave me. Not only did I make personal changes, I also learned about branding and building my business from strong, powerful women who I truly admire. NINE was something I didn't know that I needed, but am forever grateful for. NINE gave me the tools to flourish and I am never looking back."
"NINE shook me to my core. It made me rethink how I was feeling, living, and reacting to life. I was able to be vulnerable with complete strangers in a way that I am not even sure I have had with my best friends. The women I shared this experience with are now the community that I was yearning for. I truly feel if you have an opened mind going into Nine, your experience will be transformative."
"What was most surprising to me about NINE was the rawness. We felt everything to the core. Love, fear, anxiety, sadness, loss. We felt it all so intensely for one another, not just ourselves. Walls were torn down to expose what we all needed to let go of. It was nothing short of magical. Something happened in those woods with those women that is changing the world...one wild woman at a time."
"There's a reason why you keep coming back to NINE and its not for the getaway from reality. It's actually for the ability to connect with your reality in a deeper way. NINE for me will always be that space in my life where I can connect deeply to myself when I'm feeling lost, out of balance, or simply needing a little bit of clarity. It's life changing every single time. As a woman we continuously serve others and NINE is a chance for us to take care of ourselves and to be nurtured by other women who simply want to give and receive equally. It's chance to fill my cup in ways that nothing else around me can."
"I never had sisters growing up. Because of that, I think I was more closed off to the idea of a large group of girlfriends. It scared me. It overwhelmed me. Yet I was always longing for a sister. Nine brought me 35 sisters. Some like me, some the complete opposite of me but all have become a part of me. My heart is massively full of LOVE for each one. An experience I will never forget and one that I needed more than I thought. I am forever a ninesister!"
"When I first discovered the NINE retreat, I was in a place I can only describe as dark. I was full of unanswered questions I had been asking myself for months; Was I doing/being all that I could as a mother, wife, friend and designer? Had I been honoring myself as a human being that thrives on creativity, sore muscles and quiet moments? For each of these questions, I would answer “No”, most definitely not. I wasn’t creating for the sole purpose of creating. I wasn’t running, paddling or writing and I definitely was not getting moments of solitude. I was a well formed ball of stress. Since becoming a mother three years ago, I have felt like I’ve been moving full speed, never stopping for a breath, never taking a moment to really feel the impact of my actions or lack of. My windows into creativity were small and fogged up and my soul felt the same way. Life can be draining and I was pretty much empty. Not only did unveiled happiness seem out of reach, tears were just as hard to come by. So, when I stumbled upon posts about NINE (which I can only describe as fate), something called out to me. I had just a lost a dear friend to cancer that week, a woman who was the epitome of strength and grace, and I knew I could not let the opportunity go by to find my own again. The life we had lost in hers and so many others before her, motivated me beyond words to find my balance, my strength, my own truth. I told myself I would sign up for the retreat because of how much it could benefit my professional life. That was the excuse I gave myself. I realize now that I never needed one. We don’t need an excuse to breathe life back into ourselves.Essentially, If I am treading water, I’m still alive, but I’m not making any headway. I’m exhausted, stuck and barely able to breathe. What I REALLY want to do is swim, with full strokes and I want to feel every bead of water fall off of me as I stand with my face in the sun, looking back in at how far I’ve come. Never in a million years did I see that THAT is what NINE would help me to do. Kym Ventola created a safe place for us for those few days where we were blessed to meet and be together. I arrived for that week with my own fears and trepidations and soon realized I was not alone. I think we were all essentially searching, for whatever reason, and as a group we were able to find something that fed our souls. Each speaker was genuinely amazing and insightful, but so was every other attendee. We shared with each other, we laughed and honestly, I cried so much my eyes were swollen. I began to admire each of these women for all of their different strengths and their self-proclaimed weaknesses. I was there to absorb every inch of their stories and hopefully see the underlying lessons. In the end, my NINE sisters helped me access a part of me I had honestly thought was long gone. They don’t know it yet, but I hope to tell each of them one day how they individually have helped to make me a better woman, a better person. It may sound crazy, but NINE was life changing. Beyond finding ways to access my inspiration and intrinsic motivation, I started to learn how to help refocus my energy so I could be more productive with work and in turn have more time for my family and myself. I was also reminded, multiple times, that life is made up of every tiny little moment and it’s up to us to string them together to create the whole. I've come to appreciate that the ordinary actually IS the extraordinary, and although the search for the life I long for may not be entirely over, it is different now and it's more accepting. Pain, loss and joy are clearly all a part of my world, and yet, I'm working to not let each define me on their own. I'm learning to breathe more through the moments of stress and appreciate each little smidgen of happiness. In that one week I came to terms with the fact that we are all in charge of our own story and whether we choose to honor it or not, is most definitely up to each of us. Basically, I can run it or let it run me. Because of NINE, my new mantra is that I’m going to live like a damn goddess warrior. But if I'm ever in doubt, I'll remind myself of one of my new sisters and I will have chills run through my body and I will swim like a madwoman, with full strokes, and continue to move forward. Because that is the only way to go."
"I headed to NINE with an open, ready, and expectant heart. I was in the middle of a difficult season for my heart and was ready to escape, listen to some awesome speakers, and soak up the "me time" for a few days. What I found instead was something that is hard to describe. Without being cheesy (ok, I'm gonna!), I found a sisterhood. A group of women from all of over the country and world who I now feel like I can call sisters. We connected on so many levels; all of us different, but accepting of one another. I finally felt like I was around women who could SEE me; and not only that, but WANTED to see me. They embraced me….all of me….the moment I got off the plane.
NINE is the only retreat that I've been on that completely focused on all areas of our lives. We ate well, we did yoga on the roof top, we laughed, cried, we listened, talked, we goofed off, we got serious, we bared it all and we were vulnerable together. We slept, we stayed up late, we dressed up, we wore yoga pants. All of this helped me to focus spiritually and to reflect on my life back home. NINE isn't only a place to relax and refresh. I found ways to reconnect with so many areas of my life, all while being supported by all the amazing women who attended.
For as long as I can, I will attend NINE. I hope to be there every year and bring as many women as I can with me. There is nothing like it. Every woman deserves to totally let go, invest in herself, and find the support and refresh that NINE brings. You won't regret going, I can tell you that! Come join us! I personally would love to meet you and hear your story.”
Just MONTHS after NINE 2015, Jess started an online publication focused on supporting, educating and uniting women! It has grown so much in such a small amount of time with an average of over 30 contributors and reaches 1000’s of readers each month! More importantly, she is changing lives everyday. We are super grateful to have this beautiful woman joining us at NINE 2016 again!
"I went into NINE totally skeptical. I figured I'd meet some other women, do some yoga, get some rest and work on my business. What I did not expect was to come out of NINE with an entirely renewed love for myself. I know! It sounds totally wacky, but it's true. I didn't think that was going to happen either. There's something healing enough about just being with other women who have a similar entrepreneurial spirit as you. But then to receive so much opportunity for guided inner-work amongst those women just takes it to another level. Everyone sees a change in me since NINE. I had no idea how much...stuff...I was holding on to. To hear my truths and let go has made me not only a better business owner but a better human."
"I wasn't really sure why I signed up for Nine. I saw the announcement that it was going to be held in Greer and just felt like I was supposed to be there. The retreat was going to be held on the weekend of my 30th birthday and it seemed fitting to try something new to launch me into this decade. I didn't have high expectations, in fact, I didn't have any expectations as I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I feel like going into Nine with this open mind allowed the weekend to transform me in ways that I never could have expected. I learned more about myself through these women than I would have in years of counseling. The bond that developed through 30 strangers in a mere 48 hours was life changing and I left the weekend feeling restored, connected, loved, and encouraged. These new sisters saw things in me that I never knew were there, they asked hard questions, and listened as I tried to find the answers. Nine was a safe space to be vulnerable, heal and grow and I am forever grateful for my experience and the women that Nine brought into my life."