The Engine 2 team just got back from a week long retreat near Sedona, AZ. I never know how to describe these retreats to other people. It seems trite to say it was “life-changing”. Yet, really, that is what it always is. People from all over the country gather at our retreats. People of all backgrounds and personalities. Yet, somehow it all comes together. By the end of the week, many tears are shed, as we part ways.
The Engine 2 team is pretty special to me, if it’s not obvious. I wish that I could give a few brief seconds of what it is like to be on this team. When I give my talk at our events, I always say how our team is filled with compassion, love and no judgement, and I mean every word. I’ve been hurt, and turned away by many people in my life (and jobs) because of my weight, and you’d think that when it comes to a DIET team, I’d be the least likely person to be a part of this team, but instead, I’m not just part of it, I’m a part of the family. I’m accepted and loved and included. That might not seem like much to other people, but as a person who has been obese most of my life, acceptance never comes easily.
Our team is a big family. We work like a family. All of us pitch in, be it cleaning bathrooms, making food, driving down a dirt road in a monsoon. We work as a family and a team. That’s how we see everyone who shows up to our events, they become part of our family as well, once you’ve been to our event, you are part of this really amazing team, that’s all there is to it. I think it takes a lot for someone to make the decision to attend one of our events, and by doing so people show a tremendous amount of courage, it’s something that I (and the team) do not take lightly.
Last week was like weeks in the past. There was a morning workout before breakfast each morning, followed by a delicious breakfast. Then we have talks from some of the most talented and brightest minds in the plant-strong world. That’s followed by an amazing lunch with a soup, salad and main course. Then it’s back to lectures and food demos. We follow that up with a long afternoon break, where we go on really incredible excursions. Back to the resort for what we call “Arts & Crafts” which is lead by Jane Esselstyn showing how to make various dishes, it’s hands on, everyone gets to eat what they make! And then it’s a really tasty dinner with dessert followed by an evening activity.
Each retreat runs the same way. I have to say that this one was really spectacular because of the location. Northern, AZ happens to be one of my most favorite places in the world. I traveled full time for many years, and that is the place I would go back to anytime. There is just something magical about it. The scenery, the air, the monsoons which mean brilliant rainbows once they have passed.
But what really brings it together is this family of ours, our immediate family (our team) and our new extended family (the participants). Each day we grow closer together. Each day we see people turn corners with their health. We see people go off medications in less than a week (with the help of our amazing medical director, Dr. Seale). We see people who come in completely hesitant to changing, and leave knowing that they will try their hardest to make positive healthy decisions for the rest of their life. We see people who decide they want to take this message out into the world, because they truly care about the people that are in their world.
These retreats bring it all to center. If you were in Sedona with us last week, I just want to thank you. Thank you for being brave and bold, you are truly spectacular, always keep Sedona close to your heart, as I know the rest of our little family will do.